It might be the middle of February, and you might be huddled under a mountain of blankets trying to keep warm, but that doesn't mean there aren't still new shows to be debuted and mocked and praised! The midseason premieres are still premierin', and The CW's newest drama Star-Crossed is the latest series to come under the critical eye of our trusty regular feature, Hey TV.com, Is This Show Any Good? So take five minutes out of your day to determine whether you need to clear space on your DVR for Star-Crossed, or if you can go back to watching the Olympics/hibernating until spring.
Star-Crossed, so this is a show about star-crossed lovers?
Yes, there is indeed a pair of literally star-crossed lovers at the forefront of Star-Crossed, but the title is also a reference to the series' science-fiction/alien premise. Set in the near future—the year 2024, to be exact—Star-Crossed follows the lives of Emery, a 16-year-old human girl with an immune deficiency, and Roman, a 16-year-old alien boy from the planet Atria. Also, the two of them probably, totally, eventually fall in love. Star-Cross's not-all-that-complicated backstory goes something like this: In May 2014, a spaceship full of Atrian refugees crash-landed near Baton Rouge, and instead of welcoming their unexpected visitors with open arms, the Earthlings rounded them up and forced them into a good ol' fashioned ghetto to live out their lives as loathsome creatures who were meant to be feared. But amidst all the chaos, a young alien boy (Roman) escaped from the crash and took refuge in a nearby barn. That's when he was befriended by six-year-old Emery, who fed him cold spaghetti until he was eventually tracked down and seemingly killed before her eyes. When the show picks up ten years later, seven Atrian teens are being integrated into the human school system, and Roman and his sister are among them. Emery locks eyes with Roman on that first day of school, and it's 100 percent love at second sight.
Who stars in Star-Crossed, and who created it?
Star-Crossed was created by Meredith Averill, a former producer on The Good Wife, and stars Friday Night Lights' Aimee Teegarden as Emery, Matt Lanter as Atrian hunk Roman, and Grey Damon (and his best Boyd Crowder hair impersonation) as the accepting human Grayson. The series has also dipped into the The CW's pool of actors who've been killed off The Vampire Diaries: Malese Jow plays Julia, Emery's best friend, and Susan Walters plays Roman's mother Maia. (Walters previously played Tyler Lockwood's mother on TVD, and she sometimes pops up as Lydia Martin's mother on Teen Wolf. I don't want to say she's being typecast, but she's being typecast.) Brina Palencia, Titus Makin Jr., Natalie Hall, Chelsea Gilligan, Greg Finley, Jay Huguley, and Andrea Frankle round out the cast.
When does Star-Crossed touch down on our TV sets?
Star-Crossed premieres Monday, February 17 at 8pm. It's moving into the time period formerly reserved for Hart of Dixie, which is moving to Fridays beginning on March 21. Once the Olympics are over, Star-Crossed will be up against The Voice on NBC, How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls on CBS, Almost Human on Fox, and The Bachelor on ABC.
Who might enjoy Star-Crossed?
Fans of teenage drama and angst will probably enjoy the teeming mounds of teenage drama and angst that litter Star-Crossed's landscape. The series has an obvious "lovers from two different sides of the tracks" feel, so if that's your thing, you might enjoy it. For comparison's sake, Star-Crossed somewhat resembles The WB's Roswell, though its storylines aren't nearly as good or exciting as Roswell's.
What shines bright about Star-Crossed?
The obvious allegory (to anyone who's taken a class in U.S. civil rights) to the Little Rock Nine (the nine African-American students who were enrolled at Little Rock Central High School in 1957 in an effort to end segregation) is a compelling idea, and one I applaud The CW for tackling. Race relations isn't a topic we see on TV all that often given how far removed people think we are from the Civil Rights Movement, and because it's not a particular time in history that many Americans proudly look back on. Star-Crossed has the potential to raise some important questions... as long as it doesn't put all of its effort into the central love story.
What feels more like a black hole?
Star-Crossed doesn't go far enough in its exploration of what makes Atrians and humans different; as of the first couple episodes, it appears that the only thing separating the two races are the Atrians' facial tattoos. The series also doesn't make any attempt to tackle the real oppression that's happening to the Atrian race, instead choosing to focus on good-looking men fighting each other because they're hormonal teenagers. Now that The CW has vampires, witches, werewolves, and Tomorrow People, a true science-fiction series about a race of aliens could be a nice addition to the roster, but Star-Crossed seems to care more about its love story than it does about building an interesting narrative about the integration of two races.
What's more, Star-Crossed's central premise of two lovers who can't be together because they're from different worlds is not only tired and boring, but too weak to sustain an entire series. Setting the show in the future and making one of the lovers a literal alien doesn't make the story any more exciting than the hundreds of other stories that've revolved around similarly fated couples.
Finally, the show's characters have zero personality; I have little to no interest in any of the characters or their lives, and that's not how viewers should feel after a pilot.
So, should I watch it?
I'd say no—you can probably pass on Star-Crossed and not feel bad about it.
Can I take a look at a trailer anyway?
Of course. Here you go!
Star-Crossed premieres Monday, February 17 at 8pm on The CW.