Roswell - Season 1 
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Opening with a Dido theme tune and featuring character-driven, sweet-natured melodrama, Roswell was a show with a surprisingly dedicated fan base, who twice won it reprieve from cancellation. One of its main strengths was, of course, the extent to which its premise--alien teenagers trying to sort out their identities while involved emotionally with their human contemporaries--was a free-floating metaphor for race and sexuality issues. Another was the strong ensemble that its cast developed; you believed in the strangeness of the alien trio and the well-intentioned normality of their three human friends. Jason Behr gave the alien Max a quiet authority and Majendra Delfino took the sidekick role of Maria and gave it both intensity and fine comic timing. It was also a show in which you were never sure what adults you could trust--William Sadleir trod a fine line of ambiguity as the local sheriff and Julie Benz was silkily sinister as an FBI agent. Anyone who ever loved this show will want these DVDs--and many others may want to find out what the fuss was about.
On the DVD: Roswell is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The special features include commentaries on six episodes by writer Jason Kanims, the directors and various of the cast as well as a featurette on the making of the show and another on its adaptation from the original Roswell High series of young adult novels. The commentaries are unusually insightful on the casting process and the discs also include the auditions for the part of Tess as well as a deleted scene and a music video. --Roz Kaveney
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Okay, the plot. I have to admit that there are ups and downs in the storyline, which lurches somewhat from frenetic conspiracy thriller to teen romance from one episode to another. Those left breathless by the tension of "The Convention" and the high drama of "The White Room" may well cringe their way through the snog-fest of "Sexual Healing", and vice versa. There are some moments of unexpected depth; the exploration of ideas of free will and predestination in the closing episodes are certainly not what you'd expect from a teen show!
The casting is spot-on, with never a bad performance in sight. Shiri Appleby, as the show's narrator Liz Parker, manages to combine Dawson's Creek-style self-awareness with a mixture of steely determination and heart-melting vulnerability and is clearly destined to be a poster girl for a generation of socially self-conscious, intellectual young males. Majandra Delfino, as Maria, provides a combination of comic relief, quirky fashion sense and fierce independence that make her a far more accessible role model than the plastic women of the 90210 and Friends eras. The standout performances though come from Brendan Fehr (Michael) and Katherine Heigl (Isabel), whose respective efforts to deal with their "differentness" bring home the full power of the metaphor of "aliens among us".
In short, this is a piece of "cult" TV which is really far more deserving of mainstream attention. It's certainly up there with "Buffy" as one of the great TV achievements of the late 20th century. Watch it!
The next two series release will be eagerly awaited.
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