The Project: Star-Crossed, premiering midseason on The CW
The Panel: Creator Meredith Averill, showrunner Adele Lim, executive producer Josh Appelbaum… plus actors Aimee Teegarden (Emery), Matt Lanter (Roman), and Grey Damon (Grayson).
Footage screened: The whole pilot, which is actually all they’ve shot so far.
Snap judgement: Some of the dialogue is super cheesy, but it’s overall good-looking and appropriately absurd for a CW drama. Lanter’s character Roman is an Atrian — this show’s term for alien — who’s been integrated into the local high school along with fellow crash-landers from another planet. We see in flashbacks that 10 years ago, young Emery found Roman after his spaceship crashed near her house and kept him in a shed, feeding him bowl upon bowl of cold spaghetti until the cops showed up. Emery had always assumed he died… but suddenly there he was, her Romeo, gazing up at his modern-day Juliet on the balcony of Marshall High in a dramatic us-vs.-them scene. Clearly the pair has chemistry, and now that it’s 2024, they also have these crazy newfangled electronic lockers that can open with just a special tap. “Thanks for the finger tap,” Emery whispers to Roman.
The Big Revelations: We get a glimpse of “the sector,” basically a concentration camp on the far side of town — the spaceship that crashed 10 years ago is STILL sticking out of the ground! — where Roman and the rest of the Atrians live. They all have weird but not too oppressive face tattoos (so hot right now), and at one point, Roman lifts up his grey t-shirt to reveal a terrible torso scar. A lot remains to be answered — What are the Atrians hiding? Why did they come to Earth in the first place? Would I maybe look good with a face tattoo? — throughout season 1.
Appelbaum promised the show would move fast — episodes 2, 3, 4 have a “great pace” and plenty of “revealed mysteries.” And the human vs. alien tension at the high school, he says, mirrors the social landscape of 1950s America. “Absolutely throughout the course of the series, we wanna be highlighting the conflicts of integrating the students into this school,” he said. “We also wanna be doing a lot of funny sci-fi stuff. The spaceship is just sitting there. What’s in there?” Probably not spaghetti.