If The Fault in Our Stars met Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century in a bar, and the two had a one-night stand, their love child would look a lot like Star-Crossed, the CW’s newest series that deals with teen illness, prejudice, and sexy aliens. I didn’t have high expectations going into the pilot, which ended up being a good thing, because this show pleasantly surprised me. Was it a perfect pilot? They never are. But let’s suffice it to say that I’m intrigued.
To be fair, the episode had my full attention less than five seconds in, but that was mostly because things kicked off on May 16, 2014, which might happen to be my birthday. But what you need to know is that was the day that an alien race called the Atrians crash-landed on Earth. Hoping for refuge, they were instead greeted with violence. One of the young Atrians hid in a shed, which is where he met the show’s protagonist, a young Emery. She helped to hide him until the police showed up. The Atrian protected the girl, and as a result, was shot. And if I’m being completely honest, watching that adorable little boy get shot did give me chills.
After that interaction, we flashed forward 10 years. Now in 2024, Emery was about to go to high school for the first time – she had been in the hospital for the past four years thanks to an auto-immune deficiency. And in that hospital was where we meet her best friend, Jules. And yes, watching Aimee Teegarden call somebody else Jules did freak me out (especially because it was Anna from The Vampire Diaries.)
Jules, still sick, sent her bestie off to school, where for the first time, seven Atrians were being released from The Sector – the government facility where their kind now lives – to try and integrate into the school. Spoiler: It did not go well. The boy from the shed, Roman, and his other “Tatties” quickly found the school’s biggest bully, and said bully just as quickly found Roman’s sister, so that of course resulted in fight number one. And fight number two was the Atrians’ payback for making Roman bleed.
But the main story was the relationship between Emery and Roman. He instantly knew she was the girl from the shed, but it wasn’t until she and Jules snuck into The Sector to look for some miracle healing plant that she saw his scar and put it together. She had always thought that little boy died, but instead, he’d gotten hot. (You gotta love The CW.)
And after both Emery and Roman risked nearly getting arrested for each other post fight number two, we got our first glimpse at what’s to come. They almost kissed before Emery had to rush to Jules’ side. Jules was dying. So instead of heading home to make curfew, Roman risked everything to take his species’ healing plant to Jules. And it worked. Sadly for Roman, while he was off healing Emery’s best friend, his own father got into a fight at The Sector and was killed. To make things more complicated, he was killed by Emery’s father, which is sure to make their next interaction nice and awkward. It was a solid dramatic ending that made me want more, I’ll give it that much.
Overall, I really enjoyed Matt Lanter’s performance. I felt that Roman was the smoothest character in this equation. He was sweet, he was strong, and he was one of the few who delivered a funny line (about wishing they carried ray guns!). I’m not as fond of Teegarden’s Emery just yet, but she had her moments where I could see potential.
All in all, it presented an interesting world. I loved the little we heard of the Atrian’s language, and I couldn’t stop myself from having Zenon flashbacks whenever I saw the school. The holograms for teachers? The fancy lunches? The Zenon fangirl in me was praying for some spandex and a little Proto Zoa!
Sure, there were bumps in both the storytelling and the delivery, and the chemistry isn’t quite there yet for some characters – I’m looking at you, Luke – but once viewers fully immerse themselves in this world, I think it could be fun. It’s 100 percent a matter of accepting it for what it is. This is a CW show about aliens, after all. That being said, this show thrives when it makes fun of its own premise (hence the ray gun joke). So, add in a few more “Martians are from Mars” jokes, and I might just stick around.