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Twilight Vs. Roswell: Are aliens more romantic than vampires? - VIDEO

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 2nd 2008 10:02AM
twilight vs roswell
Even before I caught Twilight on the big screen, I was comparing it to Roswell, the great teen sci-fi/romance series that aired on The WB (and later The CW UPN) from 1999-2002. The Twilight ads and trailers seemed to tell the same story Roswell told more than nine years ago: A sensitive girl is saved by a supernatural hunk who makes it his mission to protect her at all costs. The two fall in love, but the relationship is complicated by his other-worldly circumstances.

It's not exactly the most original story in the world. This sort of thing goes back to Bram Stoker's Dracula, (and probably further back than that). Still, after watching Twilight, I was a bit shocked by its similarities to Roswell, especially since Roswell wasn't half as popular as Twilight. I haven't read the Twilight or Roswell book series, so I can't tell you if the similarities persist in print (but my friend Stephanie can). I can only compare the big screen and TV versions.

From major plot points to character motivations, these two franchises have a lot in common, but one clearly stands above the other. Let's compare, and you'll see what I mean:

The Set-Ups:
Roswell - In the pilot, we're introduced to Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), a bright Roswell teen who writes everything down in her diary. In the first scene, she's saved from certain death by Max Evans (Jason Behr), her quiet biology lab partner who just happens to be an alien. Max's secret and life are threatened when he publicly uses his powers to heal Liz from a gunshot wound.

Twilight - In the opening scene, we're introduced to Bella (Kristen Stewart) a lonely teen who just moved to the dreary town of Forks, Washington. Bella is soon saved by her quiet (wouldn't you know it) biology lab partner Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a vampire masquerading as a normal teen. Using his supernatural strength to save Bella from being hit by a car puts Edward's secret and his life in jeopardy.

The Romances:
Roswell - Max and Liz form an alien-powered bond when he heals her. They exchange emotions and memories instantly and fall deeply in love. Unfortunately, Max's alien roots and a revolving door of big bads get in the way of their happily ever after.

Twilight - Um, Edward likes the way Bella smells. That's about it. Her aroma is so intoxicating that he feels the need to gawk at her from a distance day and night. (Is this love or just animal magnetism?) Bella seems to dig that Edward isn't a nice, polite, normal teen who can go out in the daylight like all the other boys. Her sweet stank attracts a sociopathic vamp who tries to kill her and Edward, which briefly gets in the way of their romance.

The Diaries/Voiceovers:
Roswell - Liz Parker's voice is the first thing you hear in the Roswell pilot and in most of the following eps. Her diary entries narrate the bulk of the series and give each ep a warm, intimate feeling, partly thanks to Appleby's sincere voice.

Twilight - The movie opens with a voiceover from Bella, and the voiceovers continue throughout the film. They don't offer much in the way of warmth or intimacy. Instead, they feel mopey and stock, but that might have something to do with Stewart's unimpassioned line readings.

The Lead Characters/Actors:
Roswell - Appleby is endlessly appealing as the sharp, warm and capable Liz. She might be a sensitive teen, but she's rarely mopey, even when circumstances keep her apart from her first love. Jason Behr's subtle turn is perfect for Max, a character who's pulled from the sidelines to become a benevolent leader and protector.

Twilight - Bella is written as a bright girl who's experiencing the thrill of first love. Stewart plays her as an angsty, pretentious, and unlikeable emo kid. Pattinson fares better as the valiant Edward, but it's clear that he comes from the John Lovitz school of ACTING!

Other similarities:
Twilight and Roswell both feature supporting characters with supernatural gifts who feel threatened by the main characters' relationships. In Twilight, these characters come off as one-note, but Roswell's supporting characters were, of course, allowed to develop over three seasons. Also, both franchises portray Native Americans as somewhat mystical people. In Roswell, they have a spiritual link to the aliens. In Twilight, they're territorial onlookers who might be werewolves.

The Verdict:
So -- at the risk of having my likeness burned in effigy by a mob of angry teens -- I must admit that Roswell is the better franchise. Maybe it's an age thing (I haven't been a teen for ten years), but after re-watching the Roswell pilot, I found it to be warmer and smarter, better plotted and acted, and more compelling than the movie version of Twilight. It's also way more romantic. I think Twilighters should give it a shot (especially since you can stream it for free online). It's got all of Twilight's basic elements, but it's a lot less pretentious. Plus, there's more of it (three seasons worth)! Sure, Twilight might seem edgier and more glamorous, but all the hair product and Paramore tracks can't hide the fact that it's one of the most unromantic "romantic" movies out there.

Stream the Roswell pilot below and judge for yourself.

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Gotta love Roswell.. Twlight is nothing compared to it. And the similarities go so much further than that. I do believe it is noted somewhere that the author of Twilight liked the show Roswell and that her younger brother was an avid fan of the series. It's plain to see for anyone with even half a brain cell that she was inspired by the show.

I have never seen a Twilight film nor read the book but even I have noticed interesting similarities between the series. One big one I noticed was that Edward from Twilight looks a lot like Micheal from Roswell only more pastey and boring, they both have that moody look and hair that sticks straight up. And Bella Swan's name? Isabella Marie Swan. That is basically a combination of Isabel Evans and Maria DeLuca. I swear I can almost see how the author's mind "Ok, so like I'll call my main female ISABEL! wait thats too close to roswell... OK isabeLLA! YES thats different! Isabella MARIA! ..wait no.. Isabella MARIE! YEAH ! ISABELLA MARIE EVANS!... hmm Maybe I can MIX Evans to come up with a new name..lets see...Sevan? Svan! Isabella Marie SVAN! .. No that sounds dumb. OH SWAN! That's like putting TWO Vs together! ISABELLA MARIE SWAN IT IS! That's SOoOooOoOo TotAllly Unique!!!"

And both those "similarities" can go further to make more sense of an obvious Roswell link. Isabel = Micheal's past lover. Maria = Micheal's current lover. Bella =A mix of Isabel and Maria's name = Edward's lover. Edward = Micheal wannabe.

Shoot you can even go so far as to say Micheal's last name of "Guerin" could be manipulated into "Cullen". G looks like a C.. C of Cullen. Take "uerin" replace R with L, remove E and you have "Culin." That looks silly so look up a name that looks like "culin" and use that name.. "Cullen". It may be a stretch but it's an interesting one. :P And if the author actually took that road she has at least 2 brain cells more than I thought she did.

And that's pretty much the things I have noticed just as an outside observer of Twilight. I would be able to find more but that would require actually touching the Twilight franchise and I refuse to contaminate myself any further with it's rot drivel. But the entire series can be summed up in this: A Shitty Roswell Fanfic Series Re-write with a Mary Sue Original Character (Bella) that sucked but the author thought it was "like so totally cool" so she turned it into an "original story". Then a bunch of suits thought they could market it to the masses of vapid teenagers and their equally vapid adult counterparts as the next Harry Potter mania. And a pox upon the universe was released.

Poor Roswell.. what did you ever do to deserve to be so defiled like this?

August 28 2011 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was in LOVE with Roswell when it was on and I was so upset when it ended, even though Isabelle & Jesse in season 3 was a crap storyline. I never ever would have thought of comparing Roswell to Twilight, but after reading through your comparisons...i SO TOTALLY agree with you! OMG Roswell is a MILLION times better than Twilight. Seriously. I will take Shiri Applebee and Jason Behr over Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson ANY day of the week! The voice over thing is true too. I've read the Twilight books and I really don't like the way Kristen portrays Bella. And Robert Pattinson? Love him in Harry Potter and Remember Me, but his Edward is slightly annoying. Roswell had a better main cast, WAY better developed secondary characters, and just better acting all around. I find it sad actually when a tv show is done better than a movie. I heard that Kristen Stewart wasn't Stephanie Myers' first pick for Bella and I'm sad to say I agree. I still enjoy the movies but looking at them compared to Roswell (the tv series. Didn't know it was a book series), Roswell will always win.

July 25 2011 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 20 2011 at 4:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

im 14 an i hate twilight its just so boring and draggy. kristin stewart doesnt bring much 2 the role and maybe its besides the point but jason behr (max) is way hotter than edward or jacob. i stgarted watching roswell online after i learned about it from watching life unexpected and i fell in love w/ it. i didnt even realize how similar 2 twilight it was bcus it was so much better from the beginning. even the books r ten times better than the twilight books, those were a drag 2. the only one i liked was the last one. anyways, id like apoligize on behalf of my generation and say that roswell ROCKS!!

June 19 2011 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm a 55 year old man and discovered Roswell on the web on Hulu. I also watched the Movie Twilight and while the comparisons are there Roswell is better in every aspect my personal . I don't know why I didn't see or hear of the Roswell series until recently. I'm just glad I found it. Max and Liz's relationship on the little screen was magic for me. When I watched I was 17 again and I envied their relationship. But, I also fell in love with the others too! Michael and Maria with their reckless relationship kept me riveted. Isabel's warm caring for her family (alien and earthlings) was done very well as she struggled to have a life of her own. While Kyle, it seemed to me, came up on the short side of everything. This was the only TV show or movie to ever leave me with a sense of a loss when it ended. Like a failed relationship that I was committed to; I grieved and still do. I wish it would come back, maybe something like this:

Roswell, 10 Year Reunion.

An adventure motorcyclist (Aldridge Sawyer Doby (a 55 year young government retiree)) on a dream solo tour around the world to its most remote regions (only way there is by walking or motorcycle) discovers an artifact at an ancient site (site is undeveloped). On closer inspection, of the artifact, a map depicting coordinates to other remote places presents itself. The cyclist, not committed to any specific literary decides to visit the other remote sites (why not, he's an adventurer and it's on his way).

Meanwhile Max, Liz and the gang have been living their lives dispersed about the US, keeping a very low profile. However, they all occasionally long for home and visit the Roswell High alumni web page under flake names. They find the announcement of their 10 year reunion and dream of reconnecting to their earthly home knowing full well that they can't. We learn of how their relationships have matured and what they've been doing over the years.

