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SYFY WIRE Roswell New Mexico

The weird change the Roswell reboot had to make from the WB original

By Benjamin Bullard
Roswell, New Mexico press shot The CW

Finding human-made sustenance when you’re not of this Earth can be tough for a hungry alien, especially if your stay among us mere terrestrials is bound to be the kind of long-term commitment that the E.T.’s of Roswell, New Mexico have taken on.

Back in the day, the aliens of the original Roswell were known to swill the Tabasco brand of hot sauce like it was going out of style, but in The CW’s rebooted new series, they’ve ditched the spicy stuff in favor of something even more potent: nail polish remover.

Straight from the “don’t get any ideas about starting a viral challenge” files, Roswell, New Mexico creator Carina Adly MacKenzie says there’s a pretty pedestrian answer for why Max Evans and his alien friends aren’t keeping the old show’s hot sauce tradition alive in 2019: the show is allowed to freely adapt from Melinda Metz’ Roswell High book series, but can’t lift the use of branded products from the 1990s version of the show.

“We weren’t allowed to use hot sauce” for the new series, MacKenzie told Entertainment Weekly ahead of the new series’ debut. “We have the rights to the books, but we don’t have the rights to the original TV show, so anything that we do that references the original show in that way is a homage; it’s a treat for fans!”

Finding a replacement just offbeat and quirky enough to stand out — without encouraging the most capricious viewers out there to follow suit in real life — came to MacKenzie almost as an afterthought.

“I was like, ‘What’s the weirdest thing that’s readily available and I could imagine people drinking?’ I literally looked around my room and saw nail polish remover and was like, ‘That’s it!’” she explained. 

But in a society that’s all too ready to supply willing participants for ill-advised viral challenges, whether of the blindfolded or the laundry-fresh variety, MacKenzie knows it’s best not to draw the wrong kind of attention to the aliens’ new preferred tonic. These aren’t people, people, she’s quick to remind viewers.

“We have so many bottles of nail polish remover all around our set, we keep saying we should really get a sponsorship,” she admitted, “but then also it would be like, ‘Don’t drink it, kids!’”

Don’t drink it for sure — but definitely do check out the new series. Roswell, New Mexico has its debut tonight (Jan. 15) at 9 p.m. ET, with new episodes landing at the same time every Tuesday on The CW.