The new series Star-Crossed is a Romeo and Juliet tale, if Romeo were an alien.
“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”
“TAKE ME TO YOUR LEEEEDER.”
Well, not quite. But Star-Crossed, which debuts Monday, Feb. 17 on CW, dabbles in Romeo and Juliet themes and combines them with elements of E.T., Superman and even another CW show, The Vampire Diaries.
Aimee Teegarden, who played Julie Taylor on Friday Night Lights, is lead character Emery in Star-Crossed. Emery's Romeo actually is named Roman, played by Matt Lanter.
Emery and Roman encounter each other as young children, on the day Roman and his kind – Atrians from the planet Atria – arrive via their crashed spaceship. The Atrians were fleeing their dying planet, but of course the humans perceive them as invaders. The Atrians are rounded up and placed in secure camps.
Now it's 10 years later and as a controversial first try at integration, seven alien teens are enrolled in a local high school. Emery and Roman are reunited. Fortunately for teen-love steaminess, the Atrians merely sport a few skin markings that differentiate them from humans, rather than having ears for eyes, or something like that.
As one would predict, loyalties in Star-Crossed are complex. The kind hearted Roman even laments at one point, “I wish we were the kind of aliens who carried ray guns.”
Emery is an “outsider” as well, having been held out of school for the past four years due to illness. Although she looks like a prom queen now, Teegarden insisted she can relate to both Emery's position and the aliens' feelings in Star-Crossed.
“I was super awkward, I was probably the most awkward teenager,” said Teegarden, 24. “I was so awkward I graduated when I was 15 just because I didn't want to deal with it any more. I just had, you know, my own things in life that I wanted to do, and I didn't wear the proper clothes, I didn't grow up in the right family, I didn't grow up in the best neighbourhood. But it was something that everyone goes through at some point.
“Emery and the Atrians enter high school for the first time and you see how differently people perceive them. Being the awkward kid, you're treated a certain way, getting called names and whatnot. But all that pressure is off (Emery) and it's all on the Atrians. That is a really interesting dynamic. But yeah, I think everyone can relate to feeling awkward and weird and alien.”
Weirdness and awkwardness aside, Emery still gets invited to a cool-kids party almost immediately. Side point: The teens on CW series sure have great parties, massive outdoor affairs on beautiful grounds with no bugs. There's one on The Vampire Diaries virtually every week. They sure didn't have those kinds of parties when I was a teen. But wait ... maybe they were occurring all the time, and I just wasn't invited?
So perhaps Aimee Teegarden is right, and we all feel like aliens sometimes, whether we're Romeos or Juliets. But let's hope Star-Crossed has a happier ending, notwithstanding the plague o' both their houses.