On the heels of the Charmed reboot, which originally ran around the same time as Roswell, The CW is bringing back yet another classic WB series for devotees of late-'90s teen dramas. Nearly two decades after the original three-season series from Jason Katims, The CW is reviving Roswell for a new generation. How to watch the original Roswell may be on fans' minds, since the show is responsible for introducing audiences to Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl, Majandra Delfino, and Colin Hanks in breakout roles. The good news is, the original series is currently available to stream in its entirety on Hulu!
Roswell, which ran from 1999 to 2002, was based on a young adult book series called Roswell High. Melinda Metz, who wrote the books, and Laura J. Burns, who edited them, both went on to become staff writers on the series. Metz and Burns also contributed a few books to other YA series based on WB shows like Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Everwood. The original Roswell was developed, produced, and co-written by Jason Katims, the showrunner behind Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, and Rise.
After appearing on Roswell, Katherine Heigl went on to play one of TV's most iconic roles, Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy, before launching a film career. Shiri Appleby, meanwhile, played a memorable recurring character on HBO's Girls before landing her Critics Choice Award-nominated leading role on Lifetime's UnREAL. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention another thing that Roswell introduced audiences to: Dido. The show's title sequence was memorably set to "Here With Me."
When the show first premiered with an alien-human love story at its heart, fans latched onto the relationship-driven concept. But as time went on, Katims pivoted to more science fiction narratives, which ultimately led to the show's demise. Fans were in it for the teen relationship angst and universal themes of alienation, not the nitty gritty details of science. It got axed from The WB after two seasons, but the studio that produced the show managed to tack it on to UPN's deal to take over Buffy in 2001. Together, Buffy and Roswell both moved from The WB to UPN, but Roswell couldn't regain its momentum from the first season. It got canceled on UPN, too, after just one season.
The reboot, titled Roswell, New Mexico, takes a lot of liberties with its source material. For one thing, the characters at the center of the story aren't high schoolers anymore; they're now a decade older with decidedly more adult problems. Liz, played by So You Think You Can Dance Season 5 winner Jeanine Mason, is a biomedical researcher with an undocumented immigrant father. Max, meanwhile, serves with the Roswell PD. Behold: dramatic tension. The other characters remain mostly intact in terms of being involved with the show and in their relationships to one another. Isobel and Michael round out the Roswell Three. Liz's bestie Maria DeLuca returns. And her ex-boyfriend Kyle is still in the mix, too. Whether the reboot can learn from the original's mistakes remains to be seen.
Roswell, New Mexico airs Tuesday nights on The CW.