As turn-of-the-millennium YA soaps on television go, Roswell was no Buffy or Dawson's Creek, but it had its devotees. Furthermore, it was the big break for both Shiri Appleby and Katherine Heigl, both of whom are still in TV 20 years after Roswell premiered in 1999. Now, the reboot business has found Roswell—now called Roswell, New Mexico in its new form on the CW. (Both are based on the Melinda Metz book series Roswell High.)
The bones of the new show are the same as the earlier versions: three orphaned aliens named Max, Isobel and Michael live in Roswell, surrounded by the kitsch of a town that made its reputation as the (sort of) site of a (purported) alien landing in 1947. The joke is that while tourists come for the little green men and the funny diner names (like the Crash Down Cafe), the real aliens, now adults, walk among them, keeping secret a variety of powers.
The inciting incident is similar in this version to the old one, too: Liz Ortecho (Jeanine Mason) has returned to Roswell, where she grew up, to visit her father. While she's there, her old friend (and perhaps more?) Max (Nathan Parsons) saves her life using his alien powers. This threatens to expose his secret, along with those of his sister Isobel (Lily Cowles) and their friend Michael (Michael Vlamis). Isobel and Michael both have other issues, other secrets, other people in their lives—as does Liz, who remains connected to her old boyfriend Kyle (Michael Trevino), who's now a police officer.
The major innovation in the new version is that Liz is Latina, and her father is undocumented. This creates echoes, of course, not only with the ideas of travelers and visitors, but with the fear of discovery that exists in Liz's life as well as Max's. An early incident in the series (critics have seen three episodes) underscores the fact that Liz's father is vulnerable not only to ICE, but also to people who know what happens to him if he goes to the police or the hospital.