TV Review: ‘Star-Crossed’

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


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

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.)


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


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.


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

More TV


    CBS News Names Maria Elena Salinas Contributor

    Maria Elena Salinas, one of the best-known anchors in Spanish-language broadcasting, will join CBS News as a contributor, Susan Zirinsky, the unit’s president, told staffers Monday. Salinas has been without a formal role since stepping down from her role at Univision at the end of 2017 after an on-air tenure of more than three decades. [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Markella Kavenagh

    'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Taps First Cast Member (EXCLUSIVE)

    The upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series at Amazon has made its first casting decision. Variety has learned from multiple sources that Markella Kavenagh is in talks for a role in the upcoming epic fantasy series. Details of Kavenagh’s characters are being kept under wraps, but sources say she would be playing a character named [...]

  • Mahershala AliMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the most buzz for eight of the top 10 movies or [...]

  • The Hills New Beginnings MTV

    'The Hills: New Beginnings' Renewed for Season 2 at MTV

    MTV is making another run for “The Hills.” The network has renewed “The Hills: New Beginnings” for a second season. The series follows a group of friends who live in Los Angeles as they write their newest chapters in relationships, romance and success. “The Hills: New Beginnings” is a reboot of the reality show “The [...]

  • Headshot of Lance Frank by Michele

    Lance Frank Named VP Communications at CBS News

    Lance Frank, who has been with CBS News since 2011, has been named a vice president of communications at the CBS Corp. unit, and will oversee communications efforts for both “CBS Evening News” as well as the division’s operations in Washington, D.C., which include “Face The Nation.” He reports to Christa Robinson, senior vice president [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content