So, this week’s Trailer Time is going to be a bit different. First, I’m going to show you two trailers. Then, I’m going to tell you what’s right, what’s expected, and what’s wrong.
The long version:
The short version:
Now, the first thing you should notice is that these trailers are not for books. They’re for a television show called Star-Crossed that debuted on the CW network this year. The second thing you should have noticed is that, according to the trailers, this show is a sci-fi/love-story.
Before we get too deeply into my analysis, there’s something I should address. The CW is a fairly low-budget cable television network in the style of the former WB that seeks out shows that go against the hyper-popular grain to feed the cravings of niche markets. As you should know, these niche markets tend to make for especially passionate fan bases. This means that their off-beat shows have popular appeal, but they also tend to have lower budgets, because the market for each show is smaller. They also tend to play up the hot-and-steamy end of things, as in The Vampire Diaries, Nikita, and the new hit Reign.
Keeping that in mind, each of these trailers offer enough interest-generating content (i.e. character and plot building) to tempt viewers into giving the show a try. It worked on me! You get sufficient backstory to understand that the main hero (a.k.a. Roman) is an alien boy and that the main love interest is a human girl (a.k.a. Emery). You also know that the entire situation is filled with tension. (Though, the situation of the show is a good indication that no intelligent life is stupid enough to come to earth—we’re just not worth it.)
I like the show. I look forward to the episodes. I enjoy watching it. But it’s not what I expected. Based on the trailer, I expected a show that emphasized the science fiction elements. This show most definitely does not. It’s more like a space fantasy set on earth, without any additional space travel, because the “science” is not explored or explained and seems more like convenient magic than actual scientific progress.
Furthermore, the basic psychological/scientific question has yet to be addressed in any way: Why would a race of people scientifically advanced enough to be capable of timely (within a single year?) interstellar travel end up crash-landing on earth without 1) arranging via communication for their arrival and, I don’t know, maybe even getting permission before they try to come and 2) understanding that just showing up would incite a rather unfavorable and suspicious response to their presence? They’re presumably smarter than us, because they have space travel far more advanced than even our best (real) theories can touch on, and yet they expected to be welcomed as refugees without having made previous contact and without understanding that a species which is almost constantly at war with each other is not socially advanced enough to cope with an alien race on their home planet. (As you can tell, I’ve thought way too much about this!) So, this isn’t predominantly a science fiction show; it’s more of a love story with a science fiction/fantasy veneer.
Aside from the passing nod to the sci-fi element, the big thing these trailers miss is the overwhelming Shakespearean theme of the actual show. And by Shakespeare, I mean, of course, Romeo and Juliet. Not only is the situation (alien boy and human girl fall in love amidst intolerance, hatred, and conflict between their peoples) a direct nod to Shakespeare, but the episode titles reflect that connection, as does the show title. So, why is that not mentioned and why does the trailer not reflect the love-over-science emphasis of the show? In short, the trailers promise something that it doesn’t really deliver and delivers on a powerful promise that isn’t even made.