Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Is the CW’s new sci-fi series Star-Crossed a statement on racism or a teen romance? At today’s TCA, producers and cast defended the show’s right to be both. Set in the near future, the show pits the alien Atrians against the humans in the social cauldron that is high school. Borrowing a page from Romeo And Juliet, human girl Emery (Aimee Teegarden) is in love with Roman (Matt Lanter), an Atrian.
In their questions to the panel, TV journalists noted that the strongest link between aliens and humans in the series is that they are both really, really hot.
Executive producer Adele Lim insisted that there’s a reason that this race of aliens looks so good — that is, human by CW standards. Citing the differences between Star-Crossed and the allegorical movie District 9, she said the Atrians’ appearance “is not just about them being pretty and handsome… they should be relatable to us.” She likened the situation to that of any minority in America: “Small differences are enough to drive a a wedge between you and society at large.”
EP Meredith Averill agreed there’s a reason the Atrians are much less creepy than the “Prawns” in District 9. “They are more similar than different.”
Executive producers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec agreed. Re the romcom title, Applebaum said he likes it because “on the face of it it seems like one thing, but it’s quickly obvious that the show is more than a teen romance.” Applebaum added that the show contains authentic “sci-fi stuff in a big way. He said that in 2014 racism “is in some ways worse than ever” and welcomes the chance to explore it. “No shows are doing that on television,” he said.