The CW’s Roswell reboot has cast Grey’s Anatomy actress Jeanine Mason in the lead role. Originally based on the Roswell High young adult book series, The WB’s run of Roswell drew favorable reviews and spawned a dedicated fan base. But, ultimately, declining ratings forced the show’s cancellation after three seasons. The original Roswell suffered from inconsistent narratives and an unclear direction for the show from producers, but it appears that there’s a more defined plan for the second go-around.
Directed by Julie Plec – the prolific Vampire Diaries producer who has branched out to directing, most recently with an episode of Riverdale – the new Roswell puts an immigration-based twist on the original. The lead character, Liz Ortecho, is the daughter of two undocumented immigrants. She reluctantly returns to her hometown of Roswell only to discover a widespread government conspiracy involving aliens, one of which is her former childhood crush who’s become a police officer.
Deadline reports The CW cast Jeanine Mason as the titular character, Liz Ortecho. Mason began her career as a dancer, getting her big break by winning season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance, which remains perhaps her best-known gig. She has since parlayed that into a busy acting career, most notably in a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Sam Bello. Her credits also include guest roles on procedurals like CSI, Major Crimes, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Criminal Minds, as well as a supporting role as Merav on ABC’s short-lived Of Kings and Prophets. She ventured into feature films with 2017’s The Archer.
The re-imagined Roswell also represents a big opportunity for Plec as a director, after having established herself as a producer. Plec has plenty of experience with shows involving supernatural beings with her work on The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and the American remake of The Tomorrow People. The first episode of the Roswell reboot was written Carina Adly Mackenzie (The Flash), who collaborated with Plec on The Originals.
As for Mason, this won’t be her first role as a character wrapped up in corruption or political intrigue. On The Archer, she played a prisoner trapped in a girls’ “reform camp,” filled with shady and nefarious dealings who help the lead characters escape. As Merav on Of Kings and Prophets, she became entangled in the famous biblical tale of King Saul’s eldest daughter who is reluctantly forced into an arranged marriage. It’s likely that this experience helped her catch the eyes of Roswell’s producers.
However, Of Kings and Prophets only lasted two episodes in the U.S. before being cancelled, and this is Mason’s first lead role, so it remains to be seen how well she can carry a series. But producer Kevin Kelly Brown, who also executive-produced 15 episodes of the original Roswell series, at least appears to realize the mistakes of the original run and have a more clear idea of where he would like the reboot to go. He’s entrusting Mason to be the torch-bearer of the reboot’s more timely and socially conscious themes.
The CW’s Roswell reboot doesn’t have a premiere date yet.
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