What is it? ”Star-Crossed”
Star appeal: Aimee Teegarden (“Friday Night Lights”), Jonathan Schaech (“That Thing You Do,” “Road House 2: Last Call” and Colorado Springs native Jesse Luken (“Justified,” “42”)
When does it air? The pilot episode airs Monday February 17 at 7 p.m. on The CW
What’s the premise? When Emery (Teegarden) was six years old, an alien spacecraft crash landed in her small town and she met Roman (Matt Lanter), a 6-year old Atrian boy, who sought refuge with her before being taken away by the authorities. Ten years later, the two are reunited as the first group of Atrian teens to enroll in high school in a widely scrutinized social experiment to see if humans and Atrians can live in peace.
What are the highlights? The CW is a network known for targeting a younger demographic and “Star-Crossed” is no exception. There are plenty of young, attractive people in lead roles but don’t be fooled, this is not cotton candy programming. “Star-Crossed” is loaded with interesting characters and clever plot lines. There’s the love triangle between Emery, her new Atrian friend and a human boy at school that’s a lot more complicated than it appears. There are some attractive looking aliens with special abilities we only get a small glimpse of. Viewers are shown a high amount of political chicanery from both humans and Atrians that gives their tenuous relationship depth. And there are political overtones that touch on hot button issues like immigration reform and the Civil Rights Movement all looked at through the soft lens of a young adult TV show.
Of course, it’s also nice to have a local on the series. Colorado Springs native Jesse Luken was prominently featured in the two episodes I viewed. He plays Eric, an Atrian hating troublemaker. Throw in some light CW humor and a little bit of an “Alien Nation” vibe and you have an interesting start to a new drama.
What are the lowlights? Aside from the name “Star-Crossed” (I’m serious about that. I’m a firm believer that half of anything’s success is in the name. Would we all love Peyton Manning if he were named Mike Sheboygan) my biggest issue with the show is taking the hatred between humans and Atrians seriously. Unlike “Alien Nation,” Atrians look exactly like humans, but with face tattoos and better haircuts. If people like that really did land on Earth, they’d be on the cover of US Weekly and starring in movies after 10 years, not fighting for equality.
The Grade: (B+): I’m not really the demographic the CW is targeting but that doesn’t really matter, I really like their programming. TV series that are interesting, smart and fun to watch has become the CW’s calling card and “Star-Crossed” certainly fits that description.