DVD review: ROSWELL season One
by David Blackwell
ROSWELL is like MY SO-CALLED LIFE meets THE X-FILES in a way, but ROSWELL is more than that. ROSWELL is an
addictive and compelling sci-fi drama that leaves you wanting to watch the next episode (and the episdoes after that) after
it has you sucked in. ROSWELL is one of those shows that I had a mixed reaction to when I first watched it after seeing the
first few episodes, but I stuck with it and the show grew on me. I have watched all 22 episodes of season one on this DVD
set and I am impressed how good the first season one was from the pilot to the first season finale. ROSWELL is a teen drama
that anyone can relate to, but it is more than that as it adopts more elements of science fiction as the season goes on and
that carries over into the next two seasons.
The 22 episodes that make up season one are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen with 5.1 Dolby digital sound. The
episodes sound good and look in better quality than when they first aired on the WB station I watched ROSWELL season one on.
DISC ONE- The first disc has a commentary track for the Pilot by executive producer/creator/writer Jason Katims
and director David Nutter. They talk about how the show came together, how they cast everyone a couple of months before other
shows cast their pilots, some production stories, and how some actors got their roles (Shiri Appleby got an audition on a
fluke and Jason Beher was sick on the day he auditioned). There is also a 30 second deleted scene for the Pilot, but it is
presented in Full Frame.
The series begins with Liz being shot and Max healing her, and it causes a series of events to happen that
lead to one thing to another from the bonds forming between the characters. The second episode introduces Julie Benz (best
known for playing Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) as the new guidance counslor for the school and she isn't all
that she appears to be.
"It's like the porno version of Aladdin."- Maria
"Any day that Michael calls someone honey, it's over."- Isabel
"Don't spread it around. You'll ruin my reputation."- Michael
The commentary track by director David Nutter reveals that the Roswell theme song was decided on late because
they thought the other song they listened to was better to use before they said the Dido song fit more. He also talks about
the show, the episode "Blood Brother", the actors, and the characters.
Liz's journal goes missing in one episode, the relationship between Michael and Maria begins, and the story
starts to form more as our three alien teenagers try to discover who they are as they track down information about the mysterious
alien who killed someone in 1959 in Roswell that leads to an Indian named River Dog.
"To Destroy The World! One annoying teenager at a time!"- Isabel."
River Dog appears again in two more episodes. Alex finds out what Liz and Maria know. Max pulls away from
Liz shortly after things are working for the both of them. The weak episode on this disc is "The Toy House". "In The Woods"
has a fun time with Maria wearing an aqua bra (and there is a funny moment between Maraia, Alex, and Liz0.
Co-executive producer/writer Thania St. John does the commentary on "The Balance".
Shiri Appleby and Majandra Delfino comment on the show, Brendan(Fehr)'s hair, and Shiri refers to Liz as another
person on the commentary track for "Sexual Healing".
Liz's absentee mom decides to take an interest in Liz's life in "Sexual Healing", and it makes you wonder
where are the parents when most of the things on the show happen. Johnthan Frakes makes another appearance in "The Convention"
while Max bears his feelings to Liz when Kyle gets him drunk in "Blind Date". all four episodes are great episodes on disc
four despite the plot hole towards the end of "The Convention" like how Michael found Max (but it could be dismissed). The
episodes prove that ROSWELL is a very emotional drama where characters really matter.
Shiri and Majandra are still obsessed with Brendan's hair on the commentary track for "Crazy" and comment
on how committed Julie Benz is to a role and how much fun was had on the show among other little stories about the show. Tess
makes her first appearance and Julie Benz retruns for one more time as the stakes are rasied in the storyline for the show.
DISC SIX- Max is questioned by Agent Pearce as Liz puts her trust to deal Valenti what is going on. Johnathan
Frakes directs "The White Room" while "Destiny" sets things up for season two.
The Commentary track on "Destiny" by Jason Katims and director Patrick Norris touch on how far the show has
come, how the director did the episode and how tight an 8 day shoot is for an episode at the end of the season, and there
are slight spoilers for seasons 2 and 3.
Starting out the Special features on disc six is AREA 51, a 30 minutes behind-the-scenes featurette on ROSWELL
that has (old and new)interviews with the cast and crew of the show, footage from season one, and behind-the-scenes video
and pictures.. It also touches on how the fans made the show go beyond one season and the good fans have done.
ROSWELL HIGH- THE MAKING OF ROSWELL HIGH is a 10 minute featurette where the writer and editor of the Roswell
High series of books talk about how the book series came to be, how the TV show came about before the book series was launched,
and their comments of the TV show ROSWELL.
Other special features include a music video from Sensefield and two scenes that were the screen test for
MENUS- When you load a disc into the DVD player, a flash design of video from the show and the Roswell logo
scrolling across the screen that leads to the main disc menu. You can select it by episode and each episode has it's
own menu (play episode, scene selections (about 12 per episode), langauge and subtitle options, and speicl features or episode
commentary option depending on the episode). The two things the discs menus are lacking is a Play All Episodes
option and a way to navigate to the next episode menu without having to go back to the main menu every time. The menus
are nicely designed otherwise.
SET DESIGN- The DVD set is very well designed. There are six DVDs that are each in their own thin case with
artwork that fits the background of the inside of the disc jacket cover that also shows stills from the show. the front covers
of each disc jacket has artwork depicting six different characters from the show (one for each disc jacket- Liz, Max, Maria,
Isabel, Michael, and Sheriff Valenti). The back jacket cover has artwork of a menu (with info about the episodes on that disc
printed on it) being held down by various things you see in the Crashdown Cafe (cofee cup, tabasco bottles, utensils, a coffee
stained napkin, and a bill for the food). The six thin slipcases are a better way to go than the usual fold out
DVD design for many DVD sets of TV shows.
FINAL ANALYSIS- The DVD set for Season One may not be perfect, but it is great to see ROSWELL finally being
released to DVD. Hopefully there will be commentary tracks from Jason Behr, Brendan Fehr, Katherine Heigl, Colin Hanks, Nick
Wechsler, and William Sadler. They do need to include more deleted scenes and get some outtakes/bloopers (like the stuff from
A Roswell Christmas Carol) for season 2 and 3 when they come to DVD.
It would also be nice to have a short piece on each episode if there aren't going to be more than six commentary
tracks per season, a short featurette comparing the 1.78:1 widescreen that the episodes are presented in to how the show aired
on TV, a text feature that lists what shows were origianlly featured in the TV show and what songs replaced the ones that
were too expensive to clear for the DVDs, short featurette on how the arc developed for the show and why they made the choices
they did, and many some DVD-ROM features. I hope season 2 has more special fatures when it is released to DVD.
ROSWELL is a really great show, and this is a nice DVD set despite having very few special features and not
the best menu navigation. If you're a fan of the show or looking for a new show to watch, buy ROSWELL Season One on DVD. I
can't wait to watch ROSWELL season 2 and season 3 on DVD, and maybe it will lead to more from ROSWELL if the DVDs sell really
well. ROSWELL is a show that screams for more stories to be told.
this review is (c)2-11-2004 David Blackwell and this review can't be reprinted without the permission of the
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