Television

Fandom Talk: A Conversation with Lena from Crashdown.com

Crashdown Banner

Image Credit: Crashdown.com

It’s been a month since the announcement of Baron & Toluca, a TV project starring Majandra Delfino and Brendan Fehr, who previously starred together in Roswell, the cult Sci-Fi drama that aired on The WB & UPN from 1999-2002.

Roswell was developed by Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) and based off the young adult book series Roswell High, written by Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns. Delfino and Fehr played Maria DeLuca and Michel Guerin, respectively, and were members of a tremendous cast that starred Jason Behr as Max Evans, Shiri Appleby as Liz Parker, Katherine Heigl as Isabel Evans, Nick Wechsler as Kyle Valenti, and William Sadler as Sheriff Jim Valenti. Also featured in the series were Colin Hanks as Alex Whitman, Emilie de Raven as Tess Harding, and Adam Rodriguez as Jesse Ramierz.

After the announcement of the B+T campaign, which encourages the fans to persuade Netflix via social media to convince them to stream the series, it reminded me a lot of the various campaigns Roswell fans would do to convince The WB to keep the series on the air. As a result, I reached out to individual known as Lena, the web moderator of a Roswell fan-site known as Crashdown.com.

For as long as I remember, I’ve seen Lena’s name associated with postings on the website, re-tweets from Brendan Fehr on Twitter, and in conversations with friends discussing Roswell over the Internet. It was the primary motivation to reach out to Lena for an interview request, just to get her take on how similar the two campaigns are. She was kind enough to agree to the interview.

Below is the conversation I had with Lena, where I ask her questions regarding the website Crashdown, her thoughts on Roswell and how it’s managed to live on 14 years after its cancellation, and her thoughts on Baron & Toluca.

David: Tell us a little bit about Crashdown.com.

Lena: The website is named after the Crashdown Café in the TV show Roswell. Crashdown.com was created by [users] Squanto, Goldenboy and NetRanger. Instead of “fast food,” it offers up to the minute news, information on the show, an episode guide, transcripts, fan fiction, information on the music that played in the episodes when they originally aired as well as on the DVD/streaming version. Crashdown has a detailed news archive and is keeping fans updated since the show first aired on The WB.

David: What led you to join and basically run Crashdown?

Lena: When I got the chance to take care of Crashdown, I was very excited to continue keeping the Roswell spirit alive. Roswell introduced me to all these wonderful actors, writers, directors and some amazing artists, whose music was played in the series.

I loved Roswell back when it was on the air and, apparently, it still has a huge place inside my heart. Even to this day, I concentrate much of my efforts behind supporting former Roswell cast and crew’s new projects through managing the website.

There are also many new fans because of streaming services and Crashdown gives new and old fans a place where they can find everything they are looking for. The Roswell fandom is very unique and special, and I made some very good and real friends because of the show and I still love running the website which I am enjoying very much.

David: How long has Crashdown been on the Internet?

Lena: Crashdown.com accompanied the broadcast of the show and its cast and crew since the very beginning. It has been around since 1999.

David: How much has Crashdown changed over the years?

Lena: Obviously everything slowed down some years after the cancellation of the show and the website team decreased. Crashdown was maintained by a team of approximately 20-25 people during the period Roswell aired in the United States. They all did a fabulous job, saved the show twice and I was a frequent visitor of the website.

With social media, the fan interaction changed a lot. I receive a lot more feedback via Twitter or Facebook, which is awesome.

Nowadays it’s even possible to find out about new projects from the actors themselves and get some behind the scenes information and photos. Also, I am a little sad that we never had the opportunity to live tweet a brand new Roswell episode with the actors.

When it comes to “look” changes, the website got a re-design when I took it over in June 2008. The Crashdown website re-launched on January 1, 2009 with some new content. Behind the scenes is a new version in the works that has a similar look, e.g. colors, but it is mobile friendly. Also, there are many goodies hidden in the news entries which will come to surface with the new version of the website as well as some new sections. Since it’s a hobby it just takes some time.

Roswell poster

Promotional Poster for Roswell, circa 1999

David: Obviously you’re a dedicated fan if you chose to run Crashdown. How did you first come across Roswell? Did you watch it during its original run or did you catch it in repeats?

