This post is going to be more talk, less watch. I've decided that if my writing career doesn't take off I could be the TV Fix It Person. What is a TV Fix It Person you ask? Well, a TV Fix It Person is someone who can see the moment when a show starts to tank and fixes it. A good friend of mine loved the show ROSWELL and has all three seasons on DVD. He loaned them to me. I really enjoyed Season One. Lots of talent on the show and good writing. Interesting concept. The only character I would have cast differently was Colin Hanks. It wasn't that he wasn't a good actor but if they knew they were bringing Emilie DeRavin on then they needed someone to have chemistry with her and it needed to be him or Kyle. I'm not sure what Adam Brody (The O.C, Gilmore Girls) was doing then but I would have cast him had he been available. I can see him having chemistry with Katherine Heigl even though he is geeky. He's cute geeky. Funny geeky. Lovable geeky. Heck sexy Summer on The OC fell for him. He's the hot geek guy; it would have worked. That is the only Season One thing I would have changed. Recast Alex (Colin Hanks). That's it. Best thing about Season One: Michael and Maria.
My friend seemed to think that Season 3 was where it went awry until I said, "Say what? Season 2 was when that boat started to spring leaks everywhere." So, I pulled out the discs going over the various episodes to narrow down exactly when the show started to sink. Season 2, Episode 5. That was when Future Max came back in time to break up Max and Liz all because ~ with his understanding of future events ~ because Max and Liz stay together Tess (Emilie DeRavin) leaves and they aren't as strong without her and their "unspecified" enemies kill everyone but Max. Liz tries breaking up with Max (that doesn't work) and eventually sets up a scene to make Max think that she and Kyle slept together (they didn't) but Max believes it and Liz achieves goal in pushing him towards Tess. She then spends the rest of Season 2 being angry at Max for betraying her for sleeping with Tess (say what?) and assumes no responsibility for her part in his making that choice (which makes me dislike her for the rest of the series). This was not good writing people. I call this mistake number one.
How to Avoid Mistake Number Two: Tess Getting Pregnant. Not long after this there is a two parter featuring the second set of aliens. This had already been set into motion earlier in the show (the fact that two pods arrived). A smart Liz would have taken one long look at Tess's doppleganger and seen her own personal loophole and a way out of a bad mess. As a bonus, Tess and Max left the doppleganger in town alone with Liz and Maria for quite a while, which would have afforded them an opportunity to get to know her. Is she good hearted or bad hearted? Basically it would have given them some options about her vs. Tess. On the plus side, this girl wasn't in love with Max. And she would have balanced out their power issues if/when Tess left. If I were Liz, I think it would have been worth checking out. Plus, she was virtually homeless and really needed help. It would have been a win/win. They could have hidden her in Maria's bedroom or Michael's apartment and had her practicing Tess's accent and when Tess left (per Future Max's prediction), she could have jumped in and filled the void with few people the wiser. Makes sense to me.
How to Avoid Mistake Number Three: Killing Alex. It was stupid and just bad contrived writing. No matter how you look at it, it doesn't make sense. All Tess had to do was ask for his help and he would have given it to her. She didn't have to mind trick him. That is why it is stupid and it doesn't make sense. They needed Tess to be bad and Alex wasn't working as a romantic interest for Isobel so this was what they came up with and it was terrible. If we had Adam Brody or someone who was working with someone (Isobel or Tess doppleganger) it wouldn't have come to this. If we still need actual Tess to be bad, so be it. Let her mind trick a professor at the college. That makes more sense. Let her be pregnant with the Michael doppleganger's baby and try to pass it off as "the king's baby" just to get home if she has to be pregnant. Have her mind tricking her own people at the end so they can all go home because that is the goal, right? The evil part would be that she has to knock out her own doppleganger and "replace" her. Liz and the gang find the doppleganger (who is alive but hurt) and realize that the real Tess is back and the plan to go home is a nefarious one. Michael doesn't leave for the same reasons he doesn't leave in the season 2 ending as it actually happened, which is how the door is opened. Tess is exposed. She's already in the "tube thing" and she goes home and everyone else stays. No one dies! End of season. Best thing about season 2 as is: Michael and Maria.
