TABASCO RATINGS
Here are my episode ratings...hot or not


A Roswell Christmas Carol: The Miracle
written by:
directed by:


   We have a rule of thumb at our house. You can tell when an hour-long show has been written right when your internal clock is thinking the show is almost over and you see by the external clock it's only half over. And you get that wave of glee that there's much more to come. That happened here.

This episode was so satisfying from the standpoint of good solid holiday sentimentality. Come onÖgive in to it. You know you want to. You know you love that dark haired beauty taking on messianic attributes, while rippling under that black leather jacket and looking up hauntingly with those dark sultry eyes. But I digress.

There's a lost scene begging to flow from the pen of some fanfic writer: Michael getting Max out of the hospital, the loss of powers, the panicked Michael driving home from the hospital. Oops! In Phoenix? Do the writers know how far away Phoenix is from Roswell? Do they even refer to a map when they write this stuff? Wouldn't it have been more realistic for the hospital to be in Albuquerque. I have a theory. The writers never want to use the name Albuquerque because they think everyone's going to think of Bugs Bunny when they hear it. But how many times can these children venture across state lines and their parents stay dumb about it?

Minor glitch aside, Max's scene in the hospital was powerful. The subplot with Tess and the boys and Amy was delightful. Too bad Isabel was a little too tinsely to be loveable, but she's had her moments in other episodes. I'm a ping pong ball with MariaBrodyMichael. Who do I like her with? Can't decide. Neither can the writers. Oh well, something to look forward to. And good sound advice from Liz, the voice of reason, which in this episode, served to reignite her strength. God bless us everyone.

Best line - Jim V. to Kyle V.: "I'm very concerned that you're starting to make sense to me."
Max in the City
written by:
Ron Moore
directed by:
Patrick Norris


   Review to come
Meet the Dupes
written by:
Toni Graphia
directed by:
James Contner


   Review to come
Wipe Out
written by:
Gretchen Berg
Aaron Harberts
directed by:
Michael Lange


Nicolas comes to Roswell and one by one people disappear -- but he's no match for the Fantastic Four
   In the very fine tradition of Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone, this was a creepy, mindwarping thriller. The opening sequence before the credits set the bar very high, making it hard sometimes for the rest of the episode to meet the same standard (the scene with Isabel in chains was a little weak) but most moments were edge of your seat exciting. Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts turned in another excellent script to add to what I consider the best Roswell episode ever, "Summer of '47".

It was great to see the kids interacting with their parents again. The fishing scene was good, but the scene when Valenti disappeared was a two-hankie. The humans were fully integrated into the alien struggle, playing a heroic part in defeating the bad guys. It's one thing to have supernatural powers to use against your enemies, but the great human drama on this planet is going the distance when all you are is a puny human. At least this was a real life-and-death struggle, not some goofy caper. Too bad Alex was one of the first to go...it would have been nice to see what he would have done to help.

The skins en masse had a very high "night of the living dead" creep factor. I loved it. And this was the first time I actually felt R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Tess -- or should I say, "The Tessinator!"

Best Line -- Kyle: "Buddha forgive me I'm gonna kick your ass!"
Harvest
written by:
Fred Golan
directed by:
Paul Shapiro


Call this, "Skins Attack!" But I really missed the yodeling.
   Well, they finally did it. They managed to put one out there that I absolutely hated. Last season when I came across a bad episode, I could bump up the rating because there was sizzle and chemistry going on. Something hot, however unrelated to the actual storyline. This episode had none of that. Just a bunch of angry dim bulbs chasing after whatsits and going nowhere fast. And PLEEZE, whould someone get rid of Michael's goofy Beattle Bob!

It was so bad...and on so many levels. How do I begin? Let's begin with the overstuffed script. Fred Golan wrote episodes of "The Others", a show I really liked and followed religiously. But whose idea was it to cram 12 story arcs into one episode? All of a sudden Courtney's in the car and we're supposed to care about her. Tess is hanging onto Max like there's a reason. The kids go on another caper, this time to the back lot of 20th C. Fox, to explore the mysteries of a character we hardly had time to be suspicious of, let alone appreciate as a villain. There's a whole new set of villains whose origins are hazy, and are beginning to be defined now more by what they are not (i.e. "renegade" skins) than by what they are. In passing someone mentions the Gran-O-Lith, can't forget about that. So was this episode about Isabel? I couldn't tell. Maybe it was about Michael. In the end, I couldn't tell what happened! Who were the people in the tanks? Who were the people in the meeting hall? What was the Harvest? Why didn't their heads explode or something? And may I add that the name "The Husks" has about as much appeal as the Ball State "Hoosieroons".

