Parents' Guide to

Roswell, New Mexico

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Aliens of all kinds in worthy update of '90s cult fave.

TV Syfy Drama 2019
Roswell, New Mexico Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 16+

Roswell 3 season review

Pushing political nonsense. Characters slightly slow and kind of stupid. Seriously would be much better if character responded quicker on their feet and if you know the bs political views and agendas out of it
age 14+

Good but for older audience than original series

I watched the entire season 1 of Roswell, NM and enjoyed it, but audiences should know there are some significant sexual and political themes that were absent in the original series. The characters are all now adults, but the deep romance between Liz and Max is still a huge part of the series, as is loyalty to family and the strong friendship between Liz and Maria. These human emotions are a pleasure to see played out. However, while Max and Liz are a smoldering non-consummated romance for most of the first season, they do each have sex with other characters. This sexual theme is summarized in one scene where a character says "Being an adult does have perks... recreational sex, for one." In fact, ALL of the characters have sex with one or more people in season 1, with some scenes being kissing and cut away and some scenes being longer, shirtless and more passion-filled. Michael is gay... or bi.... honestly, the show would have been better off NOT reducing this unusual alien to a familiar sexual label ... and his gay sex scenes feel passionate and hot, even though nothing is shown except shirtless men. The sexual scenes and themes in the show may be surprising, graphic or uncomfortable for some viewers. My 11 year old was in the room while I was watching many episodes, and I felt a little awkward. As for political themes, one great reason for this remake is to explore what being alien - extra terrestrial or not - means in a New Mexico town with the real political backdrop of 2019. This political allegory is interesting, but sometimes heavy handed. For instance, the racist characters are so over-the-top as to be ridiculous, and it's not a coincidence that the main racist wears an American flag shirt in most of his scenes. There is a funny but implausible gun purchase scene at the end - the son of two sheriffs is shy about touching a gun? Get real. - and this scene seems to be there obviously to make a political point even though show plays both sides of the fence by showing even its protaganists as enjoying guns and skilled with them. A few more things merit mention for parents - first, this show likes graphic blood, vomit and lots of alcohol. The blood use is cartoon-ish and does not feel real, but does feel excessive. No one gets punched without a fake blood pack spurting from their mouth or streaming down their face, and there is a fist fight in almost every episode. Almost every time the aliens use their powers, they get weakened and throw up, which again, is shown multiple times in all its trickly white glory. (Apparently, alien vomit is white instead of putrid). As the season progresses, there is a lot of casual drinking and drunknenness, usually played as light and comedic. Finally, this show mentions the word trauma often in the second half of the season, especially memory loss, confusion, and being triggered. There are plot reasons for this, but I think it's also designed to relate to the real life experiences of sexual assault survivors. The character talking about it the most is Max, the ultimate non-pushy romantic hero who literally does not even put his jacket on Liz's shoulders on a cold night without asking her permission. Again, I think that is designed deliberately to show a man respecting boundaries and the consequences of when other men do not. I like Roswell, New Mexico, but both the characters and themes are more adult than the original series. Best for ages 13 or 14 and up.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (5 ):

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.

TV Details

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