Over the course of the last few weeks, I have blasted through three different Asian Dramas: Black, Descendants of the Sun, and Refresh Man. After I finished the last one at 3 AM last night, I decided that watching something in English might be a nice change of pace, so I went through my recommendations and Star-Crossed popped up. Now, I’ve read Romeo and Juliet, and while it is not my favorite Shakespearean play I do enjoy it’s themes and gimmicks well enough. The main one being the idea of a set of lovers that are kept apart by the expectations of society. It’s my kind of cheese.
That said, I am barely two episodes in, and I have a few thoughts.
Firstly, the series starts when a spaceship full of humanoid aliens called Atrians crash-lands just outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Almost immediately, the human military is gunning down the Atrians because they believe that they are coming to take over the Earth. And I think it’s honestly kinda ridiculous. Throughout the entire opening, I kept thinking that these nutters have seen waaaaaay too many Sci-Fi movies. Anyway, one of the children runs away and hides in a barn, where he befriends the little girl that lives there. He is found the next day and shot by one of the soldiers while protecting the little girl.
So, yeah, the American government kills most of these aliens and puts the rest in a concentration camp, which they call the Sector. After ten years there, and a lot of Americanization, seven teenage Atrians are allowed to attend a local high school. Most of the students are terrible human beings and bully the new students. One of the humans at the school is Emery, the little girl from the opening all grown up (and looking scarily like the main actress from The Vampire Diaries), and one of the Atrian boys, named Roman, remembers her as the girl who showed him kindness on Arrival Day. Though how he recognizes her I will never know.
Anyway, they make friends again pretty fast… Just in time for her father to accidentally shoot his father. This puts Roman in a position of power in the Atrian government. Plus there’s a group of renegade Atrians that want to fight for liberation or something. It’s all very political, and I’m finding that aspect pretty interesting, but I don’t want to spoil the whole thing for you. Instead, I want to talk about the subtext, which you can’t ignore because the show won’t let you.
More than anything else, this show is about racism.
So much of this show makes it obvious that they are trying to mirror real-world racism in a way that is… hard to miss. The Atrians don’t look all that different from humans, with the exception of tattoos that appear on their skin, yet they are bullied by the student body. They are insulted for not participating in the Pledge of Allegiance (in the only school that still does that apparently). One of the girls is almost assaulted by some male students, and her brother gets into a fight to save her, then gets scolded for his choices.
And I am honestly not qualified to talk about this in much depth, because I am not an expert on racism in America. And this show just baffles me. Why don’t any of the minority students try to befriend them or talk to them or show them compassion? The show takes place in Louisiana for cripes sake, this can’t be a coincidence! I don’t live in Louisiana, so I am not an expert and please keep that in mind, but isn’t Louisiana in an area of the United States that had a lot of trouble with segregation and stuff? Did none of that happen in this universe? I don’t know, I just feel like the minority students would be the first to welcome them. GAH! This bothers me. I think it just boils down to the writers missing a great opportunity, or royally messing it up. I’m not sure yet.
I feel like the CW just operates in its own little world of “there’s no prejudice or racism here — unless it is plot convenient.” And, like, there’s still the question introduced about using peace or violence to accomplish integration. It just feels like the show wants to yo-yo between these serious themes, but not really dude.
As for the star-crossed lovers angle, I think their relationship is progressing a lot faster than what feels natural, and it is also annoying me. Like, Roman and Emery nearly kiss (probably) after a party in Episode 1.
I’m curious to see where the show is going to go, so I’m not going to stop watching, but I just hope it gets better.
Have a fantastic day, by beautiful readers.