New version’s cast includes a ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ winner
As television’s revivals and reboots reach into the new year, the complicated love story of a human and an alien is among the latest.
“Roswell” launched a number of careers during its 1999-2002 run on the now-defunct WB Network, including those of Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”) and Katherine Heigl (“Grey’s Anatomy”). The saga is reborn as The CW – The WB’s successor – debuts “Roswell, New Mexico” Tuesday, Jan. 15. The cast is led by “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 5 winner Jeanine Mason as Roswell returnee Liz, and Nathan Parsons (who also worked for executive producer Julie Plec in “The Originals”) as old friend, policeman and secret extraterrestrial Max.
With other characters also present again, such as Heigl’s Isobel (now played by Lily Cowles), the lively Mason stresses the revisited “Roswell” is a show for and about today. “We’re honoring Liz as she was in the original book series (by Melinda Metz),” she notes, “and acknowledging that this is a border town. The political climate is a part of our show.”
Steven Spielberg’s supernatural-familiar Amblin firm is among the production entities involved, and delving into Roswell mythology held great appeal for Mason. She adds that the show also is “about otherness. Obviously, there are aliens, but it’s also about how we can all feel like an ‘other,’ and what it means to belong. Who are you, and how does that differ from the narrative that your family or your community or your government might be telling you? It’s really up to us to decide who we are, and that is at the center of the series.”
Mason has compared notes with the original Liz, since Appleby is the director of one of the “Roswell, New Mexico” stories. They’d crossed paths earlier at a farmers’ market, and Mason says, “When this came about, she was nothing but enthusiastic and supportive from the start. She reached out by e-mail, which was very kind, and wished me all the best. And then, it worked out that she directed our ninth episode! If we came back for Season 2 and she directed all 13, I would be happy.”
Miami native Mason knew co-star Parsons from working on “Bunheads,” and she had a recurring role on “Grey’s Anatomy” last season. Given her background overall, it may not come as a surprise that “Roswell’s” new Liz gets chances to dance in the show.
“We’ve been able to sneak it in a bit, which has been so fun,” Mason confirms with a laugh. “There’s a moment early on where Counting Crows music plays, and who doesn’t want to jam to that? And we found another moment later in the season, so it’s in there.”