Review: 'Roswell, New Mexico' Turns Genre Reboot Into Sexy Story With Something to Say

There's more than high school drama and aliens to The CW's Roswell, New Mexico reboot.

Bringing back characters from the original Roswell (based on Melinda Metz's Roswell High novels), which aired on The WB and later UPN from 1999 to 2002, showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie has successfully turned the somewhat campy cult favorite into a sexy adult drama that packs a punch with its sociopolitical commentary.

The new show tells the story of Liz Ortecho (Jeanine Mason), the daughter of undocumented immigrants, who returns to her tiny hometown more than 10 years after the death of her sister only to reconnect with her teenage crush Max Evans (Nathan Parsons), now a police officer. After discovering the truth that Max, his sister Isobel (Lily Cowles), and Michael (Michael Vlamis) are aliens who have spent their entire lives hiding their identity, Liz is faced with a complicated web of love, loss, and mystery to untangle.

In a pop culture climate saturated by reboots, the show manages to pay tribute to the original source material without getting bogged down by nostalgia, reimagining the characters originally played by the likes of Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl, and Colin Hanks as adults living in today's turbulent political climate.

It's a pretty significant departure from the original TV show, as the reboot focuses a Latina woman living in a border town filled with xenophobia, connecting the themes with those of the aliens desperate to conceal their "otherness" to a world they fear won't accept them. It's an imperfect dialogue, which can come off as a little monologue-y at times, but it's an attempt to be appreciated and encouraged as the show continues.

Aging the characters up from their high school days on Roswell was also a smart move for MacKenzie, who has injected the classic genre storyline with higher stakes and self-assured characters willing to make big moves to further their agenda. But if a badass female protagonist of color and a pilot directed by Julie Plec aren't enough for you, Mason and Parsons have clear chemistry with one another that will get fans of The CW's classic tension-filled love stories breaking out a "ship" name right away.

Overall, Roswell, New Mexico brings delightfully electric pairings and soap opera-level drama to a story with something to say. Give it a shot, and it's likely you'll be back the following week for more.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Roswell, New Mexico premieres Tuesday, January 15th at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.