I generally don’t care for those hour long Teen Sci-Fi Romantic Dramas that are so prevalent on the WB. They all just seem a little too “I’m 18, and I’m mad at my parents” for my tastes. While there’s no doubt that Roswell certainly has a measure of that teen angst, there is just enough X Files included, too. Most of the melodrama in this show is tied in with the sci-fi aspects of the story, which makes the show not only watchable, but a bit of a guilty pleasure.
The basic premise of this show…(namely, that three aliens from the urban legend spacecraft landing in Roswell, New Mexico are now teenagers, and going to High School there) it pretty hard to swallow. Granted, I have seen my share of far-fetched plots in my day, but for some reason, this one is particularly unbelievable. Once viewers get past a few episodes, however, and the premise is accepted for what it is, the characters are afforded more room to grow into interesting directions.
The good thing about a premise such as this is that there are so many questions inherent within the narrative, it would take years to answer them all. Apparently, the exact number of years that it would take is three, since this show only ran for three seasons. As with all things, the best place to start is usually at the beginning, so Season One just may be the thing for you.
I was often frustrated when report card time came around in my youth. It said right on the report that a rating of “C” in a class was average, yet my parents considered such a rating “below average”. What was wrong with meeting the requirements, and doing everything that was assigned in a satisfactory manner? Isn’t that what I am supposed to do?
Now I find myself on the other side of the equation, and I am required to give ratings for DVDs. Only recently have I come to understand that average is nothing spectacular, nothing particularly noteworthy. This soundtrack is average. It meets all of my expectations, but exceeds none of them. All dialog is clear and easy to discern, sound effects and music have nice range, and there are some occasional surround effects. This soundtrack is certainly nothing special, but it does all that it has to do in a satisfactory manner. This is the “C” student of the DVD audio world. It is, in a word, average.
The video quality, however, is much better than the audio. I was quite surprised to find a widescreen presentation of this release, given it’s limited commercial appeal. Blemishes are few and very far between, and colors are bold. Dark scenes are handled well, with just enough lighting to allow the viewer to see what is occurring on screen, but not so much as to prevent the overlying sense of eeriness that is so often necessary with this program.
There are a few problems with this transfer, though they are minor. Most notably, the flesh tones are often a bit too red, making the actors appear as if they are either sunburned from the hot New Mexico sun, or lit by candlelight throughout many of the scenes shot on an indoor set. Further problems with the color show up in the form of overblown tones. There is some occasional bleed over in the Crash Down Café locations, as well as in some nighttime scenes. As a whole, though, these are minor problems, and the picture is of a much higher quality than I had expected for this DVD set.
For a six disc set, this collection is pretty light on the extras. The most substantial bits here are the six commentaries. These gab tracks are conducted by various writers, directors, producers and cast members from the show, which is a nice touch. This way, viewers get to hear different stories, and different aspects of the creative process. A nice approach, if you ask me.
Also included is an entertaining music video for the song “Save Yourself”, from the band Sense Field. Two short audition tapes are included as well, both revolving around the character of “Tess”, who enters the cast a few episodes into the series. Furthermore, there is a single deleted scene from the Pilot, with optional commentary.
The extras are finished off by two featurettes. The first one, “Area 51”, is a behind-the-scenes segment that discusses the cast and crew, as well as the origins of the series. The second one, “Roswell High”, is a conversation with the book writer and editor from which the show was derived. Both pieces are marginally interesting, but mostly serve as filler.
This is not a DVD collection that is going to sell due to its excellent quality and wonderful extras. However, for fans of the show, the quality is above average, even if the extras are on the Spartan side. If you are a teen primetime drama fan, a sci-fi buff, or a fan of the WB, Roswell is certainly above average.
Special Features List
- Commentary on Six Episodes
- Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary
- Two Featurettes (“Area 51” and “Roswell High”)
- Actor Audition “Tess”
- Sense Field’s “Save Yourself” Music Video