Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 06, 1999 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
356 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Liz Parker learns Max Evans' out-of-this-world secret when he saves her life, and he must now rely on her to safeguard his secret as an orphaned extraterrestrial.

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  • The Alien Diaries

    I glossed over Roswell on its original run, but watching this pilot now is like watching any number of CW pilots: Vampire Diaires, The Secret Circle etc., it's the same kind of wish-washy formula. Apart from a shocking opening, this is an extremely slow-moving pilot, with no problems sitting on a fairly nifty premise rather than giving these characters any stand-out moments (or, ya know, personalities). But, hey, this is just the pilot so let me get over myself for a second. There are loads of notciable faces here, and I've seen half of them in semi-decent stuff, so we know the acting is solid, at least. Well, actually, right now it's a bit iffy, but sssh, pilot remember? There are hints at the bigger picture, but they're specs of dust amongst all of the angst, and ultimately there's nothing really here to push you into watching the next episode.moreless
  • I had high hopes for this show.

    I had high hopes for this show. Seeing as my favorite series, The Vampire Diaries, is on its winter hiatus, I needed something to fill the eight-week void I will have until it returns in late January. I read the synopsis for Roswell and thought it sounded promising. However, I was disappointed in the pilot. The story was interesting. However, it felt extremely rushed to me. Right away, Liz found out that Max was an alien. I mean, this is a huge thing. And she found out right a-freakin-way. It would have been much better if she had found out a couple episodes into the series, once we had had some character development. When it comes to character development, there's pretty much nothing. I don't anything about any of the characters. Does Liz even have parents? From the pilot, it looks like she's a 16 year old who lives by herself, which I'm pretty sure isn't the case.

    Another thing... It wasn't realistic. At all. Now, don't get me wrong. I understand that it could never be realistic-realistic because it's sci-fi/fantasy. However, that doesn't mean that it can't be believable (like The Vampire Diaries). Liz didn't seem too shocked that Max was an alien. She was like, "Oh, wow. Okay. All right." She pulled a Bella Swan. Alien style. Not okay.

    And then there's this... Max was all, "I told you because you're you." And she's all, "Oh, Max..." But that right there is terrible story telling! We know nothing about their background. Seriously. Come on, writers! They just expect us to buy this tidbit that doesn't even make sense. Why does Max feel this way about Liz? Have they ever even had a conversation before? Did she have feelings about him prior to post-shooting? What the heck is going on with this show?

    Oh, and the sheriff. This upset me tons. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love a good villain. A villain that you just love to hate, you know? But this villain was possibly the weakest I've ever seen. He wasn't scary. He was stupid. Dumb. Crazy. Totally nuts. And, of course, we know nothing about him or his son who is apparently also Liz's on again-off again because the writers are feeling the love on the details which we, as an audience, need if we're going to completely enjoy the show.

    There was one thing I liked, though. The chemistry between Max and Liz. It was undeniable and utterly romantic. Hokey, yes. Cheesy, you betcha. But cute nonetheless.moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Irresistible cast and eclectic characters, timeless love story but cheap sci-fi

    I'm hopeless. With Shiri Appleby in Life Unexpected and Colin Hanks in The Good Guys I couldn't resist watching Roswell's pilot again. The last time was probably in 2003 ! I thought the tides of time would have blurred my memories but Liz Parker and her friends never left my side. Indeed now that I'm a bit more experienced the connection she has with Max Evans took an other dimension. There's still something cheesy about it but I think exchanging souvenirs just by touching someone is a beautiful ability. Of course in real life it would be a lazy way to know someone but on screen it allowed their relationship to instantly blossom and touch our heart at its core. The way he saw her in his eyes, his first look at her when they were children… All these moments remain some of the best I've ever seen on TV. Time can't make them obsolete or less memorable because Liz & Max love story is timeless. There's also something quite romantic about it as they didn't even kiss. These days it's sex at first sight but I prefer when the characters take it slow, like in Smallville with Lois & Clark for example.

