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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Roswell, New Mexico is a show about aliens (both political and from outer space) living in the town famous for a reputed 1947 UFO crash. It's a reboot of the show Roswell, which debuted in 1999 and was itself based on the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. Most of the new show's content is appropriate for young teens and tweens: Violence is soft-pedaled, as in a scene in which a young woman who was the victim of a drive-by shooting is instantly healed by otherworldly means; viewers see blood on her clothes, but no gore. A character works in a bar where people drink shots, cocktails, and beer; a character refers to being "tipsy," and another talks about having "weed" in his trailer. Language includes "ass," "bitch," and "hell," and insults can have an racial slant. Expect both same- and opposite-sex kissing, romantic triangles, and the occasional scene like one in which a woman is shown straddling a man, both in their underwear, while he wears a blindfold and she mentions that he promised to "obey" her "all night."
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What's the story?
Jumping off from the aliens-live-among-us! series Roswell of the late '90s, ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO returns to the town made famous by the reputed 1947 alien spaceship crash, and finds Liz (Jeanine Mason) and Max (Nathan Parsons) aged up to 20-somethings. They haven't spoken in a decade, but after Liz loses her job and returns to town, they meet again, and soon she's swept up in drama both political (anti-immigrant racism threatens to tear her small town apart) and personal (where Liz goes, love triangles will follow!). But when Liz discovers that Max, his sister Isobel (Lily Cowles), and their constant companion Michael (Michael Vlamis) are actually aliens who arrived in her town's legendary crash, she has a whole new set of complications on her hands.
Is it any good?
One literal meaning of the word "alien" is other, an idea intriguingly explored in this update of 1999-2002 series Roswell, which sews up heady notions about assimilation in its mythology. On the first Roswell, Liz and Max were high school students, dealing with the alienation of adolescence. In this savvy redo, they're aged up to 20-somethings, and their unease is given a political spin. Liz, named Liz Parker in Roswell, is now Liz Ortecho, a first-generation immigrant in a town beset with racial hatred. The biomedical project that took her out of town for more than a decade has been defunded ("Because someone needs a wall," she snipes in the pilot), and now she's stuck back in her hometown, where people can't decide whether to hate her more for her undocumented dad's status or for the car accident that killed three people and that everyone blames on Liz's party-girl sister.
Liz's status is nicely contrasted with that of Sheriff Valenti (Rosa Arredondo), who hails from a Mexican American family that's been in the U.S. for generations. The Ortecho family, Valenti complains, makes "good immigrants" look bad: Why can't they just assimilate into American culture like her family and keep their heads down? As another form of alien-ness atop Isobel, Michael, and Max's otherworldly status, this conflict is intriguing and fresh, lifting this series above just another average supernatural show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why shows about aliens and space are popular. What about these types of setups are appealing to viewers? Where's the attraction? Do you enjoy shows about otherworldly happenings or people?
Why is it common to reboot TV shows and movies? Does it demonstrate a lack of fresh inspiration, or do some stories deserve to be told again?
Find more TV shows that help kids build character.
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