“Every small town has a story, but my hometown has a legend.” These are the opening words of Roswell, New Mexico, the 2019 reboot of the 1999 TV series Roswell. Just like the original, it begins with narration from the female lead. But unlike her predecessor Liz Parker, Liz Ortecho doesn’t journal. The two shows will have similarities but Roswell, New Mexico will be more closely linked to the book series Roswell High. As a big fan of both the book series and the original TV series, here are my thoughts on the reboot.
For more on the history of the cast and creators plus photos of the pilot being filmed, check out my post from last year, Here’s Everything We Know About the Roswell Reboot.
Warning: Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen the first two episodes, read at your own risk.
The Roswell, New Mexico Characters
Jeanine Mason as Liz Ortecho
We first meet Liz at an ICE checkpoint (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on Highway 285 as she’s pulled over by her high school lab partner Deputy Sheriff Max Evans. I love her line: “So you let the Joneses and the Jenners through, but you’re gonna stop the Latina and tell me this is just a DWI checkpoint?” She’s ballsy! A lot more so than the original Liz was in the pilot but then again, Liz Parker was sixteen and Liz Ortecho is twenty-eight. Although Liz isn’t happy to be home, she can still dance to her favourite song and I love that about her. I also like that she’s a bit of a puzzle. She’s got emotional scars, a mysterious ex-fiance back in Denver and a need to find out who killed her sister Rosa.
Nathan Parsons as Max Evans
The character of Max is fairly similar in all versions of Roswell – he’s the ultimate good guy who wants to protect people. But this time, he’s a cop so he does it in uniform. I’ll be honest, it was tough to watch the pilot through heart eyes! I wasn’t the only one with heart eyes. It’s clear in the first five minutes that Max is in love with Liz – or still in love with her – when he says, “You’re finally back.” Max is facing the ultimate struggle of trying to protect Liz while also hiding a big secret about Rosa’s death. Will they be able to get past this? …Well of course they will but how?
Lily Cowles as Isobel Evans-Bracken
Isobel being married wasn’t a surprise. Those of you who watched past season one of Roswell will know that Isabel did actually get married in season three. What is a surprise, however, is that she’s somehow connected to Rosa’s death. The character of Isobel/Isabel has always been vulnerable and mostly careful with her powers. It’s not totally clear what she did ten years ago but it involves mind warping, her special alien power. Mind warping was actually Tess’ special power in Roswell and she used that in the most evil way imaginable! Isabel’s power in both the books and TV series was actually dream walking – the ability to enter and manipulate people’s dreams.
Michael Vlamis as Michael Guerin
In my opinion, Michael has always been the most complex and interesting character of the story and this version is no different. Despite his rough and lonely childhood, he’s really smart and driven to discover more about his origins. He’s still unpredictable, sometimes explosive and always sarcastic. The only thing that’s changed in Roswell, New Mexico is his sexual preference – now he’s bisexual. Although I’m a devoted Candygirl (an original Michael/Maria shipper), I’ll admit that his relationship with Alex is a good addition. I’m looking forward to seeing how the dynamics of his relationships with Max (strained) and Isobel (protective) play out throughout the season.
Heather Hemmens as Maria DeLuca
Maria DeLuca was always my favourite character – both in Roswell and Roswell High. In the books, Maria is a bubbly beacon of positivity who loves aromatherapy. In Roswell, New Mexico she’s a bartender at the Wild Pony who reads palms on the side and protects her high school bestie Liz from racists and jerks. We don’t know much about Maria yet but I’m eager to see how she fits into the bigger storyline. As mentioned above, I was heavily invested in Maria and Michael’s relationship so you can imagine my initial disappointment at #Malex. That being said, I’m interested to see if this ends up being a love triangle or something else entirely. So much potential!
