TV Review: ‘Star-Crossed’

Star-Crossed

CW's space-age romantic 'Romeo & Juliet' knockoff looks for a happier ending

The aliens in “Star-Crossed” haven’t technically arrived yet — we’re told in voiceover they landed on May 16, 2014 — so perhaps it’s not too late to correct the situation, “Terminator”-style. Barring that, the CW will visit viewers with another drearily familiar romance, a mashup of “Roswell,” “Romeo & Juliet” and “District 9,” informed by the premise that if girls like the bad boys, they’ll really like the vampiric, furry or extraterrestrial ones. Every generation probably deserves its own version of these stories, but “Star-Crossed” appears determined to test the glow thrown off by its undeniably attractive, if not necessarily DNA-compatible leads.

Those would be Roman (Matt Lanter, a “90210” alum who bears a rather striking resemblance to Channing Tatum), an alien teenager who, as a child, meets a human girl, Emery (Aimee Teegarden). In a rather “Grease”-like bit of casting, Lanter is actually 30, while Teegarden — although still in her mid-20s — can’t seem to get out of high school, given the time she spent there on “Friday Night Lights.”

Since their arrival a decade earlier (and yes, just like “District 9,” the crashed ship is still a fixture in the skyline), the alien visitors — known as Atrians, but conveniently, and economically, distinguished from humans by their distinctive tattoo-like markings only — have been held separately in what amount to internment camps. Now the government is going to begin mainstreaming them by introducing seven into the local high school, carrying with it vague echoes of the feds seeking to desegregate the South.

The spark between Roman and Emery causes reverberations between their worlds, mining the motif’s metaphorical aspects like a more tepid version of “True Blood.”

Indeed, the parallels to that HBO series and others are so numerous — including the show’s Monday companion “Beauty and the Beast,” which has reduced the usually hairy hero to a dreamboat with a scar — the astrological outlook for “Star-Crossed” hinges almost entirely on whether the chemistry between Lanter and Teegarden yields the desired swoons. Because through two episodes, anyway, the impediments thrown in the way of their relationship, while duly soapy, aren’t interesting enough to make any of the supporting players pop.

Given the durability as themes of both hopeless love and the fantasy of an otherworldly lover, it’s hard to blame CW for once again seeking to tap into them. Moreover, the netlet’s decision to premiere the show during the Winter Olympics provides some indication of the demographic sweet spot in which programmers assume their potential audience resides.

Of course, given that the title can be taken literally in this case, things might work out better — or at least last a tad longer — for Roman and Emery than those two earlier crazy kids from Verona. But if they don’t, it would be hard to label that a tragedy.

TV Review: 'Star-Crossed'

(Series; CW, Mon. Feb. 17, 8 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in New Orleans by Ole Prods., Isla de Babel and 360 Powwow in association with CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Meredith Averill, Adele Lim, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Richard Shepard, Bryan Furst, Sean Furst, Daniel Gutman, Gary Fleder; producer, Joseph Zolfo; director, Fleder; writer, Averill; camera, Robert Gantz; production designer, Ed Verreaux; editors, Scott J. Wallace, Sunny Hodge; music, Gabriel Mann; casting, Donna Rosenstein, Kendra Castleberry. 60 MIN.

Cast

Matt Lanter, Aimee Teegarden, Grey Damon, Natalie Hall, Malese Jow, Titus Makin Jr., Chelsea Gilligan, Greg Finley

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  1. Skyknight1987 says:

    I was disappointed from the get go. This is nothing more than a chick flick disguised as sci-fi. And very poorly at that. The so called aliens are human in all but name. The plot is predictable and cliched and totally overdone. The star trek series aired 20 years ago are lightyears ahead of this piece of crap in terms of quality and execution.

  2. cHRISSYBOY says:

    I tried, I really did. However ,as a true sci-fi fan I feel it is my duty to warn others away from this dire
    banal unimaginative implausible (even for sci-fi) tripe unless they are under the age of 14 years. Even then it might be hard to pay attention. Re runs of cartoons would better fill the screen time. Rarely have I seen a tv program budget blown on a fail so spectacular as this and so early.
    Episode 2 and there is already nowhere the story can go on a tv budget except classroom bickering.
    Pathetic. 2/10

  3. queenbrat says:

    I like the show and I hope people give it a chance. I wish the network was doing more to promote it.I disagree that I can’t like and watch other CW shows and this 1. HOD is failing because the writing sucked this season and for no other reason and that will not hold me back from watching whatever I choose.

  4. Hallie says:

    I don’t think that the CW thought there demicrafics don’t watch the CW or they would have not pulled all there other shows as for Star Crossed I don’t give it much time there are so many things against it. The first it had to be so good that the audience would want to watch it as well most of the CW fans already have fav shows on the network that they knew if they tune in it could be the end of one of their favorites which is why BATB, Heart of Dixie, TTP and The Carrie Diaries fans aren’t watching the show there is also the fact there was little to no advertising for a show that is priemering which speaks volumes. We will see come monday when the olympics are gone if the .04 will raise but if it doesn’t i don’t see them back next season.

  5. Midge benjamin says:

    About the show star crossed on cw…loved the show.EXCEPT really disappointed that cw changed the pledge of alliegance and left out UNDER GOD. Why would cw do that? It is not their right to change such an important part of the history of the United States. I am very offended. Just because of that I am not sure I can watch the show. Why?why?why? Do not understand!!

    • Rob says:

      Only a Jebus freak would turn a sci-fi show into a “their attacking Christianity” argument.

      • cHRISSYBOY says:

        Hear hear Rob. The show was ‘UTTER UTTER crud, yet they complained about a snub to Jesus?
        Even though its alien sci fi? ;#}

    • Alonzo says:

      “UNDER GOD” wasn’t added to the pledge of alliegance until the 1950’s. That addition itself was an unjustified change to such an important part of the history of the United States. If you care about history you would be very glad that the CW reverted the pledge back to its original state.

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