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ROSWELL: Season Two Begins

Once on the brink of cancellation, now back for a second season.

By Edward Gross     October 02, 2000

Last season, Roswell was a show virtually on the brink. Its aliens-and-teens mix had not quite connected with viewers beyond a strong Internet cult following, and cancellation seemed likely. Then, the WB and the show's creative staff, in a last ditch effort, moved Roswell to Monday nights and shifted the focus away from teen angst and more toward science fiction. The gamble paid off; the show's ratings started going up, and it was given a 13-episode renewal.

The second season premiere picks up where year one's finale left off, moving the characters to the next level. At the same time, it is continuing to walk the fine line between relationships and sci-fia direction that the WB, Paramount and executive producer Jason Katims thinks is the right one. Helping them to achieve this goal is the addition of producer Ron Moore, who has just a bit of genre experience thanks to his decade with the Star Trek franchise.

The writers have pointed out that if you were to follow the course of the first season, Roswell was in the position of having to 'find' itself, and one of the discoveries was that if the drama were to continue being played out purely in a high school setting, it would quickly burn out creatively. Exploration of the alien mythology and upping the sci-fi quotient was the direction to go. 'At the same time,' offers one member of the staff, 'it's not like the writers are going hard-core sci-fi, because they don't feel that would work either. Roswell has a unique premise, and one of the things that keeps it special is that the characters and their relationships are so well established and the little triangles within the cast work so well.

'The heart and soul of the series remains the relationship between Max (Jason Behr) and Liz (Shiri Appleby), which is where everything more or less began. In many ways, everything that happens on the showeven if Max and Liz are not front and centerpivots around that relationship.'

Fans will find a good mix in the first five episodes of the season, all of which have science fiction elements to them that tend to drive the plots a little more; nonetheless, it has been emphasized, the stories will be about the kids, their relationships to each other and the complications and heartbreaks they experience.

'One of the things that has happened,' says the staffer, 'is that the characters realize there are consequences for their actions. Like killing Pierce at the end of last seasonin the first episode there are consequences of killing that man that come back to haunt you. Usually in TV, you kill a guy and you never hear about him again or what happened to his body. What's great is we pick up on that three months later and explore what happens. There remains a strong, continuing storyline so the things that happen in one episode spill over to two or three others.'

Roswell can only hope that it will spill over to the ratings as well.

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