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Star-Crossed: TV review

A dull cast keeps the sparks from flying in the CW's latest supernatural romance

Star-Crossed airs Mondays at 7pm on the CW.

Premieres Monday, February 17 at 7:00pm on the CW.

For anyone who's become bored with watching teen girls get romanced by vampires and werewolves, fear not, the CW is adding a new supernatural being to the mix. Star-Crossed's leading lady exchanges googly eyes with an alien in a lukewarm love story that never lives up to its potential.

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In May 2014, a spaceship fleeing its alien planet crash-landed outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mistaking the wayward travelers for hostile invaders, the local National Guard units engaged the extraterrestrials in combat and later established a confined sector where the aliens were forced to live (think District 9). Ten years later, relations between humans and the Atrians (the alien race) haven't improved much. In what's seen as a ground-breaking movement in inter-species relations, seven Antarian teenagers are being integrated into a local high school. It's here that Emery (Aimee Teegarden), whose father leads the security force that guards the Atrian sector, and Roman (Matt Lanter), the son of the Atrian's lead representative re-connect. They first met on the day of the crash, when little Emery found Roman in her family's shed and offered him food and friendship. That first introduction still lingers in Roman's mind and binds the two into a complicated relationship that tests the tolerance of those around them.

Like the dreaded Twilight, Star-Crossed clearly aims at being a supernatural version of Romeo and Juliet. Not only does the show's title reference Shakespeare's lovers, but the titles of every episode are pulled from lines of the play. However, for viewers who watched the WB in the '90s, it bears a greater resemblance to the alien teen romance Roswell, which was far better at writing its teenage characters as the kids that they were. While it's set in a high school, Emery and Roman feel very distant from their fellow classmates and the writers seem more interested in making them figures in the larger political fight between the humans and Atrians. This distracts from the lack of chemistry between Teegarden and Lanter, but SyFy's Defiance has done such a great job of establishing a world where alien races and humans live together that Star-Crossed looks hopelessly amateurish in comparison.

In splitting its focus between high school drama, teen romance and political allegory, the show fails to pull off any aspect of its concept well, relying on a pair of young actors who can't live up to the task of carrying a show through its weaknesses. What could have been a fun and trashy romance turns out to be a dull misfire.

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