Star-Crossed Review (with Spoilers):
When I heard the CW was making a star-crossed love story between an alien and a human girl, I couldn’t help but catapult back into to my teenage years when I faithfully watched the alien/human love story between Max and Liz on Roswell. It was my favorite series for the few short years it was on, so I was interested in how this new series Star-Crossed would fare. I’m not someone who believes that another show like Roswell can’t be out there; everything is influenced from something after all. However, what is important is finding a unique voice, being well written with memorable characters and all around just being a good show. So how did the love story between human girl Emery and alien Roman hold up in the pilot presentation?
For a pilot, I’d say the series is decent overall. Not amazing, but definitely filled with potential. Some of the best series ever don’t have amazing pilots, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Without going into a summary, I was pleasantly surprised by the futuristic, dystopian like setting of the series. When it comes to an interesting mythology, Star-Crossed is not lacking. There’s enough characters, both human and Atrian (the name of the alien race) to further explore to make for compelling TV.
With the purposeful symbolic representation of the civil rights movement (specifically the Little Rock Nine), there is the chance the show could go beyond the romantic premise and really have something to say.
With the purposeful symbolic representation of the civil rights movement (specifically the Little Rock Nine), there is the chance the show could go beyond the romantic premise and really have something to say. With the tension between the two races and a war brewing from aliens who feel oppressed from humans, there are so many great stories here that could be told. So, I’m really rooting for this show to actually tell them.
My favorite parts of the episode were the beginning and the end, which is always a good sign that a series will find its voice as the season progresses (the show is already halfway there). I loved the first few minutes as young Emery (the young actress more interesting than Aimee Teegarden) rescued the young Atrian boy Roman and gave him cold spaghetti in the shed. Unfortunately, the sweet tender moments between these two kids is cut short as the U.S. soldiers find them and shoot him. For ten years, Emery believes the young boy was killed. But it turns out he survived and is now attending her high school as one of the Atrian Seven (part of the whole alien-human integration program). Obviously, they are instantly drawn to each other. So by the time we get to the climax of the pilot, these two are already well on their way to becoming “star-crossed.” At the very end, the writers cleverly play on this connection between Emery and Roman as he puts everything on the line for her to bring her friend Julia back from the brink of death. It’s a beautiful moment, reminiscent of Max when he healed Liz.
I was also pleased that the teenagers have parents on this show with actual personalities. That’s actually become more of a rare thing on shows about teenagers these days. I particularly loved the relationship between Roman and his father, a peaceful loving Atrian who envisions a better world. Overall, the main cast is mostly likeable. Though, I admit to being more drawn to Julia played by Malese Jow than I was to Aimee Teegarden as Emery. Throughout the episode I felt myself kind of wishing Malese Jow was the lead instead. At this point, I’m not completely sold on Teegarden in the leading role (she was good in Friday Night Lights, so I’ll wait to see if she’ll ease into this role as well). Plus, I didn’t feel the chemistry between the two leads. There wasn’t a spark for me…yet. But they could grow on me, so we’ll see.
At times the dialogue did feel awkward and contrived, which should easily smooth out in future episodes (especially with all the talented writers on board this series); With only forty some odd minutes to tell a story, it’s not uncommon for the writers to try and throw in too much exposition in a pilot which can lead to unnatural dialogue. This happened for instance in an early scene between best friends Emery and Julia in the hospital. We needed as a viewer to learn that Emery had overcome some type of disease, whereas Julia was still struggling. As an audience we did learn what we needed to, but the presentation of this character development was a little awkward to watch.
Another problem I had with the series really just comes down to personal preference. I’m not sold on the choice to cast some of the roles with actors who probably could have played teenagers in Roswell. The actors just weren’t always convincing as teenagers. I think it’s fine to cast older, but they should at least feel younger. Also, in a series which is clearly a symbolic representation of the Little Rock Nine, I was frankly surprised by the actual lack of diversity within the cast. Couldn’t a couple of the Atrians have been played by African Americans? I’m not what you call over the top PC, but when there’s a series that’s supposed to be a symbolic retelling of a civil rights event, it’s hard not to notice that most of the Atrian students representing the Little Rock Nine as well as most of the human students are white. It’s a little ironic and an odd choice if I’m being honest. Not to mention the series itself takes place in Louisiana which is a very diverse state.
Since this is meant to be a romantic series, the romance should be what holds the show together like glue. Unfortunately, at this point that isn’t quite the case. However, while I haven’t bought into the chemistry yet or necessarily the romance, I do think the episode had great romantic moments like when Roman first sees Emery again and he automatically remembers who she is. So the romance angle of the show is very promising. That said, I’m not sure a triangle was necessary. A triangle with a star-crossed pair only works if the third one out isn’t an actual threat. Hopefully Grayson as played by Grey Damon will be more like Kyle in Roswell (did anyone actually believe Kyle had a chance?) than Jacob in Twilight. Love triangles will always exist, but if Juliet had actually emotionally been torn over Romeo and Paris, then Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have become as timeless as it now is. Love triangles have their rightful place, but sometimes they can be overused to the detriment of the story. But again, we’ll see how this plays out.
While it wasn’t perfect, I still really enjoyed the first episode and hope that it improves as the series continues. There aren’t a lot of great romantic shows on television right now, so I hope this one makes it. In fact, this lacking in the romantic genre makes me automatically want to root for this underdog series that has had little promotion. No doubt, this show is on the road to cancellation. It was given no lead in, premiered against the Olympics, and was put in the Monday night slot which never does well. Seems like a setup for failure. So, I hope word of mouth will help this series get more viewers.
Did you watch Star-Crossed? What did you think of the new CW series? Let me know in the comments!
“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful
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