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WB's "Roswell" presents teens who are truly strangers in a strange land.

Teen Alienation

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Teen angst, teen alienation and three real-live teen aliens: When series developers David Nutter ("The X-Files") and Jason Katims ("My So-Called Life") mix it all together, what you've got is WB's new "Roswell."

Roswell, population 44,654, is real. It's a city in New Mexico, smack in the middle of an irrigated farming region. Back in the summer of 1947, many of Roswell's residents thought they saw the fiery crash of an alien spacecraft. The government says it never happened and put the blame on weather balloons. The Feds have maintained their story for 52 years, while Roswell has capitalized on the event and developed a thriving tourist industry.

It makes you wonder why it took TV so long to come up with a series, doesn't it?

There's no doubt about what happened in "Roswell," as long as you put the name in quotes. The crash in 1947 was the result of a space war. But the Feds' coverup missed a couple of pods that sat out there in the desert until the 1980s, when out popped three aliens who looked remarkably like human 6-year-olds. Now all three are high school students in Roswell — determined to protect the secret of their origin, to keep a tight rein on their superhuman powers, and — go figure — to pour Tabasco sauce on everything they eat.

Jason Behr (the quarterback from "Dawson's Creek") plays Max, the super-cool alien, who threatens the trio's secret when he uses his powers to heal Liz, a fellow student who is accidentally shot. Trouble is, he leaves behind an indelible, iridescent palm print, and now the secret is not so safe. Shiri Appleby is Liz, and Max's two attractive co-aliens are Brendan Fehr and Katherine Heigl.

There's a lot to like about "Roswell," which airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays on WB. The teens are eye-catching specimens, the story-line is intriguing, and the writing isn't half bad. And if you're a fan, there's good news: WB has ordered 22 episodes, nearly twice as many as the usual network

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