Tyler Blackburn as Alex Manes
Alex has probably had the biggest personality ‘makeover’. He’s no longer goofy and awkward like the character has been previously and an even bigger shock is that he’s not in love with Isobel. Instead, he has a romantic past with Michael which ended because he left Roswell to join the army. He’s now a veteran who has come back from Iraq both mentally and physically damaged. We don’t know the full backstory yet but it seems like his dad Master Sergeant Manes influenced his past decisions and maybe now he’s ready to follow his heart? #Malex definitely have heaps of chemistry!
Michael Trevino as Kyle Valenti
I’m not really sure where they’re going to take the character of Kyle. In Roswell, he’s a sweet and funny guy who eventually joins the alien squad. In Roswell High, he’s the complete opposite – insecure, paranoid and dangerous. The one common thread is that he used to date Liz. Now he’s a surgeon with a sense of humour and a (seemingly) good relationship with his mother Sheriff Valenti. I’m hopeful that he’ll do right by the aliens despite Master Sergeant Manes’ desire to pull him into ‘Project Shepherd’ (aka the ‘I Hate Aliens Club’).
Trevor St John as major SARGEaNT Jesse Manes
Master Sergeant Manes is shaping up to be a combination of the two dads from Roswell High – Sheriff Valenti and Major Manes. They were both authoritative and intimidating. It’s likely that he’s the ‘Big Bad’ based on the fact that he thinks aliens are heartless killers and he leads the secret ‘I Hate Aliens Club’ from a creepy underground bunker. Also, he doesn’t like phones – what’s that about?
Karan Oberoi as Noah Bracken
Noah is similar to Isabel’s attorney husband Jesse Ramirez in Roswell. Although we haven’t seen much of him, he also seems to be a loving and devoted spouse and a good brother-in-law. I wonder whether he’ll bring anything new to the table.
Why It’s Worth Watching
roswell easter eggs
There are some Easter eggs thrown in which pay homage to Roswell. Fans of the original will remember how the aliens would add Tabasco sauce to everything. In the reboot, when the aliens need an energy boost or painkiller, they drink nail polish remover. I’m still on the fence about this one – not sure how long the aliens can keep it hidden, especially when Michael’s pouring it into his drink at the bar! Some happy news – the Crashdown Cafe still has a big neon sign outside, the waitress uniform is still retro and powder blue and the menu items are still extra-ordinary (e.g. Men in Blackened salmon). Max also poured ketchup all over Liz’s healed wound and it took me right back. Can’t wait for more!
the rosa mystery
Liz did have a sister called Rosa in Roswell High and she did pass away but there was no big mystery around her death. This is such a clever development and I’m really excited to see Liz investigate it and “fight like hell” to discover the truth. Why did Rosa have an alien handprint on her face? Did one of the aliens kill Rosa? Did Isobel mind warp Rosa and/or Liz?
The alien secrets
There’s a sneak peak at the 1947 crash on Foster Ranch which is great. The glowing rainbow spaceship fragments (covered in alien language! YES.) look like something straight out of Disney World’s Pandora. As much as I love the original, I’m glad CGI’s come a long way in twenty years! We’ve been introduced to a couple of new alien powers – an emotional connection between the aliens (also in Roswell High) and telekinesis (totally new). I wonder what else they can do and who else we’ll meet! If they follow the books, we might get to see aliens Ray, DuPris, Nikolas or Adam.
I fell for Max and Liz (#Echo) right from the start – which is funny because I didn’t really care about them in the original. But Jeanine and Nathan have so much chemistry! As do Michael and Tyler, but you know, I’m still ultimately hoping for Michael and Maria to be born again. Are Liz and Kyle going to get back together? Will Max and Cameron ever become more? Is Noah ever going to discover Isobel’s secret? It’s still early days and there are so many more couples to be formed and so many ship names to be created!
What do you think of Roswell, New Mexico? Let me know below!
Roswell, New Mexico airs on FOX8 on Wednesdays (Australia) and Tuesdays on The CW at 9/8c (US).
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