Have you been hungrily awaiting the return of True Blood? Or perhaps have you always been curious about the HBO drama but scared off by the gore and violence? Well, the CW’s newest offering, Star-Crossed, may be just what you are looking for. It features Emery (Aimee Teegarden), a courageous, yet pliantly selfless heroine caught between her species and her passion. Like Sookie in True Blood, she has human and nonhuman love interests. Or, as Emery’s best friend Julia (Malese Jow) puts it, “You’ve been in school a week and you already have boy problems? High school is phenomenal.”
The show could easily veer towards soapy or campy, but Star-Crossed defies these boundaries. The characters are fascinating and so is the plot (even the subplots around minor characters add depth and tie in nicely to the series as a whole).
Star-Crossed and True Blood also deal with questions of integration and prejudice. Emery’s childhood friend and forbidden crush Roman (Matt Lanter) is an alien. He and his people (called Atrians in the series) arrived on Earth ten years before the start of the series looking for a new home planet. However, they were met with antipathy and guns. After being separated from his family on “Arrival Day,” Roman spent a day hiding in Emery’s garage (with her assistance) before he was rounded up (with a police officer’s taser to the chest). He and the other Atrians were put into segregated camps.
As teenagers, the “star-crossed” lovers meet again when Roman and six of his friends from the alien camp are integrated into Emery’s high school, in a clear nod to the Little Rock Nine. Emery is caught between her uncontrollable desire to help Roman and her relationship with her maybe-more-than-friend, human jock, Grayson (Grey Damon).
For all the similarities, Star-Crossed has, arguably, more heart than True Blood. It’s sweet and tender in all the right gooey places, allowing audiences to believe that racism and injustice can be resolved by love and perseverance. It further aims not to oversimplify the world these characters live in. Admittedly the multilayered group dynamics (with extremists and moderates on both sides) add complexity and gravity to the show. However, the characters’ tempered responses to daily microaggressions and murder undercut this. In this way it is clear that the show has chosen to remain fun and dramatic rather than truly delve into the social and political questions it raises.
As the title implies, the story is based off the Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet. This theme is continued throughout the series with the titles of the episodes; each one is derived from a Shakespeare quote. Proving, if anything, that Star-Crossed has aspirations to be more than just another teen drama. If you are looking for fun, romantic show with significantly more depth than its peers, Star-crossed may be for you.