And here's what I wanted to say when Maria said they were like Scully and Mulder...I know Scully and Mulder; you are no Scully and Mulder. "Roswell" can't even begin to be compared to "The X-Files" for the simple reason that they are going too fast. Not enough character development...and here's what I mean by development: You've got to get us to fall in love with them, each and every one of them. TAKE THE TIME! Now we don't even know who they are compared to last season.

Ok, now I gotta catch my breath. Next bash comes from the Diversity Police. Get Some Color Going, Will Ya??!!! Get someone with an interesting voice! An original look! I swear there has to be a different casting directing with a penchant for white blonde chicks doing the casting these days as compared to whoever did the original casting. I am so bored with Courtney. She is an uniteresting looking white chick. Her diction annoys me, it's so blah. She has no screen presence, no chemistry. How many interesting black actresses were turned down before they hit upon Sarah Downing. Or did they even get through the door. I am frustrated with Jason Katims who said there would be diversity on this show. Since the initial casting, what have we had? White, blonde Tess. White, blonde Courtney. White, blonde Grant. White, blonde Brody. Do we see a pattern here?

The Derivative Patrol was also freaking out, but I'm exhausted. Suffice it to say, How Many People In Tanks Have I Seen In My Lifetime????? Let's just say A LOT! OY. I'm outa here.

Best Line -- Maria: "It's Graceland and you're Elvis."
The End Of The World
written by:
Jason Katims
directed by:
Bill L. Norton


"For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
   Jason Behr and Shiri Appleby turned in their best performances yet. But Jason Katims deserves the lion's share of praise tonight for a sad, bittersweet story. I didn't think I would be moved by the tragedy of Liz and Max's love because I read Whiteotter's "Polar Novel" for the first time this weekend and had something of a religious experience thinking about the sense it made (Michael and Liz.)I also had a hard time watching this episode objectively because of the story I wrote and need to finish which is posted on this site. It is also about changing the timeline to avoid the failed struggle against the enemies of Max's race, with earth caught in the middle. I kept thinking, oh crap, I have yet to post my scene where Max and Liz realize they have to go back and not be together. Like I've said before, when my story ends up on the screen, I tell myself I must be doing something right. I relate to Jason Katims' fixation on high school. I'm there too. He captures all the sweetness of first love, first time, everything new and tragically destined to fall off the vine. The final scene is memorable, hauntingly beautiful, as good as anything out there.

I went to the Crashdown to read the Eastcoasters reactions before the Pacific 'cast, and everyone wept buckets, especially all the dreamers out there. I thought, that's not going to happen to me. I'm too old and crusty. And I just read the Polar Novel. But here I am with tears in my eyes. It was the dancing at the end. And the way he disappeared. Read "metaphor for LIFE" into that one all you young Dreamgirls. Well, at least I don't have some snoring shlub who doesn't have a clue waiting for me at the end of this night. I thank gods, goddesses, and stars that at the end of the day I have the independence of the destiny I created for myself to wrap myself in. (Ah. "Roswell" as spiritual guide and teacher. Not since "Kung Fu" grasshopper...but that's another story.) Memories of "firsts" are far superior to mediocre endings.

Best line...probably her last - Tess: "Let me tell you something, buddhaboy, I got a lamp that needs some serious trimming."
Summer of '47
written by:
Gretchen J. Berg
Aaron Harberts
directed by:
Patrick Norris


Michael puts himself in the shoes of a 509th veteran -- and finds himself at the Crash.
   This episode showed what the series is capable of. It takes fine writing that's no nonsense. Judging by the comments on the Crashdown, it went over extremely well with the 18-49 demographic and even beyond. In fact, the WB would be crazy not to re-up the show. What made it work? A mature, complex story. Acting that went beyond the typical characterizations we've seen so far. Spot on direction by Patrick Norris who kept the complexities from getting out of control. The writers came up with new things for the actors to say that weren't about Max's leadership, Michael's obstinance or Liz's hurt feelings. The settings and costuming fed the eyes. Brendan Fehr brought a sensitive, honest intensity to this role and didn't throw anything away. His performances are getting better and better. And Hallelujah! Maria is back!! All of this can be brought to the 21st century story, as "285 South" and "Sexual Healing" proved last season.
Best line - Maria: "I'm sorry. When humans need rides they take Jettas. When aliens need rides they take space ships. Oh! Find one."
Surprise
written by:
Toni Graphia
directed by:
Fred K. Keller


