Crossing Off Star-Crossed

I haven't done the math or anything but I feel pretty safe in the assumption that Romeo and Juliet is probably the single most-adapted story ever written. It seems like every few years there's a new version out in one medium or another (or in the case of 2013, two new versions in two mediums: a movie and a Broadway show). I've seen the argument made that they should just stop adapting the story, that it doesn't need to be retold and that the original story/play/movie versions stand the test of time. And I think this is 100% true, but I still think new versions should be made because the youth of today aren't interested in yesterday's versions and might not get the story without new versions being made for them, as in the case of the teenage girls in the theater when I went to see the new movie version who were shocked Juliet didn't wake up in time to stop Romeo from killing himself.

Seriously, what the fuck are they teaching kids in school these days?

That being said, new versions only have merit if they're any good, and while the new movie was passable, I was hoping for a little more from Star-Crossed, the new CW show about seven alien kids being integrated into a human school in order to learn each others' ways and hopefully make relations better between humans and the aliens, called Atrians, who came to Earth after being forced to leave their own planet and now live in areas now better than prison slums overseen by humans. It's clearly a Romeo-Juliet set-up, with the lead characters having met as children and being reunited in the school, pulled in different ways by their factions; the alien boy's father is one of the leading aliens and the human girl's father is one of the high-ranking humans in charge of controlling the alien slums or whatever. The aliens, by the way, seem to have weird tattoo-shaped birthmarks and two hearts, an add-on that annoyed the hell out of me because they sure as hell aren't Time Lords...

I partly had hopes for the show because I tend to be a fan of the CW (Supernatural, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals are all part of my rotation, so I know what to expect from the CW) and because three alumni from Friday Night Lights, one of my favorite shows full of talented young actors, star in it (having watched the show last night made it a real FNL day for me, having also watched the hysterical FNL reunion of Crucifictorious on the Parenthood webisode you can see here).

Imagine my disappointment then when the show wasn't very good at all. It's generic and full of all the tropes TV loves these days: flashbacks, voice-over narration, over-filtered lighting, an awful emo soundtrack, bad CGI, and worse acting. Most of the cast is lifeless and there isn't much chemistry to speak off. With one exception, you can see the plot twists coming, but even the one you can't ends up being an over-used trait of, of all things, the recent crop of vampire shows. The show was a mess, and by the time a really hideous emo cover of Age of Aquarius started playing over the show's final montage that included the "momentous" death of a character (I say "momentous" because despite the import that event will have on the show's conflict, the character had about two minutes of screen time and very little characterization so why would anyone give a crap?), the whole affair was laughable.

My only hope for anything good coming out of this show is that maybe parents and teachers might see kids getting into it and use that as a way to get them to read the source material. A lofty hope, I know, but as the Bard himself wrote, "the miserable have no other medicine but only hope."


  1. this makes me sad and the over adaptation of that play is one (only one) of the reasons that it is almost my least favorite Shakespeare play (the histories are a real drag). I would love to see a modern adaptation of Titus or Twelfth Night--yes, disparate genres, but some of the most interesting works.

    1. Hmm. The most recent version of Titus I can think of was the one Julie Taymor did with Anthony Hopkins but that has to be like 15 years old by now. I had to go to Google to find a recent adaptation of Twelfth Night where I disturbingly learned the awful Amanda Bynes movie She's the Man in 2006 was a modern version of that...


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