The CW’s ‘Roswell, New Mex­ico’ joins the list of se­ries re­vivals

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Ontv - BY JAY BOB­BIN

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.”

Jea­nine Ma­son and Nathan Par­sons

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