In the era of reboots, so many of our favorite classics are being revived— however, instead of creating a derivative, some new series are weaving new and intriguing storylines into the nostalgic tales we know and love.
For Roswell, New Mexico, it was important for show creators to reimagine the beloved series and make it grounded and current for 2018. In a New York Comic-Con exclusive viewing, fans got a first look at the pilot episode of Roswell, New Mexico ahead of its midseason debut on the CW, as well as a discussion with stars Jeanine Mason and Nathan Parsons and creative team Carina Adly MacKenzie, Julie Plec, and Chris Hollier.
Showrunner MacKenzie expressed that she wanted to bring the iconic series into 2018 with diverse casting, and strong, fierce characters that would inspire fans.
“My goal, I really wanted make sure there was a reason to reboot it, so I wanted to make sure it felt very current and in 2018, you know, what we are dealing with presently because the original show’s available on Hulu and it’s really great and there wasn’t a reason to sort of update it unless we made it really current, and I think that one of the important things I wanted to do was to take Liz Parker back to Liz Oretecho and create a show with a Latina lead and a really diverse cast,” MacKenzie said. “I grew up on The WB, loved everything about every single show that was on the air in 1999, but they were really, really white. And I wanted to change that and to cast people of color and then tell stories about their experiences because we’re talking about aliens here, so we’re talking about people who feel other and feel like they don’t have a community, and so I wanted to play up the metaphor with aliens but also talk about what it really feels like for actual human beings to exist in a small town in a border state in 2018.”
The pilot begins with Liz (Jeanine Mason) returning home to Roswell, New Mexico (a town that creators referred to as the “cowboy Stars Hollow” in the panel) where she reunites old flame Max (Nathan Parsons), the town sheriff/wearer of cowboy hats. After a near-death experience in which Max and his “superhuman healing hands” revive her, she begins to question what is going on, with herself, Max, and this town.
In addition to Liz’s (and ours) burgeoning curiosity about aliens in this small town and their history there, there’s plenty of dramatic and romantic moments in the episode, beginning with the first moments Liz and Max locked eyes and their eventual passionate sunset kiss, followed by the steamy private moment between Alex and Michael.
“I love all the gorgeous sexy cowboy brooding in the wide gorgeous stunning sunset vistas, and specifically the Alex and Michael [PLL’s Tyler Blackburn and Michael Vlamis] sexy cowboy and military brooding, I really get into that,” said episode director Plec.
While all of the romances give audience members all the feels, it was the strong chemistry and connection between Liz and Max that eventually sold the romance of the CW drama.
“Well, we had the fortunate situation that we had worked together before on a show called Bunheads, many moons ago,” Parsons said. “When I first saw her standing outside the chemistry read, it was sort of an instant like ‘I know you from somewhere’… and that really helps to have this connection… and it just really clicked right away,” Parsons said.
The original cast have all been “very supportive” of the rebooted series, with news that original star Shiri Appleby will return to Roswell to direct an upcoming episode.
“We’re both family, she did it for a long time,” Chris Hollier said. “It’s an honor for us to have her be a piece of it and we’re very excited as she gets to come into our family and we we get to glom onto hers.”
Speaking of the original show, the reboot will feature hidden Easter eggs based on the original series.
“We shot our prom scene the other night and there may or may not been mentions of Tess, yeah, in that context, just a mention,” MacKenzie said. “Poor Tess.”
While that response, as you can imagine, had some strong reactions from fans, MacKenzie revealed that prom scene is part of a flashback episode of the show, hopefully to bring us even more nostalgia for the iconic original series.
“We’re shooting a flashback episode [episode six] right now that takes us back to high school and basically the entire episode takes place in 2008,” MacKenzie said. “That’s what I’m really excited to show you because I’ve been sitting on set starry-eyed like all my teenage dreams coming true in my face and it’s been really special.”
Liz tells Max, “I need answers, now,” and honestly, SO. DO. WE. Even the stars are curious about some of the show’s key mysteries and secrets.
“I’m excited to see how we got in those pods in that cave, I don’t even know how they got there,” Parsons said. “I’m very curious to find out what happened.”
Aren’t we all?
Roswell, New Mexico debuts midseason on The CW.