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How the ‘Roswell’ reboot made aliens new again

Reboots are a dime a dozen these days — but The CW’s “ Roswell, New Mexico ” is unique.

For starters, it’s drawing more from the “Roswell High” book series than the original “Roswell,” which aired on The WB and UPN from 1999-2002, with future “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl among its ensemble cast.

And series star Jeanine Mason says this reboot is actually warranted.

“It’s the right property to revisit. I don’t think that’s always the case [with reboots] but this one in particular really made sense,” says Mason, 27. “My character was Liz Ortecho in the book series. In the original show, she was Liz Parker [played by Shiri Appleby]. So there was part of the story here to really investigate and honor.”

Premiering Tuesday at 9 p.m., “Roswell, New Mexico” follows Liz Ortecho (Mason, another “Grey’s Anatomy” alum), a Mexican-American woman who’s returning home 10 years after leaving. Her small town, which teems with alien kitsch — playing up its history from the 1947 Roswell UFO incident— includes her undocumented immigrant father (who some call ‘alien’) and Max (Nathan Parsons), an old flame who secretly is a real alien.

“It changes the dynamic a bit [from the original],” says Parsons, 30 (“True Blood”). “We’re no longer in high school. We’ve jumped 10 years ahead. The show carries the same title and basis, but I think this is pretty original in its storytelling. There’s this alien aspect but [Max is] also a cop. So it’s this dichotomy between this very normal life as a deputy in the sheriff department … who also has secret powers. That’s fun to play with.”

Character ages aside, Mason thinks it’s the perfect time for “Roswell” to return to pop culture because of Liz’s heritage in the reboot.

“It’s exciting to me to get to revisit this property right now,” she says. “There’s this line … where a character is accusing Liz of being combative, and she says, ‘I’m a Mexican-American woman in 2018. I engage in combat just by getting out of bed in the morning.’ It made me laugh and hurt my heart because it rang so true.”

Neither actor watched the original show when it aired 20 years ago, but Mason’s sister was a fan and Mason binged it on Hulu once she was cast. Parsons avoided watching so he could make Max his own, but he was familiar with the real Roswell and its status as America’s alien capital.

“I grew up in Texas, so for a trip one time we went to Roswell to check out the [UFO] museum,” he says. “I always had an interest in space and life on other planets. Then it comes around and now I’m on this show.”

Unlike many genre shows — which use Vancouver as a stand-in for their locations — this series was filmed on-location in New Mexico.

“I think it is one of the biggest draws of our show,” says Mason. “It’s just cinematically so beautiful [that] it feels singular on this network.”

“There’s no way you could re-create New Mexico,” says Parsons.

Though it’s straying from the original, “Roswell, New Mexico” has support from that show’s cast; “Roswell” star Appleby (most recently known for “UnREAL”) even directed an episode.

“She was so fun to work with,” says Mason. “She loves this property so much. She kept bringing up shots from the original series which she wanted to mock, of her and Jason Behr [who played Max in the original]. She wanted us to re-create the visual. Every detail with her was so fleshed out and enthusiastic.

“That woman is a badass.”

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