With the CW rebooting some classic teen television properties recently, there’s a lot of love going round for the classics. The original Roswell series is very different from the new reimagining.
Originally developed while the book series was still being written, the 1999 Roswell series bears little resemblance to the books. The 2019 reboot plays a little closer to the novels, but aging the characters up about a decade. Just because the original series is vastly different from the source material doesn’t make it bad. In fact, it had some serious gems in its three seasons on television.
Roswell followed Max Evans, his sister Isabel, and their friend Michael as they struggled to keep a very big secret. They were actually alien-human hybrids whose ship crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Max’s decision to save the life of classmate Liz Parker started them on the path of revealing the truth to those around them. These ten episodes of their story stand above the rest.
10 A Tale Of Two Parties S3E10
It paired up some unusual scene partners. Over the course of the series, for example, Maria and Max rarely spent time together without being part of a large group. This episode allowed fans to see them interact and actually be friends without the interference of alien bad guys or romance. They went on the search for the ultimate New Year’s Eve party, and it was such a fun time.
9 Summer Of ‘47 S2E04
The cast did double duty for this episode as they all played their regular characters as well as whole new characters in the 1947 flashbacks. Usual set pieces, like the Crashdown Cafe, were all redressed to look period accurate. It’s the most visually stunning episode of the series.
8 Tess, Lies, And Videotape S1E18
The main group of friends decided to find out just what Tess was up to. They planted a video camera in her home to spy on her. When they caught her using the same abilities that Max, Isabel, and Michael had, the group thought she was an enemy. In actuality, she was a member of the royal four, and the mythology of the series expanded.
7 Four Aliens And A Baby S3E17
Tess returned to Roswell with her baby, hoping to get some help from Max. Their child had been rejected by the leaders on their homeworld because their hybrid status caused him to appear completely human. Though she knew everyone hated her, Tess just wanted the best for her child. She sacrificed herself, going up against the army, so that everyone else could safely escape with her baby.
6 The Pilot
Roswell’s pilot episode is very much a product of its time in terms of clothing choices and vocabulary, but it still holds up as a fantastic hour of television. It gave the audience a taste of each of the character’s personalities, the big conflict, and set all the wheels in motion for the major relationships. The episode is really a near-perfect pilot.
5 Max To The Max S1E20
In the episode, Max, Michael, and Isabel got a crash course in their history from Tess and Nasedo. They learned they were royalty, but also that they were engineered from the alien DNA of their past lives and human DNA to be able to hide on Earth.
On top of their backstory, they also got a crash course in government conspiracies. When Max decided he needed to make sure Liz was safe after being kidnapped by a shapeshifting Nasedo, Max ended up in government clutches. It was a huge episode for the series, and why it’s one of the top five.
4 Destiny S1E22
While the mythology aspect threw a roadblock in the core relationship of the series, this episode also gained the group of teenagers a major ally. Jim Valenti witnessed Michael use his powers in this episode, then begged Max to save his own son’s life. He became a crucial defense for the teenagers when enemies pursued them in season two.
3 Cry Your Name S2E17
The crux of the episode was that while everyone else believes losing Alex was a tragic accident, Liz doesn’t. Some believed her in denial, but she spent the episode manically investigating Alex. Unable to let go of the possibility that an alien came after Alex, Liz found herself on the opposite side of an argument with Max and the rest of her friends.
When the reveal came later in the season that it was Tess behind Alex’s death, the episode became even more heartbreaking.
2 285 South S1E06
Michael attempted to steal Maria’s car to go on a road trip alone. Maria, of course, refused since the car belonged to her mother and housed all of the alien memorabilia her mother sold. What followed was the two of them on a hilarious ride and forced to spend the night in a cheap motel. It’s their interactions in “285 South” that cemented that they were the potential couple to watch.
1 The White Room S1E21
Though the main cast of characters still didn’t completely trust Tess and her guardian Nasedo, they had to in this hour. Everyone - human and alien - in on the secret teamed up to get Max out of government custody. “The White Room” is probably the most adrenaline-fueled hour of the series by far. It’s also Jason Behr’s best work as Max.