How 'Roswell, New Mexico' Adapted The Original Show For A New Generation

Ursula Coyote/The CW

Roswell, New Mexico may technically be a reboot, but as you start watching the new CW show, you'll quickly realize that Roswell, New Mexico doesn't connect to the original series. It's more like a new adaptation of the same material than a direct recreation. Both projects are based on the Roswell High books by Melinda Metz, but each is a different interpretation.

"I'm really curious to see how people see the things that they love sort of reinterpreted," executive producer Chris Hollier told reporters at New York Comic Con in October. "I think that that's a great sort of crossroads for old fans and new fans. I think that Carina's done a phenomenal job of updating it and bringing it into the modern world. It's elevating everything from the romance to the social issues. [It's] a more adult show."

Not only is the series more adult in tone, but it begins when the characters are older — Roswell followed Liz and Max in high school, while Roswell, New Mexico takes place years after they've graduated. However, don't assume that the events of the first series already happened. It's not a sequel; this is a new story with old characters.

Ursula Coyote/The CW

In fact, Roswell, New Mexico actually reinstates some of the book details that the original Roswell changed. For example, Liz Ortecho was originally Mexican-American, but the early 2000s series whitewashed the character by casting Shiri Appleby and renaming her Liz Parker. In the CW's version, Liz is played by Jeanine Mason, and the character's identity as a first-generation immigrant is a key part of her story. Other characters, as showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie noted at NYCC, were also changed to reflect the real diversity in New Mexico. "I'm really excited to see what [Metz] and her partner, her editor, think about this. I'm excited and nervous because it is very different," she said.

She went on to say that she deliberately re-watched the pilot (after devouring the original series as a kid and again in college) to make sure that she "wasn't stepping on too many things" or inadvertently copying the first adaptation. She also reread the first book to get a better sense of the characters and how they click.

Despite all the differences, the stars of the original series have been incredibly supportive, according to the new cast and crew. Appleby even directed an episode that will air later in the season. "It's been really nice to have the support of a lot of people that were involved with [the original]," MacKenzie continued, "because I was a big fan and it's not about replacing anything or about bettering anything. It's about, you know, an adaptation and change. I'm really excited about it."

So while there are a couple Easter Eggs that will make Roswell fans grin, this is a new show. All your favorite characters may be back, but they're experiencing this epic, romantic journey for the first time.

See it all unfold when Roswell, New Mexico premieres Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. ET.