By K. Peters
For the last five years or so, reboots and remakes of our favorite TV shows and movies have been all the craze. Some believe Hollywood has simply run out of original story ideas, while others believe the re-imagining of the worlds we once escaped to is necessary in today’s culture. Then there are others who go back and forth; understanding that while diversifying mainstream media is vitally important, they beg for their favorite entertainment to be spared.
I fall in that third category. Or at least I did when the remake of Roswell, circa 1999, was announced in 2017.
I have been a die hard Roswellian since it premiered on The WB in the fall of 1999. It’s message, “What’s so great about normal?,” struck the little queer kid inside me that subconsciously knew I was hiding from the world, just as these teenage aliens were in their world. I didn’t know I was gay, because I didn’t even know what gay was at the time, but I knew I was different. This beloved show of mine only lasted three seasons, after continual campaigns, filled with Tabasco Sauce, were set up by fans led in part by Crashdown.com to save the show season after season. In 2002, after it’s jump to The UPN, Roswell said goodbye to it’s fans and we immediately went to work to set up a Roswell movie campaign. That campaign lasted 15 years, as the announcement that the show based off the “Roswell High” book series written by Melinda Metz, would be remade for The CW. This was not what many of us had in mind.
With that being said, when the rebooted Roswell, New Mexico, first aired, I held my breath, waiting to see what the new showrunner was going to ruin. Within the first minute, I was yelling at my screen because the UFO crash date is historically inaccurate (It was July 1947, not June). But I kept watching, though skeptical.
Now after watching for a season and a half, Roswell, New Mexico is a show that I look forward to each week. And it is absolutely a show LGBTQ+ people should be watching.
The queer content on this show is phenomenal! (Warning: spoilers ahead!)
Tyler Blackburn plays Sgt. Alex Manes, a gay war veteran who returns to Roswell to find his high school love Michael Guerin (Michael Vlamis) is not from this Earth. By the end of the first episode the #Malex ship was setting the fans on fire.
In an interview with Advocate.com, Blackburn came out as bisexual in 2019, saying “I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart.”
But for those who remember the original show, the expectation that Michael would be courting Maria was not left out in the reboot. Michael is bisexual, and though he still has strong feelings for Alex, he can’t fight the attraction he has for Maria DeLuca (Heather Hemmens). Thus, the love triangle between best friends Alex and Maria, with their bad boy alien Michael, leaves queer fans sitting on the edge of their seats each week. #Maleria? (That’s an unfortunate ship name).
In a recent episode, fan’s watched as the love triangle between Maleria turned into a potential polyamorous relationship. But there might also be a new man on the horizon for Sgt. Manes. I won’t spoil anymore, you’re just going to need to tune in on Monday nights at 9 pm to see how this one plays out.
But if you’re looking for a little more wlw action in your queer ships, Roswell, New Mexico just might be leaning that way as well.
After the death of her ex-husband Noah (aka crazy alien guy trying to kill everyone), Isobel Evans-Bracken (Lily Cowles) has been struggling with the fear that Noah (Karan Oberoi) might not be dead. We see Isobel try to let loose by going to a gay bar, partly to avoid being picked up on by a new man. In doing this, she meets a hot lady-loving female bartender who Isobel later takes to the bathroom. We don’t see what happens, but it’s definitely insinuated. Could this be a precursor for more queer action from our leading lady alien?
Fans would love this, as it seems one of the most popular non-canon ships of the show is that of Isobel and Rosa Ortecho (Amber Midthunder), with hundreds of #Rosobel fanfics spanning the internet. I, for one, would absolutely love this to become canon, as Rosa is a new character into the Roswell TV universe. The character of Rosa exists in the original book series as a mention; Liz Ortecho’s older sister who has died. This throwback to the “Roswell High” series was an extra bonus for true Roswellians!
Some LGBTQ+ fans already watching Roswell, New Mexico might worry that some of these relationships and actions of characters is actually queerbait. We’ve seen queerbaiting in other popular shows, especially one’s that were struggling for ratings at the time (*COUGHThe100COUGH*). However, showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie, has been very honest about recognizing the responsibility to the queer community. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, MacKenzie explains that the lack of bisexual representation on TV is something she takes seriously and wants to fill that gap. With this in mind, I think it is safe to say that MacKenzie is moving every character’s arc in a deliberate and honest direction.
Whether or not we continue to see a thruple between Michael, Alex and Maria or if Isobel dives a little deeper into exploring her attraction to women, it is safe to say that the queer content of this show is a must see for any sci-fi loving fan.
Furthermore, with the recent addition of Roswell alum Shiri Appleby (who played Liz Parker, rather than Ortecho) and Jason Behr (who played Max Evans) coming on board in director and actor roles, the original’s fans can rest assured that those of us that have been believers since the late 90’s no longer need to fear the destruction of the thing we hold so dear.
Roswell, New Mexico is not the same show I grew up with. These characters are not teenagers, but they are still finding themselves. And like many queer people, the discovery of who you really are comes well into your twenties or thirties. I bow to MacKenzie and offer my humble apology for fearing the worse. Roswell held a place in my heart that I had to keep safe, because I felt alien at the time. It is incredible to now see queer aliens on my TV screen each week and I thank you.
But please, fix that crash date!