Isabel turns 18, gets roses, and kills Liz's boss all in one day.
   Here are the dumb little bits...Last year in "285 South" wasn't Isabel a sophomore? Now she's 18. So we lost a year. Or else she's behind a year in school. But they had to make her old enough to go out with an adult. Why does Courtney look like Isabel? Winner of the "they grow up so quickly" award goes to Liz with the heavy eye makeup and the gooped up hair. It seems like only yesterday she was a fresh face sweetheart fantasizing about Max in the locker room shower. I miss that Liz!

The first 40 minutes or so came across as a rather dreary "old-type " Roswell episode with a Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Hour feel. I was thinking 2 Tabascos. Cordelia kept getting head-splitting premonitions...ooops! I mean Isabel kept getting premonitions about Tess being in danger. Caperism galore with Valenti, Max, and Michael breaking into people's personal spaces. Then it started to get really interesting before and after the last commercial break. Just like Ron Moore said -- I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. I was completely swept up in the action. I loved it. Isabel was heroic against Whiteaker's Cruella DeVille. (Yippee! Secrets revealed! All that juicy stuff about betrayal on the home world. Who was Isabel's great love? Enticing set up for future episodes.) Then the anguished monologue in the pod chamber. I thought to myself, this whole last part is 5 Tabascos. And then it happened. The elevator doors opened and there was the warp core of the Enterprise. Ackkkk! Why do they do this to me! Is it the art direction? Is it the writing? I don't know, but it always ends up being something from another show and I scream.

Best line - Alex: "She saw my nipple? Oh, god!"
Ask Not
written by:
Ronald D. Moore
directed by:
Bruce Seth Green


Max Fitzgerald Evans... will he get medieval on the "bad" guy's ass?
   Not that the Fab Four isn't still being pursued. But Ron Moore kept a taut excitement throughout this episode and still made time for developing the characters. With a quick, light touch, with a sentence or two of dialog, he humanized Tess and Kyle, even Congresswoman Whiteaker (but watch out for her!) -- made them actually likeable. He improved upon the usual caper aspect by transforming it into bona fide mystery. There's less of a comic book veneer to everything. Plus there were cool sci-fi effects and Jas's washboard abs.
The conflict with Michael and Max is beginning to wear a little thin; they were having the same leadership arguments back before they knew Max was Fearless Leader. But the Pacifist King going for the jugular? You knew it would never happen, but that slo-mo pulp fiction scene, like Mod Squad meets Matrix, where they go gunning for Brody did kind of get me going.
I wonder if I hadn't known that Ron Moore wrote the episode if I'd have recognized some trekisms here and there. The biggest of these was the indomitable TNG device of fretting over a dreaded enemy to the very end of the episode only to have the nemesis neutralized by turning him/her/it into a misunderstood equal worthy of everyone's tolerance. That seems to be what happened to the Big Bad Brit aka poor alien abductee. Diversity cop sez: Sacrifice person of color to jump on the Marsters Bandwagon?
Best line - Tess (observing Kyle's boxers): "Calvin Klein...I approve." (Snap!)
Skin and Bones
written by:
Jason Katims
directed by:
James A. Contner


Loyalties shift around the once and future king like radioactive sand in the desert.

