For the past week, I’ve been binging on episodes of Roswell from Amazon Prime. The way I see it, storytelling is storytelling, and, even if it’s a story about alien teenagers in a small town in New Mexico, if it’s told well, I’m going to be entertained. Plus, I’m a firm believer in the concepts of reading-is-learning and inspiration-is-everywhere. You can learn from just about anything as long as you’re paying attention, and sometimes watching someone else’s story can show you how you can improve your own.
The premise of Roswell is that three alien teenagers have been secretly living in Roswell, New Mexico, but when a random shooting threatens the life of a regular small town girl, one alien risks exposure to save her life. From there, the trio of alien teens become romantically involved with a trio regular teens, which, these days, would be enough drama for a full season.
But wait! There’s more!
G-men are aware that strange things are afoot in Roswell, so on top of raging hormones, jealous boyfriends, and questions like does-he-like-me-like-me? are the additional issues of federal agents, suppressed memories from the day the UFO crashed, and one particularly inquisitive sheriff who’s just trying to do his job.
Watching the series unfold, you quickly get the sense that there’s a story arc that goes beyond each episode. And, as episode after episode plays, you understand that it isn’t the story of the injured small town girl and the alien who saves her who make the show binge-worthy, it’s everything else. Like the fact that the ex-boyfriend’s dad is the town sheriff, or that two of the aliens have been adopted by a nice family but the third lives in a rundown shack with a dad who doesn’t care about him. The show is littered with little dramas that ratchet up the tension, and a couple of episodes in, let you realize that the writers aren’t going to give these characters a break any time soon.
Roswell is my current guilty pleasure, but it’s also a device to help me understand plot mechanics. What guilty pleasures to do you turn to for inspiration?
PS: Suede To Rest in 139 days!