From the title to the promos, The CW’s newest drama, “Star-Crossed” seems to heavily play up its romantic love triangle. But the executive producers would like you to know that it’s about way more than that.
“Star-Crossed” takes place in the near future when a race of aliens called Atrians have crash-landed on Earth and now live in a “District 9”-style ghetto called the Sector. Ten years later, the humans try to integrate the local high school with seven Atrian teens, and a romance blossoms between a human girl and one of the Atrian boys. So sure, it’s a high school romance, but there’s also some sci-fi elements mixed with a Brown vs. Board of Education and a segregation parallel.
Creator Meredith Averill tells reporters at the 2014 Television Critics Association winter press tour that she hopes the show will contain a “healthy balance” of all of those elements. “I think the pilot does lean a little bit heavier on the love story, but moving forward, the show very much becomes about how these kids struggle to try to find a way for everyone to just get along,” she says.
Adds executive producer Josh Appelbaum, “I think that quickly it becomes obvious that the show has more on its mind than just being a teen romance. … I think that the title and the ad campaign and selling the romance is great because I think if we led with, ‘We’re the show about racism!’ I don’t think that would [work].”
But yes, the center of the show is, at heart, a couple of high schoolers whom society tells it’s wrong to be together. Says executive producer Andre Nemec, “It’s a hard, pressured time in life when you’re trying to find yourself and you’re trying to grow up. You’re trying to have your first sets of romances and relationships, but these kids in this school, they have this added pressure of this very real-world global event that’s happening. These aliens have crash‑landed on Earth. There’s another species that is amongst us that we’re integrating into society, and it’s not really just played for the, ‘Oh, should the human girl be with the alien boy?’ These kids in this high school are living with very adult themes and adult problems because this school is the cauldron where all of it is beginning to boil.”
He continues, “Those themes creep up on you on the show when you’re watching. The show’s not designed to be hitting you over the head with a hammer on the racism issue, but while you’re watching it, you’re starting to appreciate and starting to understand what it does mean when a new culture and a new race become the next ‘other.'”
Sums up star Aimee Teegarden, “Throughout the season from episode to episode [there are] peaks and valleys where it’s going through the relationships and integration, and then it will have a great episode that goes into the mythology of the Atrians and you get to know little pieces about their history and where they come from and how they split into different segregated groups or tribes. And then the next episode goes to something else. So it does a nice job of tying you along into all these different stories and dragging you along through the season through [all of these] different aspects.”
“Star-Crossed,” which also stars Matt Lanter, Grey Damon, Malese Jow, Greg Finley and more, premieres Feb. 17 at 8 p.m ET/PT on The CW. Check out a new promo for the show below: