Saturday, April 19, 2014

Star-Crossed and Freeze-Dried-To Netflix or Not to Netflix?

I intended to love the show Star-Crossed. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expected it to be cheesy. The fact is, I enjoy cheese, and the show had many of the elements I enjoy in my cheesy escapist CW viewing: cute aliens! romance! great soundtrack! Unfortunately, the show is also taking itself way too seriously.

So far the plot is suffering from what I like to call Season-3 disease, but the weird thing is, we’re only on episode 9. Season 3 disease is named after two of my favorite shows, Veronica Mars and Roswell. Both shows were awesome because of the characters in their first two seasons (though the latter started to go off the rails in season 2). But in their final seasons, both became very episodic and more like cookie-cutter versions of their respective genres, mystery and SF. Star-Crossed is already there: they’ve packed the first nine episodes full of science-fiction nonsense, including, but not limited to: an alien plant that cures cancer, a different version of the same alien plant (you just change the name of it by adding the word “black”—so clever!) that kills people, a spaceship crash, a human/alien hybrid baby, and a secret group of aliens who are passing as humans because they’ve had their tattoos removed (more on that last one later). Also, when they put one of these aliens in prison, they just keep them in a dry room. One thirty-something pretty alien woman came out looking like she was eighty, or maybe just an alien raisin. 

Roswell had essentially the same premise: the forbidden love between a human girl and an alien boy, but they lost focus when they tried to go big with the sci-fi, giving the alien race a name and a space ship powered by a diamond and all kinds of other crap, which didn’t gel with the romantic elements they’d already put in place. The Star-Crossed aliens already have a name, and it’s pretty moronic: they’re called Atrians, which sounds far too much like the entrance to a building for my taste. All the Atriums have a bunch of tattoos and they are really good swimmers, which made Earth a pretty perfect place to crash land, I guess. Since they look like perfectly hot human models without the tats, a bunch of rebel aliens got theirs removed, although the marks still show up when wet, which means their entire system of espionage can be foiled by a light drizzle.

I guess water is pretty important to this species. There was also a scene last week in which an alien was released from prison, where they had her all dried out.  They led out a seventy-year old alien, put her in a bathtub, and presto! She was like thirty-five and hot. Freeze-dried aliens. So that happened.

I also can’t possibly keep track of which are the good Vestibules and which are the bad ones, because some of them are they are using their bad plant to kill people, which is a real bummer, because, as previously mentioned, these alien boys are in fact super hot. The main character is named Roman, so his parents must have known he was going to crash-land on Earth and maybe they figured he could just pretend to be Italian. 

The actor who portrays him is also thirty-one, and playing a junior in high school, a proud Earth tradition going all the way back to Beverly Hills 90210.

According to the story, Roman is in love with the human girl who saved him when he was a kid, but it’s hard to get fully invested in the relationship, as the actress who’s playing her seems to have done some training at the Kristen Stewart School of Acting. He's not bad--it's just--he's clearly not seventeen. Maybe they keep going to high school into their thirties on his homeworld. 

Update: so this show actually got better in its final four or five episodes of the season--so of course the CW had to cancel it. I just re-watched them in order on Netflix, just as a background show to have one while I was working on the computer, etc. And you know what, there was an inescapable element of cheese. But I'm still kind of bummed it got cancelled, because they set up one heck of a cliffhanger. I'd say if you like aliens, teen drama (and if you're old enough to remember V-human/alien baby hybrids!) this one might be worth the binge.