Zen and the Art of Scripting Alien Teen Angst
   The sub-text, undercurrent, double meaning of the Roswell series is how the trials of adolescents everywhere are portrayed in inside-out, graphic terms in the lives of three teenage aliens. Season one: Teenagers feel alienated, different = Max, Michael, and Isabel struggle to come to terms with the way they are different from other teens because they are aliens. Season two: Teenagers deal with fear everyday, fear of being found out, fear of rivals getting the better of them...the better date, the better outfit, the better breaks = Max, Michael, and Isabel fear that rival aliens will literally get the better of them (Nasedo implies they would like to "serve" them -- on toast.) Anyone who doesn't see the storytelling in this show in primal, human, Jungian/Campbellian archetypal terms is missing the point.
It's slicker, it's well acted, the writing got deeper, more mature, but not without its requisite caperism. Everyone is REALLY serious. That may be a problem in future. But, YES! The situation with Michael having killed a man was handled -- not buried away as an unfortunate plot development. Our Maria lost her chops at the end of the last season. She got maybe 40% of them back with some clever writing. I wish Nasedo had lasted longer, but he was getting a bit too smarmy. If the bar is "the X-Files", they should remember that something that gets that bar up there is the ability for the main character to make fun of himself and his quest, showing his humility, his humanity.
I can always tell the really good episodes because there are standout lines of dialog that in a nutshell say it all (define a character, characterize an issue or event, galvanize a scene). I struggled to find even one such line in the final episodes of last season. But it's a brave and ballsy writer who can take time away from advancing the action with even one offbeat but crystalline line. So that's what I'm waiting for. Diversity police sez: Grant Sorensen and Courtney...could they BE any more Caucasian? Derivative patrol sez: You HAD to make THEM reptilian, didn't you.
Best line - Nasedo: "You can never find those little pod people when you want them."
A Very Special Roswell - Michael opens up to Valenti in a stark jail cell.
Destiny
written by:
Toni Graphia & Jason Katims
story by:
Thania St. John
directed by:
Patrick Norris


They escape Pierce and do him in, but Liz leaves Max.
   The suspense and excitement continued. We especially didn't know at first if Valenti was a traitor or a friend. Jason Behr turned on some of his delicious evil Max bit with Pierce. It started to turn a little sappy when Max healed Kyle of a fatal gunshot wound, just like he healed Liz in the first episode. Ok, and now it becomes extremely problematic and troubling because Michael has actually killed someone. How are they ever going to go back and live normal lives? To be "realistic" how is Michael ever going to be not weird about this? OK, that's a decision the writers had to make. But here's what I would have done: I would have had Max see how devastating Michael's act was to him so Max would have directed Michael to be the one to heal Kyle. Then Michael would have known that he wasn't just a killer. Of course that would preclude the speech where Michael just gives up on himself ("You heal people, I kill people.") This didn't all sink in while I was watching, though. I was still enjoying the way things were wrapping up -- UNTIL -- Oh My God!!! Were we getting down to a deadline here and had to come up with the most derivative plot line we could think of???? I started to laugh out loud! I thought their mom was going to call Max Ka l'El!! I was wondering when Marlon Brando was going to show up! And then when she explains who Max is I said It's "Invasion America"!! The person I was watching the show with said, didn't you see that coming? No. I was expecting better. So the writers really have their work cut out for them now to try to salvage this. The best scripts came in the middle of the season. The effort to be more sci-fi driven in the final story arc lacked the humor and romance of those earlier scripts, left out the fire and independence of Maria and Liz and didn't produce any really good, memorable lines that define and reinforce individual characters. Oh please bring it back from here!!!
Best Effect: The beeping sounds coming from all the communicators.
The White Room
written by:
Jason Katims & Thania
St. John
directed by:
Jonathan Frakes


Max is the guinea pig du jour.
   It was everything I expected in an abduction-for-experimentation episode. Torture, needles, sinister bad guy... was it too predictable? Made me appreciate any little surprises. Watching Michael transform into Fox Mulder was worth the price of admission. Another welcome relief came when Sheriff Valenti made his final transformation from predator to cavalry. John Wayne couldn't have done it better. You know what I miss? Liz and Maria. We started out focusing on Liz's experiences through her journal entries. We were cheered by Maria's chutzpah. Now they're droopy and the focus is on Max. Ok, but here's the thing: Everyone worked everything out in clever, heroic ways. Good set up and anticipation for the final episode.
Best line - Pierce: "Hereís where things get really strange. These are your blood cells. Completely not human. Still want me to call your parents?"
Max To The Max
written by:
Toni Graphia
directed by:
Patrick Norris


The feared alien hunter closes in on Max, but Nasedo gets his licks in too.
   The best writing since "Sexual Healing" or "Blind Date", certainly the best episode of the Tess/Pierce story arc so far. Who steals the show but none other than our own Jason Behr as Evil Max! Deliciously sinister. All of it is great mystery...the discovery of the pods, the truth about Michael and Isabel, the introduction of the innocent looking deputy. This episode genuinely keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Best line - Evil Max: "Now you know."
Four Square
written by:
Thania St. John
directed by:
Jonathan Frakes


