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Farewell
Roswell

(1999–2002)


By Karen Linsley

"I'm Liz Parker, and five days ago I died." This journal entry was the beginning of a frightening yet wondrous adventure in life, love and self-discovery for a young woman, her friends Maria, Alex and Kyle, and the three alien teenagers who changed their lives forever.

Roswell's first episode introduced us to Max Evans, a young alien passing as human. Max used his otherworldly healing powers to save the life of Liz as she lay dying from a gunshot wound. His affection for Liz caused him to risk the anonymity and safety of himself, his sister Isabel, and friend Michael Guerin, both fellow aliens. This incident sparked interest from law enforcement and government authorities, setting the scene for Roswell. It was a wonderful blend of romance, mystery, adventure, humour and science fiction.

But for all this, Roswell did not do well in the ratings. Public tastes had become too base for this quirky and sensitive series. People found it more exciting to watch contestants eat rats on Survivor.

So Roswell changed its tone. The second season found a stronger focus on the science fiction elements and the destruction of the central relationship between Max and Liz. Alex was murdered. Max impregnated a new alien, Tess. The plots became darker and more intense. While many of these events were interesting and exciting, Roswell began to lose some of its heart, some of its soul.

But despite this attempt to attract a wider audience, the public still found the sight of a Survivor contestant burning his hands in a bonfire more appealing. The WB cancelled the series. Unexpectedly, UPN picked it up and gave it a second chance.

So Roswell returned to its roots, and focused again on the relationships and personal stories that had been the driving force of the first season, while retaining much of the excitement that had built up in the second. Max and Liz rekindled their romance. Liz began to experience alien abilities from contact with Max. Maria and Michael had their usual rocky times, but their attraction was inescapable. Kyle's father, Jim Valenti, had an "entertaining" mid-life crisis. Isabel finally found love. And still they lived under the threat of exposure. It should have been the perfect combination.

But the viewing public was more interested in the Osbournes' weekly demonstrations of their repertoire of four-letter words than in embracing the beauty and mystery of these subtler stories. It became obvious that Roswell would be cancelled.

So Roswell took the high road out. The tension accumulated during the last three years came to a head in the final episode as an attempt was made on the lives of Max, Liz and Isabel during high-school graduation. In an exciting rescue scene they all escaped. Nobody died. Nobody broke up. After some heartbreaking goodbyes, Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, Isabel and Kyle left town together in an old VW van, their lives in the city of Roswell gone forever. As the series came full circle, Liz sent the diary she had so carefully kept to her father, allowing him to finally understand what she had been through. She told him of her new life, running yet helping people along the way. She told him of her marriage to Max. And the final entry of the journal that began this wonderful story was—"I'm Liz Parker, and I'm happy."



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