    As for the rest Roswell is full of good surprises. First it's funny to see Katherine Heigl as Isabel Evans because nowadays she's one of the most glamour woman on Earth. There's something almost pagan about her poetic beauty. Her maturity also contrasted with the cast, specially the fragile and pretty Appleby. Second William Sadler is quite convincing as Sheriff Jim Valenti. In fact now I realize that William Fichtner reminded me of him as Tom Underlay in Invasion. I let you pair the other performers and characters even if such a game is a bit disrespectful… Third Jason Behr is both irresistible and weird. I mean there's something strange about his facial attributes, specially his ears, and he definitely plays in the same league as Donnie Darko's protagonist. Fourth Hanks character, Alex, is interesting because his awkwardness should help most teenagers to relate to him, like for Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer even if Nicholas Brendon looked less geeky than Hanks. But of course a few issues tainted such an ideal portrait. For example the story itself is not really original and some sci-fi elements like their special abilities are a bit cheap. However I think the writers found the right balance between fantastic romance and inside conspiracy. Indeed for once it's the aliens adventure we follow and not the good guys who try to catch them.moreless
  • Teenage Aliens make for interesting show.

    Great pilot episode. I really like how it starts. The line Liz starts is "Things changed when I died." Its neat how it just integrates high school life and the natural growing pains a teenager has with aliens. I like how it we don't know much more than the characters do. I like how they are blending in with others and interacting with them. I like that the authorities are the bad guys. If it wasn't for the aliens part, it would be the police against teenagers. The show softer side with Max and Liz is sure to unfold in coming episodes. I love sci fi shows and this episode is a great start.moreless
  • No matter how many times I watch the pilot episode I am always drawn in.

    No matter how many times I watch the pilot episode I am always drawn in. Roswell was one of the best series the WB offered. The entire first season was great and done well. Too bad the WB execs got too involved and started changing the show. Their choices were not good. Roswell still has a loyal fan base today and where is the WB? I guess they should have stayed focused on their business and not became soo involved in Roswell (and probably other shows). Maybe one day these so called execs will start listening to the viewers.moreless
Wendle Josepher

Wendle Josepher


Guest Star

Kevin Weisman

Kevin Weisman

Larry Trillin

Guest Star

Vance Valencia

Vance Valencia

Mayor Sandler

Guest Star

John Doe

John Doe

Jeff Parker

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (16)

    • We learn that the aliens are able to change molecular structure of basically anything. If so, why would Max not "fix" the bullet hole on Liz' dress, thus removing proof that she was actually shot?

    • When Max healed Liz at the beginning of the episode he had his right hand under her neck and used his left hand to heal her. His thumb was pointed upwards toward her head. Later when Liz showed Max the hand print on her stomach it was a right-handed print with the thumb pointing downward. The hand print was also wrong when Kyle accidentally saw it when he took Liz home.

    • TRIVIA: Featured music in this episode -
      -Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry
      -Fear by Sarah McLachlan
      -I Think I'm Paranoid by Garbage
      -Boys On The Radio by Hole
      -Hey Man, Nice Shot by Filter
      -Shake It by The Hippos -Hallucination Generation by Hexx
      -Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band
      -Pick A Part That's New by Stereophonics
      -Take A Picture by Filter
      -Novacane by Beck
      -Torn by Creed
      -Colorblind by Counting Crows
      -All I Really Want by Goldo

    • TRIVIA: The powers used in this episode:
      -Max heals Liz's bullet wound, thus saving her life. He is considerably drained by the act to the verge of near collapse, but is able to run out of the Crashdown with vigor.
      -Max's cells are very much alive when Liz views them under the microscope, as opposed to hers. This may suggest regenerative powers.
      -Isabel heats up a taco with the palm of her hand.
      -On the trip back from eating, Isabel is playing a CD by having it close to her ear.
      -Max induces a vision for Liz to see into his past.
      -Max changed the molecular structure of a clay sculpture to appear blank before changing it back.

