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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this teen drama centers on a group of high school students who are hiding a huge secret -- from their families, from teachers, from the world. Certainly the stakes are high; if word gets out that actual aliens are living among the unsuspecting residents of Roswell, there could be all kinds of trouble. Still, the series' entire premise supports the idea of teens hiding important things from their parents. The characters also deal with the usual batch of angsty high school issues related to friendship and dating.
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What's the story?
Navigating the social minefield of high school is hard enough for regular people, so imagine the challenges faced by a quartet of extraterrestrials trying to pass as ordinary students in a small New Mexico town. Of course, these four are anything but average -- not only do they possess superhuman abilities, but they're considered royalty on their home planet and are expected to save their people from a terrible calamity. That's the basic premise of ROSWELL, an intriguing teen sci-fi drama that sometimes feels like a cross between The X-Files and Beverly Hills, 90210.
Is it any good?
Max Evans (Jason Behr), his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl), and their friends Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr) and Tess Harding (Emilie de Ravin) could probably have stayed comfortably under the radar if not for a freak accident that left fellow student Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) mortally wounded, prompting Max to reveal his powers and save her life. The incident proves a powerful bonding experience between Max and Liz, who -- along with a few close friends -- promises to keep the foursome's secret. But as Max and Liz are falling in love, he learns that he's destined to be with Tess, and much of the show centers on the conflict between Max's desire to be with his human girlfriend and his sense of duty, which requires him to give her up.
The four aliens are being hunted by another group of extraterrestrials living incognito on Earth, the Skins, and many of the episodes center on this conflict. With its battling aliens and superpowers, Roswell is clearly sci-fi, but below the surface lies a more fundamental issue -- who will end up together in the end? -- that makes the show similar to any other teen drama.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fate and free will. One of the main characters is an alien prince who has fallen in love with a human, but he's repeatedly told that it's his destiny to marry one of the other extraterrestrials. Should he follow his heart? Should he sacrifice what may be the great love of his life to save his people? And how can he even be certain that the future of his planet will be affected by his choice? How do the issues the alien characters deal with reflect real-life teen concerns? Are the characters' lives at all realistic?