Dreams show Michael and Isabel together.
   The arc continues. And it's getting interesting. Who knew there could be so much physical chemistry between Isabel and Michael? I like it. It's something I didn't see coming, but they are very convincing as future parents in the brave new world. This episode raises the question, which destiny to follow? Michael is not afraid to be alien, so he's open to the idea of fulfilling his alien, pre-engineered destiny with Isabel. Max clings to being human and doesn't want to give up Liz, or be led to Tess like a lamb to the slaughter. It was believable to me.
Best line - Isabel: You can never have too much sunshine, donít you think?
Tess, Lies and Videotape
written by:
Richard Whitley
& Toni Graphia
directed by:
Paul Shapiro


Max can't resist Tess.
   Jason Behr does a good dopey Max, catching his sleeve on fire and stupidly kissing Tess in the rain, and all the time wondering why. There's a caper. Liz gets so hysterical in the Casa Harding that I thought the glassware would break.
Most memorable moment: Tess repairing the Buddha. That was cool.
Crazy
written by:
Thania St. John
directed by:
James Whitmore, Jr.


Topolsky is over the top crazy with really bad hair. Tess comes to Roswell.
   Here's what happened when this episode aired after a little break from new shows. We were asked to accept a story arc that would take us to the end of the season. I have to tell you, there was an air of desperation to it. It meant we would have to adjust our internal viewing clocks and take a trip as it were over several weeks that would take us far from where we started. We would have to have faith that we'd like where we landed. And we'd have to be confident that this would save our show from cancelation. That's asking a lot. The key ingredient to this arc was the character of Tess Harding.
     Now, if you don't like Tess, think about the idea of Tess without thinking about the actress playing her. It's intriguing, the idea of a fourth alien hybrid that completes the puzzle like a missing piece and throws doubt on the relationship of Max and Liz. This was a good story arc. Now I don't want to offend anyone here, I really don't. But, Emilie DeRavin was the wrong actress to cast. I saw her in an episode of "Beastmaster" and she was very good -- I liked her in that. But Emilie doesn't fit the "profile" of Tess, and here's why.
     Tess should have been different than the other girls, but, in a way, a combination of them. She should have had red or auburn hair. She should have been taller than Maria and Liz but shorter than Isabel. She should have been an everygirl, maybe an athelete, but not a glam girl, not another Isabel. She should have been someone you'd like to like. She would never be arrogant, but be just as determined as Tess is supposed to be. She would be someone the girls liked and the boys wanted to bring home to mom. She would never give a speech like the one where she describes every boy wanting to jump her bones. She'd never be that conceited in public. But she'd be every bit as ruthless as she needs to be to get what she wants.
     The current Tess character, by casting (not Emilie's fault) and writing broke the rules for writing a great bad guy. You have to secretly like them, you have to almost be rooting for them. You know it's wrong, but you can't help but admire them at the very least. This is Spike and Q and Khan and Faith. She should be appealing and charming so that her betrayal is that much crueler and makes it harder for the one person who sees through her to convince everyone else she's evil. But someone who's brassy and arrogant and who would make all the ordinary girls at school hate her anyway is someone you want out of there right away, and it makes it very nervewracking to watch the show. I can't help but wish that Tess would be gone by the end of the first episode of Season Two.
Sexual Healing
written by:
Jan Oxenberg
directed by:
David Semel


In their new state of passion, Liz and Max get flashes about each other's past.
   What's romantic and sizzling and exciting and tells a good story and mixes just enough alien stuff with just enough pecs and delts? A Roswell episode that works!
Earlier we saw "Heat Wave", but that was just part of the equation..the steamy/romantic part. The secret of Roswell is to keep the sci-fi story married to the teen steam. But the fact that the kids were unpolished, almost embarrased about their raging hormones, yet also sensitive to each other's feelings, made this a believable hour. It was a significant milestone for several things: It was the last Liz-centered show (no more diary). It was the inauguration of the Communicators (for which this site is named!) And it was the show that deepened the Kid's puppy love into something of mythic proportion...the Tristan and Isolde of genre TV. The most cohesive show of Season One.
Best line - Mrs. Evans: "Wait. I'm a little lost. You mean Liz and Max were cleaning erasers when they created this disturbance?" Oh Mom.
Independence Day
Balance
written by:
Thania St. John
directed by:
John Behring


