Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Biggest Differences Between Roswell, New Mexico And The Original Show

In 1999, The WB network, the original home of teen TV hits "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek," added to its schedule another young adult series, "Roswell." The science fiction show, based on author Melinda Metz's YA saga "Roswell High," followed the story of Max Evans (Jason Behr), an extraterrestrial posing as a human teen, and Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), an actual human teen who falls in love with Max. The series struggled to find an audience, which resulted in The WB canceling the show after its second season. "Roswell" then aired a third season on UPN, before again getting canceled for good.

In the years since "Roswell," The WB and UPN combined to form The CW network, which continued its predecessors' focus on young adult programming. In 2019, 20 years after the "Roswell" premiere, The CW debuted the reboot, "Roswell, New Mexico." Fans of the books and original series likely noticed one change immediately. Unlike "Roswell," the new series gives Liz, now played by Jeanine Mason, her original last name, Ortecho, and reestablishes her Latinx heritage found in the books. 

The biggest change, however, is the age of the series' main characters.

Roswell, New Mexico brings an older, wider world view

In both the book series and original show, Liz, Max, and their friends are high school students. For the reboot, creator and executive producer Carina Adly Mackenzie opted to age the characters significantly. In the pilot episode, Liz Ortecho has returned to Roswell 10 years after graduating high school. By bringing the protagonists closer to their 30s, the characters have a much wider worldview than their previous versions. Likewise, the storylines have a more adult feel, with Liz, the daughter of undocumented immigrants, contending with the ever-present threat of discovery and deportation.

Aging the characters may have seemed like a risky choice for a show targeting a teen audience. However, fans of the series have already had two versions of high school Liz and Max, which largely confined the storylines within the context of teens in high school. Changing character ages allows "Roswell, New Mexico" to explore a variety of new themes and plot points. 

The choice seems to be working. Unlike the original series, "Roswell, New Mexico" was recently renewed for a fourth season.