Aldridge (the motorcyclist), getting to the next site, finds the site remarkably the same as the first one and finds another artifact attached to duplicate monolith, same as at the first site. The map on the new artifact (easier to read now because he's figured it out on the first one) confirms that the artifacts must be related Aldridge, reasons that this can't be coincidence and now is more determined than ever to get to the other sites. He will discover there is one for each of the 7 continents. He even bribes a ships captain to take him to Antarctica for a short ride so he can say he has ridden on all continents. Aldridge has kept the discovery of the artifacts to himself because it's not legal to take artifacts'.

In Roswell unusual events are beginning to take place. A small upheaval in the ground where Max, Michael, and Isabel were born and several ex territorial events have keep the sheriff busy (Kyle's dad gets his old job back as Sheriff). Additionally, Roswell is preparing for the 10 year anniversary. As this is taking place the storyline will show how the township explained the mysterious graduation class of 2002.

Homesickness draws them all to call one another and Max & Liz, Michael & Maria, and Isabel & Kyle decide to have a reunion of their own. They decide to meet outside of Roswell, but in the southwestern dessert to remind them of home. They choose Rachel, NV for its remoteness and because its another UFO town and decide to meet there. Besides, Rachel has a diner called The Little Alie Inn, similar to the Crashdown.

Aldridge, having collected 7 artifacts (7 continents) and on his way home from his great adventure decides to continue his adventure and heads toward home on the UFO highway RT 375 in Nevada. Getting hungry he stops at the The Little Alie Inn for a bite to eat. While he is there he decides to inspect his artifacts and has them laid on the table before him as he's eating. He's musing about the artifacts and regretting that his journey is soon to end (he's from Sacramento, CA). As he is readying to leave the diner when a group of 6 people determined to have a peaceful uneventful reunion enter The Little Alie Inn. Michael, drawn to the artifacts picks one up and...

Anyway they all have to go to Roswell to unravel the events caused by activating the artifacts.

Please make a movie for me!

January 26 2009 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yea Stephanie Meyer stole the idea of 2 people who dont belong falling in love.
Then the creators of Roswell and EVERY OTHER romance series stole it from William Shakesphere. Come on! Quit freaking out about the fact that stephanie meyer "stole" the plot and see that EVERYONE HAS

Twilight is the better franchise - by far for the fact that its not a spread out series on a crappy network. If it was a series - it would be crappy like Roswell is. Yes, it has its endearing parts - i was a devoted watcher in Middle School. But going through the annoying alien garbage... come on.

I even think the once stars of Roswell would agree with me. Let this pop culture phenomenon be while you digest why Roswel never hit that height. It shouldnt take you long to figure that one out after watching acouple episodes

January 26 2009 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Megan's comment

I disagree with your point. There are many more similarities between the two stories than just the star-crossed lovers element. Max and Edward have similar personalities. Both are secretive, moody, and keep their feelings bottled up. They both handle their relationships the same way. Edward and Max both try to push the woman they love away in an attempt to protect them. They both save the object of their affection at the beginning of each of their stories, risking exposure to not just them but their makeshift families. They both are supernatural creatures. Both are lab partners in class, leading to potential for discovery. There are many more specific points as well. That being said-- lots of fantasy writers rip off ( often inadvertently) other authors in the genre.

July 11 2011 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am amazed at the way the article leans to one side. Twilight is one part of the story. Roswell had time to develop. You can't say that the characters are one-note when they havent had nearly as much time to develop (and dont worry... they do!). In the book, Bella is completely sad on the inside, because she doesnt wish to move to Forks. She has a reason to be emo, and that is who she is. Kristin was acting the way Bella did. I honestly feel like you did plenty more research on Roswell than you did on Twilight...

January 14 2009 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that the article was VERY biased. From the first few lines you could see that the person who wrote it likes Roswell more than Twilight. Ok, so there are some similarities, but ist every teenage romance book/film going to be somewhat similar to Twilight/Roswell/any-other-teenage-romance ? I read Twilight and watched Roswell and Ok I have to admit there are similarities but people COME ON its not like Stephenie Meyer copied everything from Roswell so Piss off! And an advice for the author of the article: Next time be fair! Just because you like one thing and not the other you should show good and bad things about BOTH of them so people can make up their minds for themselves.
So again V E R Y B I A S E D !!!!

January 13 2009 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was addicted to the Roswell episodes and I watched them all again last year. I simply loved the chemistry Max and Liz had. Of course I was much younger when it aired and still hoped boys were really like that. Now I'm older and seem to be addicted to the Twilight saga. The chemistry between Edward and Bella is unreal. It's funny how it never occurred to me that these two had so many similarities. Thank you for pointing it out. I can tell you haven't read the books though. You are much more partial to Roswell and it's very noticeable lol. I can't blame you though. But I can tell you this. The book is so much better than the movie. I finished all 4 books in a week and now I'm reading Twilight all over again. Thanks for the article.

January 13 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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