I Went to The Roswell Press Room to “See Them Aliens”

Diversity, well-developed characters, milkshakes, aliens whose hands glow- “Roswell, New Mexico” has it all. The CW series takes inspiration from both Melinda Metz’s book series Roswell High and the 1999 series “Roswell.” Season 1 centered on scientist Liz Ortecho (played by Jeanine Mason) returning to her hometown (the show’s namesake) and reconnecting with old friends. Including her high school crush, Max Evans (Nathan Parsons), who is the local sheriff’s deputy as well as an undercover alien. As violent attacks hint at another alien presence in Roswell, Max and Liz uncover more supernatural history. Politics and fear threaten Max’s identity (and those of his fellow aliens Isobel and Michael). I got the chance to chat with the cast and showrunners about the upcoming sophomore season at New York Comic Con (and THAT! CLIFFHANGER!). 

Photo credit: Just Jared 

Warning: spoilers for season 1 of “Roswell, New Mexico” ahead

The only thing on my mind when I stepped into the “Roswell, NM” press room “Max isn’t REALLY dead, right???” Of course, they couldn’t tell me that, but I’d take Nathan Parsons’s presence at the time to be a good sign (though Lily Cowles, AKA Isobel Evans, joked “he’s here as a grip- really to help us move things” while writer Carina Adly MacKenzie quipped “it’s very awkward that he’s here”). Anyone who ships Liz and Max was devastated when he sacrificed himself to save Liz’s sister, Rosa, (who - surprise!- was preserved in an alien pod by evil, murderous alien). Parsons said, “we had such a brief period of time where we were together… and then I died. If I do end up coming back, I’m excited to rediscover that connection.” As for what makes their relationship so special in comparison to the original “Roswell” show (which took place in a high school), Mason commented, “we’re adults- there’s more preciousness. You know what it means to have a relationship in your life that is like a beacon or pillar.” Parsons added, “you have a better understanding of loss and that’s what makes what you can gain so much more valuable.” 

Speaking of loss- there was plenty of it in the season 1 finale, and the premiere will see the characters coping with the traumatic events. Poor Isobel Evans found out that her husband, Noah, was the aforementioned evil alien that was able to take control of her body and use it to commit murders. She feels “horror and betrayal at having been married to someone who was lying to you and using you- this was the person she trusted,” Cowles explained. However, it’s (unfortunately) not over yet- “it gets worse before it gets better.” On top of that, she was to deal with explaining to people that her husband is dead and how to convey that puts the aliens in “a sticky situation.” “Isobel is a person who has always relied on outside forces- particularly men- in her life. She had codependent relationships [with Max and Noah], and I think it prevented her from really knowing how to stand on her own, so now we see [her having to do that]... it’s just one of those things where you’re thrown off the deep end and either you sink or you swim.” Isobel’s storyline this time around is extremely empowering- MacKenzie likened it to Taylor Swift’s feminist anthem “The Man.” 

Isobel isn’t the only one having a rough go at things- Liz has to cope with the loss of Max while celebrating Rosa coming back to life. However, having gone on with life for ten years while your older sister remained in alien stasis complicates things; “she is still dealing with the [same] heavy stuff… and she’s not well. She struggles with bipolar disorder and she has an addiction problem. The juxtaposition of having her back and getting to hold her but the complication of [having] secrets; ‘how do I make sure I’m taking care of you while I’m trying to save [Max] and do something impossible in a timely manner.’” Amber Midthunder- who plays Rosa- obviously looks a lot like Mason, and whilethey filmed together so often this season that “it’s gotten to the point where we’re sharing mannerisms and freaking out the crew.”  

Michael Guerin also faces the death of someone who was like a brother to him. Michael Vlamis, who plays Michael on the show, said, “that’s when [the characters] push everyone away… because you just wanna shut down those feelings sometimes, but in order to get out of that, we need to look within.” Michael’s storyline will be explored further; “they pulled things from my life that I didn’t wanna pull… I feel like I’m very revealed and seen this year.” 

The relationships of “Roswell, New Mexico” are part of the glue that holds it together. Luckily for Malex fans, they still have a chance. Vlamis mentioned, “their relationship continues. It might be in a different context,” as the previous episodes saw Michael seemingly choose Maria (“Maria is like Michael Guerin’s safe place- it’s a new love and sometimes new is easier than trying to repair a broken one”).  This season isn’t all doom and gloom- it does have comedy and light at the end of the tunnel. Fans will see new dynamics as the story progresses, Maria and Isobel to name one. 

Lastly, diversity in the media is extremely important because it brings attention to underrepresented communities and gives them a voice- and this show has plenty of it. Mason was initially drawn to the project by Liz being “such a firecracker and so massively intelligent… and she honors her Latina-ness- it’s at the forefront of everything she does.” “Roswell, New Mexico” will only get more inclusive and diverse in the upcoming episodes. There will be a transgender character, and the showrunners are working on getting characters with different body types. They try to work the debates taking place in the writers’ room onto the screen, which is especially important in today’s political climate. 

Overall, season 2 of “Roswell, New Mexico” will be a good one. The stakes start at what is probably the highest they’ve been, and I can’t wait to see how the characters will react. Keep an eye out for its premiere date- and rewatch season 1 on Netflix now!