Max, questing alien

Moore for your Money

Back for a third year on a new network, the future for Roswell looks rosy.
Co-executive producer Ronald D Moore explains what’s in store…

by Bryan Cairns

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Excerpts from
Xposé Special #17

After two years, The WB network axed Roswell due to struggling ratings, but the series landed at its new home on UPN. With a renewed strength towards character-propelled stories, 2001’s fall season promises unexpected twists and turns, kicking it all off with the discovery of lovebirds Max (Jason Behr) and Liz (Shiri Appleby).

“The first episode opens up several months later in a fairly dramatic beginning, with Liz and Max engaged in criminal activities,” reveals Ron Moore. “By the end of the teaser, they wind up in the slammer and Episode One is sort of a parallel structure. As they are being incarcerated and going through the legal system, you’re flashing back through the summer to see how they got there.”

Their new-found Bonnie and Clyde attitudes can be attributed to events last season which shattered their lives and tested their love. The group’s shape-shifting mentor, Nasedo, was assassinated by the evil Skins. Max and Liz called it quits after Tess (Emilie de Ravin) fulfilled her obligations to become his wife and queen. Tragically, Alex (Colin Hanks) died in a car accident, but in the pinnacle episode The Departure, it was revealed he was actually murdered by the traitorous Tess. Having planned to sell the pod squad out to their ancient enemy Kivar, she escaped to the stars with Max’s unborn baby.

As a result of her betrayal, Max is desperate to find his son. The driving force of the first six episodes will be trying to reach his baby and discover what has happened with Tess. To do that, he needs to find pieces of their original ship and that ongoing quest lands them in a lot of trouble. Adding to their headache is how the folks react to his and Liz’s jail time.

“Those actions suddenly create a rift between the Evanses and the Parkers,” explains Moore. “Suddenly, the families are involved. It’s ‘Your son got my daughter arrested’ and the parents don’t want her to see him anymore. There’s also this huge conflict between Max and Liz and their families.”

While Max is grappling with fatherhood and felonies, a broody Michael (Brendan Fehr) is coming to grips with his permanent Earthly home. He needs to take on a second job because he’s not making enough cash to survive. Here’s a character who never really invested in his humdrum life because he always figured one day he’d be blasting off. When he professed his feelings for Maria (Majandra Delfino) and made the decision to stay, that all changed.

“Now he has to care about graduating from high school, which he’s on the verge of bombing out of,” says Moore. “He needs more money because they’ve turned off the power in his apartment. In the second episode, Michael, the Guys, and the Great Snapple Caper, he takes on a job as a night watchman at a pharmaceutical plant and starts bonding with a group of guys. He’s never had guy friends to just hang out with. They become new characters on the show which are now like Michael’s posse.”

The Skins may be history but an unforeseen extraterrestrial threat will be causing plenty of future grief. And while the government’s interest in the group was waning , Max’s crusade to locate his missing ship will stir up their attention again.

“So far, its all pro for us because it’s a new network and they are pairing us with Buffy, which is a great lead-in since they are re-launching both shows,” says Moore. “They are already doing promos for us and the opening episode is like a new pilot. It’s a really good way to be getting a lot of press we wouldn’t be getting normally as a third year show. UPN really likes the show and stands behind us.” Judging by the collective sigh felt across the Internet once Roswell received the thumbs up for a third season, this close encounters of the teen Angst kind seems destined to live long and prosper.

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Image © UPN / 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction

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