Michael becomes gravely ill and needs the help of alien healing stones in River Dog's possession to be healed.
   To a sci-fi fan, this episode had a great special effect -- the cocoon that gradually grows around the sickly Michael. Shades of Outer Limits. But, I'm not convinced by the device of the stones that work by holding them in your hand and closing your eyes. River Dog tries to explain how they work, but I didn't buy it. Is this Carlos Castanedas 101? Is there an alien version of Amazing Grace they could sing? Remember, it's SCI-fi, that's science, folks. I want those stones to work by some other means than warm fuzzy feelings and good vibes!
for the cocoon...but for the Promisekeepers meeting.
Best line - Alex: "I mean, what purpose could you possibly have?" Isabel: "To wipe out the world, one annoying teenager at a time."
Heat Wave
written by:
Jason Katims
directed by:
David Nutter


It's really hot outside. Good time for an illegal party.
   Maria. as only she can, does a great Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and Michael is looking all Stanley Kowalski-ish....Well, do I have to spell it out for you? Colin Hanks carried the show beautifully in the dream sequence and the jail scene. But about this time I started thinking, aren't there any Hispanics living and working in Roswell, eating at the Crashdown and going to West Roswell High? Any other people of color? Any folks coming down from the Res, just buying groceries or drinking a coke? (And there aren't enough pick-up trucks. Old ones.) Would it have been so hard to write Alex as Alejandro? Strange when you read the quotes by the producers to make Roswell diverse. But you can't fault the endearing performance of Colin Hanks. I started looking at my tapes and I realized there is an effort to make the show diverse, but only with extras and bit parts. They could do better.
Best lines - No Lines. Just Michael and Maria.
Blood Brother
written by:
Barry Pullman
directed by:
David Nutter


Alex preserves Max's identity and exposes Topolsky...and he doesn't even know why.
   Another one of those great caper episodes with completely unbelievable feats pulled off by the gang to throw off suspicion. Shoot me if I ever end up in a hospital where it's so easy to tamper with things like blood samples! It wouldn't happen! But let's think for a moment about what just preceded this on "Dawson's Creek": Joey treated Pacey like crap; Pacey sucked it up and took it; and Dawson acted like a self-absorbed jerk for the umpteenth time. ANYTHING has to be better than that, even an impossible adventure in a hospital. Especially an impossible adventure in a hospital! When the show ends, you have to give them credit for progressing the storyline and keeping things hopping. Brendan Fehr as Michael turns on the charm, proving once again that this show is all about the Sizzle, not the Steak.
Best line - Alex: (About to have his blood drawn by Liz) "Ok, I have any number of reservations at this particular moment."
River Dog
written by:
Cheryl Cain
directed by:
Jonathan Frakes


Liz and Max make contact with River Dog on a nearby reservation who verifies Max's origins and tells them about another alien, Nasedo, who may be a killer.
   This episode didn't quite measure up to the caliber of the great episode it followed. Most problematic was the lackluster writing for the character, River Dog. I hate to say it, but Ned Romero (River Dog), memorable in Northern Exposure, wasn't given much to work with here. Maybe there were so many loose mythology ends to tie up that creating an interesting character for River Dog had to wait. Too bad. And why couldn't the kids come back the next day with cameras and note pads to document the alien symbols they'd been shown in River Dog's cave? Saying they can't come back is a little contrived.
Best line - Eddie: (After Liz explains she's been trying to get the "Redskin Basket" off the Crashdown's menu) "Thanks for the effort. My people are indebted."
285 South
written by:
William Sind
& Thania St. John
directed by:
Arvin Brown


Michael hijacks Maria's car with Maria in it to see if a dome in Texas contains revealing information about his origins.
   Here's the critical benchmark that I base my Tabasco's on. The writing is tight and funny with the right balance between mythology and romance. The humor starts with Maria's refusal to have a study partner who can't even make it to class most of the time (that would be Michael) --"it's cruel and unusual education." From there, we are treated to every unlikely opportunity when their school assignment allows the characters to find out things they never knew about each other, especially that they are more alike than they thought. There's hilarious character development in the Motel Of Secret Desires. This is the kind of episode that you quote from and remember every scene of. The only slight thing marring this great episode is a nagging voice disturbing my suspension of disbelief that says, "It's eleven o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" But you learn to ignore that with Roswell. (By the way, Isabel is the answer to my question #12 also.)
Best lines - Maria: "Oh God, you're kidnapping me -- no, wait -- you're abducting me!"
Missing
written by:
Jon Harmon Feldman
directed by:
David Semel


