Royal Three

Keeping up with the Evanses

Saved, yet again, at the 11th hour, Roswell is about to embark on a third series. Co-creator Jason Katims breathes a sigh of relief...

Feature by Ian Spelling

• From Cult Times #72

Cult Times caught up with Roswell's executive producer Jason Katims, to ask him how he felt about Season Two and where it leaves things for the imminent third season. A season which again follows a period when it looked like the series was close to cancellation.

"Very close," agrees Katims, who sat on pins and needles as The WB officially cancelled the genre series and then UPN swooped in to pick it up. "It was very last-minute in terms of the final decisions being made. UPN finally announced that they'd secured the show at nine in the morning in New York City, at their upfront session. It was extremely nerve-racking."

Fortunately for Katims and the show's avid fans, UPN not only picked up Roswell, they agreed to produce a full 22-episode season. They also slotted the show in after Buffy The Vampire Slayer, an even higher profile acquisition and yet another WB cast-off, thereby providing Roswell with its best lead-in series to date. It's no wonder that many observers consider Roswell the show that won't die.

Michael works his magic"I've been involved with three networks in less than three years," Katims says, referring to the fact that Roswell was originally produced by Fox for Fox, before the network passed, leaving The WB to grab it at the 11th hour. "I've started to think of Roswell, if not as the show no one can kill, at least as the little engine that could. It has squeaked by based on having passionate fans. Not just the ones who watch the show at home, but fans at the studio that have supported it and at the networks... This last situation with UPN was somehow a little less nerve-racking, because it just seems to be the history of the show, that we're always squeaking by. We've been lucky, very lucky."

The perception is that UPN will allow Katims to make Roswell as he sees fit. If that's the case, of course, it implies that The WB interfered in some manner with Katims' vision. As Season One gave way to Season Two, the series seemed to veer from romance to Sci-Fi to action, from stand-alone episodes to multi-episode arcs, all the while dispatching characters and storylines in the blink of an eye. The producer attempts to address the issues as honestly as possible, but without pointing fingers.

"I think that coming to a new network is exciting for me because I get to continue to do things I was really happy about with the show, and it gives me a really good excuse to adjust things that I might not have been that happy about," he explains.

"I would say that the major change that I'm interested in making, which fortunately is what UPN wants as well, is to move towards stand-alone episodes, to do more complete stories within an episode, and to not do such complicated, continuing mythology arcs. They were really fascinating for us, but they start to get sort of unwieldy and it gets hard to come to a satisfying conclusion at the end of the episode. You're always waiting for the next one..."

Ian Spelling

Cult Times #72• More from Jason Katims on Roswell's next season in the issue.
• Meanwhile Roswell Season Two premieres on BBC2 on September 11 at 18.45

• Excerpts from Cult Times #72