Season Two

Starring: Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl and Majandra Delfino
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: 39.99
Certificate: 12
Available 09 August 2004

The drama of alien life continues for the teenage inhabitants of Roswell, New Mexico as Max, Isobel, Michael and Tess discover more about their past and destiny...

The second season of Roswell builds well on what has gone before. However, it feels as though the producers were not entirely sure on which angle to follow for the show's second year. The main characters have progressed to the point where the teen angst story lines from the first season have started to be phased out. And while there are a few episodes at the start of this season which continue to follow the Liz/Max, Maria/Michael and Alex/Isobel relationships, these are soon dropped to follow different threads (although they continue to play as background stories).

But, it's not until the final quarter of this series that things really start to get interesting. There is a great story arc, which revolves around the death of a regular character, which brings a whole new meaning to the term 'alien conspiracy'.

This season sees the introduction of Brody Davies as the new English curator of the UFO museum, who claims to have been abducted by aliens. This plot device also throws up an interesting angle on alien abductions, and why humans are taken.

This season also sees the almost obligatory (to sci fi shows at any rate) time travel story (The End of the World), when future Max comes back to warn Liz that she shouldn't date him or the world will be in danger. This actually works extremely well - mainly due to the fact that Jason Behr puts in an incredibly good performance. There are a number of homages to classic time travel movies including Back to the Future - as events start to be changed future Max's hand starts to vanish.

Another sci fi cliché is tackled in Meet the Dupes - an alternate universe story where the alternate evil Max and Michael have goatee beards - which seems to be a sci fi law. Again, as with The End of the World, this episode just would not have worked if it wasn't for the fact that all of the actors manage to put in great performances.

Other stand out episodes include the Summer of '47. This is a great Michael episode, where he has to listen to an old army guys story about World War II. Charles Napier is great as the ex-army officer Hal Carver. This episode is almost entirely told in flashback and uses all of the regular cast members to play other characters from 1947.

Even the sickly sentimental A Roswell Christmas Carol works its charm - even if the whole premise falls apart on closer inspection. Max is haunted by a man who was killed trying to save his daughter from being run over. The spirit of the dead guy follows Max around because he could have brought him back to life. But, my argument is that the guy should have kept his eye on his daughter in the first place so that she didn't run out in the street. It's not Max's fault that an irresponsible father got knocked over.

Also, about halfway through this season, you can tell that the producers are worried about loosing their audience as they do away with Liz's diary recaps and the "Previously on Roswell" style explanations on what has happened in earlier episodes, and instead stick Maria in front of a blackboard (well, a greenboard to be precise) to give us a goofy recap on events.

Despite some episodes and ideas that should have fallen flat on their face this season, there is nothing here that doesn't really work.

Extras include Here With Me: The Making of Roswell 2; A Little Something Extra For The Fans (basically a collection of clips set to music); The Art of Composing Roswell; The Shiri and Majenta Show (candid interview with the actresses that play Liz and Maria); and a storyboard featurette.

Season two is works its magic and leaves us with a nail biting cliff hanger.

Nick Smithson

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