Liz loses her diary...it's a real dope slap moment we can all identify with.
   The greatest moments in this episode are the ones with Michael, The Obsessed One. It's a homage to Close Encounters as he tries to work out his vision in Art Class (he should try using mashed potatoes). It's a wise thing to mix his single-minded questing with real humor -- and humility.
Leaving Normal
written by:
Jason Katims
directed by:
David Nutter
& Chris Long

Max helps Liz say good bye to her grandmother.
   I was so disappointed that an actress of the caliber of Caroll Baker, who played Liz's grandmother, got such limited air time in this episode. I was really hoping she would be a regular as a mentor for Liz. She didn't even get a whole episode before she got to exhibit her tour de force as a comatose patient with tubes and everything! A waste of great talent.
I would have given this episode , but once again, Liz and Max manage to make the screen crackle! Love it, love it.
Best line - Isabel: "To put this as succinctly as possible, I'm not really a service oriented person."
Monsters
written by:
Jason Katims
& Thania St. John
directed by:
David Nutter
& David Semel


The pressure is on Maria to keep the aliens' secret...will she spill the beans to Sheriff Valenti?
   The only trouble with this episode is that it's over way too soon. Maria's character solidifies. She will steal the show if they let her. The career counseling montages are great. But the nutty UFOlogist, Milton Ross, played by sit-com veteran, Steve Hytner ("Working") is great. Retro and obsessed, he runs the local Crash Museum (admits it's a tourist trap) and ironically becomes Max's boss. It's another great quirky setting to go along with the Crashdown Cafe. I think it's a mistake not to re-run the shows that feature him prominently (this episode and "Convention" come to mind)
Best line - Maria: "Let me just make it easy for her (pointing to classmates) Tasty Freeze, Denny's, Gas World, Prison."
The Morning After
written by:
Jason Katims
directed by:
David Nutter


Kathleen Topolsky joins the West Roswell High staff, but she certainly knows a lot of men in black.
   Don't call it "the morning after..." that makes me think of slinking out of the bedroom, grabbing clothes and shoes and trying to get out the door before the 'other' wakes up....but I digress. This episode isn't that bad. The story moves along. Enter another Bad Guy, Agent Topolsky. (I can't help but think of The Clash of The Mythologies here....Does she know about the Lone Gunmen?) Michael tries to sell chocolates to a deputy -- that's an interesting character study. Ooooh. There was that cool camera shot when Max sees Topolsky talking to the Sheriff and he turns around and stands there right next to a picture of Kyle. I loved the way "aliens" became "Czechoslovakians".   Majandra Delfino gets for proving herself to be well on the way to comedic iconism. We're all just getting to know each other. It's really more like the second day of school.
Best line - Maria: "The point is that we donít know anything about these Czechoslovakians. Are they good Czechoslovakians? Bad Czechoslovakians? We donít know. Are they just random Czechoslovakians? For all we know, they donít have their passports."
Pilot
written by:
Jason Katims
directed by:
David Nutter


The alien who came in from the cold saves Liz Parker from Beevis and Butthead
   You've got to have places in a show that the audience wants to go to. The Crashdown Cafe is the best TV watering hole since Cheers. Don't be fooled by the characters though. Bad guys can become nice...or crazy... and stuck up girls can become the salt of the earth. I like Liz as aspiring scientist, but how does she know the cells she's looking at aren't eraser shavings? Leave it to Roswell to underplay pesky details like that. The show is really a cross between X-Files and Nancy Drew. The caper at the end (there are a lot in Roswell) is absolutely liberating...no parents, unlimited use of cars, and whenever they need it to be, it's Friday night or Saturday morning. The caper comes off, and they throw the mean old sheriff off their trail for the present. About Jason Behr as Max: -- with those sleepy puppy eyes, you half expect him to talk in baby talk and say things like "don't hurt me..." or "my bad." But when he doesn't, when he just speaks in monosyllables in that baritone voice of his and pleads for Liz's love with his eyes....okay, I admit it. I'm hooked
Best line - Max: "Well, I'm not from around here." Duh, baby.


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