    • TRIVIA: The part where Max raises his finger to tell Liz where he's from originated from the TV series The X-Files. David Nutter worked on the show and in the episode "Little Green Men". Mike Gomez did a similar thing.

    • When Max's hand is first seen on her belly before healing Liz, there is blood in his nail. Yet later his hand is shown in many shots, and the blood has disappeared.

    • At the start of the episode, Liz says that it's September 23rd and five days ago she died. Then, at the end, she says that it's September 24th and five days ago she died, but wouldn't it be six days by then?

    • TRIVIA: This is the only episode of Roswell that didn't include opening credits.

    • TRIVIA: Max is the first character on the show to use his powers, when he healed Liz.

    • Liz's initial quote - which is a fantastic opening to anything - 'five days ago I died, then things got really weird' is actually completely inaccurate. Max didn't bring her back to life; he was able to save her from a potential death - he's telling her all the time that she has to look at him, which she patently couldn't do if she were already dead.

    • Just after Max has 'cured' Liz at the restaurant, we see what was a rapidly growing blood pool on her stomach reduced to an almost dried up smear. Yet in the shot that immediately follows there is significantly more blood on her than there was after the cure.

    • In this episode Max heals Liz at the diner and she has blood/ketchup on her bra but later when she looks at her stomach in the mirror, there is not a blood/ketchup spot on her bra.

    • The order pad that Maria shows Liz in the bathroom has her blood on it. But according to Maria the shooting occured the day before, so the blood would have had time to dry and change colors (from red to a reddish-brown), but it doesn't. It appears red and sticky, almost as if it were fresh.

    • Kyle has an earring on both ears, but in the next episode they're never seen again.

    • Max tells Liz that the Evans found him and Isabel walking alone along the highway at night. Then wouldn't the Evans' have taken Max and Isabel to the hospital to see if they were healthy - including testing the kids' blood?

    • Max says that he healed Liz by "manipulating the molecular structure of things." But if that's true, why can't the other aliens heal people? All of them have the ability to manipulate the molecular structure of things.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Michael: So with this picture, what we're saying is there's more of us?
      Max: One more. At least there was in 1959.
      Michael: So then there's hope. I mean, if we can find him, he can tell us where we came from, what we are...
      Isabel: Michael, calm down. We had one potential relative 40 years ago. All we know about him is he was a potential killer.

    • Liz: Okay. All right. Here we go. Where did you come from?
      Max: I don't know. When the ship crashed I wasn't born yet.
      Liz: So there was a crash?
      Max: All I know is it wasn't a weather balloon that fell that night.
      Liz: The ship crashed in 1947... you're 16?
      Max: We were in some kind of incubation pods.
      Liz: We?
      Max: Isabel and Michael are also...uh...
      Liz: Okay, well, that, answers, um, that question. Um, what powers do you have?
      Max: We can connect with people, as uh, you know. We can manipulate molecular structures, and...we can....
      Liz: Wait, what does that mean?
      (Max goes to a clay sculpture on a nearby table and moves his hand in front of it, the shape changes)
      Max: That's, uh, that's how I healed you.
      Liz: Max, who else knows this?
      Max: No one.
      Liz: What about your parents?
      Max: We don't tell anyone. We sorta think our lives depend on it.
      Liz: So when you healed me you risked all of this getting out, didn't you?
      Max: Yeah.
      Liz: Why??
      Max: It was you.