Had my season 2 fixes been in play a lot of the episodes would have played totally differently and there would have been so much more to work with. I could have been happy about Max and Liz. Liz would have had to own what happened with Future Max in season 2 and apologized to Max. He deserved an apology. And with the recast Alex I don't know how the chemistry would have worked out, but I think Kyle and Isobel would have made a good couple ultimately and Alex and doppleganger Tess would have been sweet and really different as a couple than everyone else on the canvas. It would have been really awesome for those awkward scenes to start to come together. I can see Alex being the one who would be most sympathetic to someone trying to fit into someone else's shoes and the fit being uncomfortable. It's in his nature to try and make it easier. And she is a girl who hadn't experienced anything sweet in her whole life. She'd lived in a sewer in New York. As a writer, can you imagine the dearth of material that they could have worked with there? They left it all on the floor, sent her packing, and killed off Alex instead. Stupid stupid stupid. I can just picture Michael's reactions to all of this if it's happening in his apartment (while she is still in hiding). On the outside he'd be all jaded. But on the inside, he's a big softie. I think that Kyle and Isobel would be a slower build. I think it would be one of those things that the audience sees coming before the characters do. It would actually take them by surprise.
Season 3 ~ With all of my changes in Season 2, I totally wiped their season 3. And that is a good thing because Season 3 sucked. Even Michael and Maria sucked wind and I didn't think that was possible. They brought on a newbie lawyer as a love interest for Isobel and they were married inside of a few episodes. Can we say contrived? Max spent most of the season worrying about his baby on another planet When it finally got to earth at the end of the season he kept it for all of one week before giving it up for adoption. (Boo Max) Liz spent the entire season still pissed about Max sleeping with Tess and ignoring her own role as the catalyst. It was awful.
So, with my changes the writers can actually do what they do best: write. Create. There is no Max's baby. There is no Tess. It is time to tell Max and Isobel's adoptive parents about their kids. This is the season where they get to do some of that fighting that Max was alluding to that required all four of them. The parents need to know. Let Max and Isobel be pleasantly surprised by their parents' unconditional love. Put the badge back on the sheriff and kick that romance into high gear between him and Maria's mother. The kids need his help. Kyle and Isobel get closer this season. Michael let Maria see his heart at the end of Season 2. Season 3 is not the time for backpedalling. Season 3 is the time for cohesiveness. Max thought they could only win if it was the four of them. He is about to learn it is not just superpowers that make you stronger. You're stronger together. Liz and Max. Michael and Maria. Kyle and Isobel. Alex and Tess doppleganger. Does that mean you never fight? No. Never make a mistake? No. Take note: my favorite couple down the line has been Michael and Maria and they are always making mistakes. They just know when to say sorry and I was wrong, too. If the show can stay true to the characters, it won't go wrong. When it starts writing contrived material to make something happen, it is going down.
Things with Michael and Maria should never have degenerated to a break-up in Season 3. I would insert video here, but YouTube has eliminated almost all "real" footage from this show. Trust me when I say that the images and dialogue come fast and furious. The part where Maria breaks up with Michael is season 3 crap that totally pissed me off. It made Michael angry too (and rightly so). He stayed here (on earth) for her ~ just for her. And pretty much right after that she leaves him because Alex died (not his fault) and she quit writing and singing music (not his fault). He loves her and wants her to do whatever makes her happy. It is the one and only time that Maria acts totally out of character. In the past, she sees through all of Michael's masks to the guy underneath and gets him. This is more contrived storytelling. Bad bad bad. They had to wreck the only working plotline going on the show. However, Michael does being in pain really, really well. Gotta give him that.