As we considered the stories we want to tell, we became aware of a fundamental dilemma in terms of the parents and the kids' relationships with them. This dilemma involves the messages of the show. Overall, the messages in season one are very positive. The stories are a testament to the power of love and friendship. We see people overcoming differences: learning to empathize with, befriend, and love those they feared. Yet secrecy is central to these stories; the kids are lying in order to survive. The concept that you can't tell the world who you are without being destroyed stands in sharp contrast to so many other ideas present in the show.
One answer to this problem is to use the issues involved in the story itself. We tried to present the context and consequences of lying so as to remain true to the show's messages, complexity and history. The contrasting conversations between the kids in the science room and the parents at the Crashdown provides one example of our efforts in this area.
When Jason Katims was interviewed in the beginning of the first season, he often mentioned that the aliens on Roswell were a metaphor for teen alienation. We wanted to bring the stories back to that premise. In addition, we also wanted to show the parents in a more realistic way, that they weren't oblivious to everything that their kids were doing, and that there would be consequences if the kids got caught breaking the rules. Rather than ignoring these issues (as sometimes seemed to happen on the televised versions because not ignoring them would interfere with the story they wanted to tell) we felt how the kids felt about keeping secrets from their parents and how the parents felt about being shut out of their kids lives, was a story worth telling. Since the kids have lots of secrets, there are many potential stories.
:-)One of our many discussions led to the question "What was Amy's reaction when she learned Michael had his own apartment?" and we decided we had to share the answer with you. ;-)The scenes that followed were a collaborative effort, but some of the things that were important to me were that we keep the first confrontation scene light, keep the audience guessing/wondering what really happened and in the end point out that honesty is the best policy. What hurt Amy the most was that Maria kept the truth from her, making Amy feel that Maria doesn't trust her with the truth and possibly wondering what else Maria may not be telling her.
Because of the contrasts in personalities between Max and Maria, I was looking forward to seeing them interact on the televised episodes. I was glad that they showed that a friendship developed between them but disappointed that we didn't get to see the bonding process. I wanted to make sure that we showed that process. When I began writing the scene between Max and Maria, in "Don't Tell Mama", I was a little intimidated, not being sure how it would come off--oil and vinegar or sweet and spicy.
;-)I was pleasantly surprised that the scene just sort of wrote itself, and I was very pleased with the results. ;-)
I joined the Roswell: What Might Have Been project when it was already well underway. At that time, "Damage Control" (episode 117) was already written and "Don't Tell Mama" (episode 118) was in the process of being heavily edited. I haven't had a chance to write a lot of scenes yet, but that didn't keep me from making more than one suggestion on how to improve episode 118.
The most memorable scene in this respect was probably the Jeff/Michael "Tai Chi" scene (scene 41). Joan had added scene 38 (where Michael unintentionally uses his powers to prevent the baking soda box from falling onto the grill) to the script later in the writing process. Assuming Michael would not intentionally use his powers in a public place, Joan and Erica had not planned to have Michael try his new-found power again right away, especially not in the Crashdown with a lot of potential witnesses nearby.
However, I was convinced that Michael would not be able to simply put aside his new power until he had a chance to try it out when there was no one else around. I felt he would be curious to see whether he could recreate that effect; Michael's curiosity would surely override his better judgement of not using his powers (more or less) publicly. Things unraveled in front of my mind's eye and I saw Michael standing in the Crashdown kitchen with an outstretched arm, practising his powers, and someone would come in and surprise Michael, wondering what he was doing. And thus the "Tai Chi" scene was born. My first idea was to have Maria and Liz drop in on Michael unexpectedly, but after I managed to convince Erica and Joan to add the scene, Joan came up with having Jeff be the person who surprises Michael. The final version of the scene that ended up in the 118 script was a collaboration of the three of us, and I think it turned out nicely.