    • Max: I can't imagine how you must feel right now. I mean, I've thought about telling you a thousand times.
      Liz: You have? Me?
      (Max looks at Liz and smiles)
      Liz: What?
      Max: Sorry. I just...I just keep picturing you in that dress with the cupcakes on it.
      Liz: What?
      Max: Forget it. It was a long time ago.
      Liz: Oh...Oh my god. (she laughs) That's right. I can't believe I actually wore that thing. I…I had that dress in kindergarten. I didn't know you until the third grade. Did you like read my mind or something?
      Max: I don't read minds. When I healed you, I made this...I don't know, connection...and I got this rush of images. An image of that dress flashed into my mind…and I knew how you felt about it.
      Liz: How did I feel about it?
      Max: It was the single supreme embarrassment of your life. But your Mom made it for you. She was so proud of it. She never made a dress before. So you wore it. For her sake. I've never tried this before…but maybe I could make the connection go the other you can see, you know, that I'm still me. I have to touch you. Now just take deep breaths and try and let your mind blank out.

    • Max: So you're dating the sheriff's son?
      Liz: Yeah, it's like this totally casual sort of…Max, can we just focus here for a minute, please? (she raises her shirt and shows Max the silver handprint on her stomach) I scraped some cells from your pencil. This is really weird to say. I'm trying really hard to keep from blacking out there. The cells weren't normal. So, Max, what I'm going to suggest to you…is that we just go back in to the bio lab now…so that I can see what I'm thinking is wrong. That I got the wrong cells.
      Max: You didn't.
      Liz: Okay, um. So help me out here, Max. I mean…what are you?
      Max: Well, I'm not from around here.
      Liz: Where are you from?
      (Max points upward)
      Liz: Up north?
      (Max raises his finger higher)
      Liz: You're not alien, I mean…Are you?
      Max: Well I prefer the term, "Not of this Earth." Sorry. Not a good time to joke. Yeah, I am. Wow, it's weird to actually say it.
      (Liz stares at him and then starts to leave)
      Liz: Um, I have to go. You know, I'm going to be late for my US Government class. So I'm just gonna-
      (She reaches the door but Max holds it close)
      Max: Liz, listen to me. You can't talk to anyone about this. Not your parents, not Maria, no one. You don't understand what'll happen if you do. Now my life is in your hands.

    • Liz: September 23rd. Journal entry one. I'm Liz Parker, and five days ago, I died. After that, things got really weird...

    • Liz: It's September 24th, I'm Liz Parker, and five days ago, I died. But then the really amazing thing happened. I came to life.

    • Liz: I could feel everything he was feeling. I could feel his loneliness. For the first time, I was really seeing Max Evans. I saw me as he saw me, and the amazing thing was, in his eyes, I was beautiful.

    • Max: Liz won't tell anyone, she's different.
      Michael: Really? So how's she react when you told her? 'Great, you're an alien, that's fantastic.'

    • Alex (takes in Isabel's costume): Uh... nice cones.

    • Maria: Ok, why are they here? No, don't tell me there's three?
      Liz: Well..
      Maria: I think I'm gonna be sick...

    • Liz: You have to promise me that you're not going to flip out.
      Maria: Flip out? Hey, it's me.
      (Maria runs screaming from CrashDown)

    • Liz: Max Evans has put a force on me. It's like my whole life changed in an instant. It's just so ironic that when something like this finally happened to me, it was with an alien.

    • Maria: The guy with the gun, was kinda like a muscular Beavis, you know, and then the other one was a like a beefy Butthead.
      Deputy: I'm gonna need a better description than that, I'm assuming that they weren't actually cartoons?

    • Liz: I'm going out with Kyle. I mean, he's steady and loyal, and he appreciates me.
      Maria: Sounds like you're describing a poodle.

    • Isabel: I can't believe this, Max. You know, I finally feel like I have a quasi-normal existence and you blow it all with one random act of lunacy. (to Michael) How did you let my misguided brother this?
      Michael: Hey, don't turn this around on me. I'm not the one who thinks he's a superhero.
      Max: Look, I said I was sorry.
      Isabel: You're sorry? You break a sacred pact and that's all you have to say? It's against the rules, Max. The rules we made.
      Max: You use your powers all the time.
      Isabel: (sighs) Recreationally.

  • NOTES (0)