The CW's newest series Roswell, New Mexico is finally underway! For those of you who don't know, the show is a reboot of the 1999-2006 series Roswell and, along with its counterpart, an adaptation of the Roswell High novels by Melinda Metz. Though diehard fans have welcomed the return of their favorite sci-fi, the show's creator Carina Adly Mackenzie has updated the storyline and characters, lending the series a more 'adult' tone and some unpredictability. Whether you're a Roswell fanatic or just curious, we've put together a summary of which elements The CW reboot is keeping and what major changes they're making.
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10 SAME: CHARACTERS
Roswell fans will be glad to learn that their favorite characters - though updated to both represent the novel more closely and reflect present-day reality - have been salvaged from the original series. The female protagonist of Roswell, New Mexico Liz Ortecho - played by Jeanine Mason (Dr. Sam Bello in Grey's Anatomy) and formerly whitewashed as Liz Parker in the 1999 season - has reverted back to her original surname and Mexican-American ethnicity, an important change that, as Mackenzie explains, supports the show's efforts in "telling stories about people from different communities, different ethnicities, and experiences with authenticity". The aliens have also returned - Max and his sister Isobel (formerly Isabel) and their friend Michael - as well as Liz's ex-boyfriend Kyle, and best friends Maria and Alex.
9 SAME: LIZ IN UNIFORM
Roswell, New Mexico begins when Liz Ortecho - a biomedical researcher in her late twenties and former Roswell resident - returns to her hometown after losing government funding for her latest project. Now, Liz is back living with her parents and working for the family business as a waitress in the town's alien-themed restaurant, The Crashdown Café.
Within the first ten minutes of the pilot, Roswell fans once again get to see Liz in her waitressing uniform and relive the new interpretation of the original show's most iconic scene. Here, Max exposes himself as otherworldly with his healing abilities and prompts Liz to investigate.
8 SAME: MAX SAVES LIZ
Original Roswell fans won't be surprised when Max Evans, now a Deputy Sheriff - who'd been crushing on Liz for a decade - once again saves her life in a diner. After a brief catch-up on the night of her return to Roswell and first shift at the Crashdown Café, shots are fired at the restaurant and Liz is fatally hit in the chest. Here, Max uses his superhuman healing abilities to resurrect Liz, disoriented but bullet-free.
7 SAME: THE PSYCHIC BOND
After saving Liz's life, Max leaves a glowing reminder on Liz's chest where she had been shot, akin to the handprint that is left on Liz Parker (played by UnReal's Shiri Appleby) in the original Roswell, prompting Liz to question Max. When Liz has trouble making sense of everything, Max says, "I can show you but I need to touch you". Here, we see for the first time in the reboot the telepathic connection between Max and Liz. "The handprint is a psychic bond between us," Max explains. After seeing herself through his memories, Liz finally understands the way she feels as an "echo" of how Max feels for her.
6 SAME: ALIEN SUPERPOWERS
Though they may look like regular people despite their otherworldly attractiveness, fans of the original series will know the aliens of Roswell, New Mexico - Max, Isobel, and Michael - are actually aliens with superpowers!
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Shortly into the pilot, we discover the besotted Max still has his "superhuman healing hands" and psychic connection after he resurrects Liz; Michael exploits his telekinetic abilities in an attempt to break free from a holding cell, push Max to the ground with extreme force, and shatter a woman's car windows; Isobel uses telepathy to connect with her fellow aliens and, as we find out in Episode 3, manipulate Liz into leaving her hometown once again. As the show progresses, it seems the aliens might be capable of more.
5 CHANGE: ADULTHOOD
One of the biggest changes to the Roswell adaptation is the shift from adolescence to adulthood. From the pilot, we understand that the main characters who attended high school with Liz are all in their late twenties now and have careers - Liz is a scientist, Max a Deputy Sheriff, Isobel an event-planner (and married to non-alien lawyer, Noah Bracken), Michael a "foster kid turned cowboy with a lair full of secrets", Kyle a doctor, Maria a bartender and psychic, and Alex a military veteran like his father.
4 CHANGE: GRITTIER TOPICS
The 2019 reboot has a timelier, 21st century feel in the way the sci-fi elements of the story mix with present-day topics and scenarios, such as racism, immigration, and sexual orientation. Early on, we discover Liz is the daughter of undocumented immigrants while her ex-boyfriend Kyle Valenti (played by Michael Trevino) provides another perspective of a family who immigrated legally. Liz experiences racism daily - "Is that the Ortecho girl? I thought she went back to her own country" - and constantly worries for the safety of her family. What's also new is Michael's bisexuality and relationship with Alex, who is gay - in the original series, Michael had an on-off relationship with Liz's best friend Maria.
3 CHANGE: LIZ'S LATE SISTER
Another major change to the original series is the inclusion of Liz's late sister Rosa who, as we discover early on in the pilot, allegedly drove under the influence of drugs and crashed her car, taking the lives of two other girls. Although the tragedy occurred a decade before Liz's return to Roswell, the town locals are still hostile towards Liz and her family to the point where gunshots are fired at the family's diner.
Liz tells Max that she believes her sister's mental illness might have been the reason for her drug addiction, though it appears Max and Isobel know more about Rosa's death than they're letting on - "Liz can never know about what happened to Rosa".
2 CHANGE: NO HOT SAUCE
While fans of the original series will remember the aliens chugging down Tabasco, this year's reboot has got a new and slightly more bizarre revitalizing drink for the extra-terrestrials - nail polish remover! In the pilot, Isobel brings Max a bottle of the stuff to replenish his strength after saving Liz in the diner. "We weren't allowed to use hot sauce", Carina Adly Mackenzie tells Entertainment Weekly ahead of the Roswell, New Mexico debut. "We have the rights to the [Roswell High] books, but we don't have the rights to the original TV show". So how did Mackenzie come up with such a tonic replacement? "I literally looked around my room and saw nail polish remover... don't drink it, kids!".
1 CHANGE: MURDER MYSTERY
The Liz-Max interstellar romance was expected, but that's not the spine of this year's Roswell reboot - show creator Carine Adly Mackenzie has included a murder mystery to drive the 2019 series that rapidly unravels as the show progresses. The inclusion of a murder mystery lends the series a refreshing storyline—along with undertones of politics, identity, and authenticity.
Whether you're a diehard fan or just looking for something new to tune in to, Roswell New Mexico is a blend of sci-fi, romance, drama and thriller that is sure to have you swooning over a mortal-alien romance, and hooked as the mystery unfolds.