Lena: Technically, I watched Roswell during its original run, but even so with some delay. I got an early recommendation from a girl from the USA, I was pen friends with and I think I saw some clips and photos early. But it took a long time until Roswell finally aired in Germany. It first premiered in early 2001 in the afternoon program after Dawson’s Creek on Saturdays. I was a frequent visitor of Crashdown.com once I saw the pilot of the show.

David: What was it about Roswell that drew you in?

Lena: I knew that Roswell was special from the very first second of the pilot. It was beautifully written and had this alien story without being a sci-fi only show. I loved the character driven episodes the friendships, the fun romances, twists and the mystery addition to the storylines. Roswell had me hanging at the edge of my seat every week.

David: What did you enjoy the most about the show?

Lena: Sharing opinions with other fans after watching the show was also a fun part, which I enjoyed very much. If a show drags you into it and you can mentally unwind for the duration of an episode that’s something special and I really loved this power of the show, the good causes fans supported over the years and making an impact.

David: Roswell had a lot of the characters finding their other half. Which pairing was your favorite and why?

Lena: I liked all characters equally, but if I had to choose just one favorite pairing it would be the Stargazer couple, Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl) and Alex Whitman (Colin Hanks), whose romance ended so tragically before it even really began. But for some reason, I love them all. All the pairings on the show had something special about them. I can not not be a Candy [Michael Guerin and Maria DeLuca] shipper, when I am watching “285 South” and it’s hard to not enjoy the Dreamer-centric [Max Evans and Liz Parker] episodes and it’s all about rooting for Max and Liz, when Tess came into the game.

David: The most dedicated Roswell fans know how much The WB interfered with the production of the show, from revealing Tess as an alien earlier in Season 1 instead of the finale, to the more Sci-Fi tone that Season 2 took. Had The WB not interfered, do you think the series would have turned out differently?

Lena: Yes. It would have turned out differently. In my opinion Liz’s journal entries narrated wonderfully through the show and they were such a great element. I really missed these later and it changed Roswell and the way of telling the stories. Tess brought a great twist and I think it’s good that they revealed it early that she is a part of the Royal Four. I enjoyed the sci-fi tone as well, but I know that I would have loved what the writers had originally planned for the series – without the guiding hand of the network.

Roswell Season 3David: I think most Roswell fans can agree, the UPN season (Season 3) was vastly different. I personally thought it was okay, but felt it lost the heart of why the first two seasons were great. What’s your opinion on Season 3?

Lena: I wouldn’t want to miss spending some more time with these characters. I agree that the season had a different tone. Some more character-driven episodes would have been great but I really enjoyed watching it.

David: Is there anything you would have liked to have seen done differently for Season 3 or for the show in general?

Lena: In matters of the storyline… Well, my Stargazer heart wished a happy ending or a sci-fi solution to bring Alex back. I loved that Michael got a job and some real buddies and Isabel had her happy ending with Jesse. Ok, in the end Isabel kept what was always most important to her: her family and her relationship with her brother Max, but who knows what happened after they left Roswell.

For the third season I also wished that they had more freedom and to finish what they had in mind when they first made an outline of the season. The season episode order was cut and I read that Jason Katims had some great ideas like a “What if?” episode or a “time travel idea”… Future Max anyone? That is something that would have been fun to see on screen as well as where Ava ended up or the other dupes. Also, in Season 3 since Liz started to “change” because Max healed her, the question comes up: what will happen to the other people he healed, e.g. Kyle, or the sick kids from the Christmas miracle? All in all – a pick up on these topics… that’s something that would have been great to see in Roswell.

David: Did you ever read the “Season 4” novels (A New Beginning, Nightscape, Pursuit, Turnabout)? If so, do you feel they were a satisfying continuation to the series?

Lena: No, I didn’t read the novels; just the Roswell High series by Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns, which was awesome. Sadly, it is not possible to buy the books for a reasonable price, because they are out of stock. I know many fans would be delighted to check them out in eBook format, but they are not available digitally. Maybe some things on my Roswell-wish-list were already covered? I recently read the latest Veronica Mars novel and it was a great continuation after the movie. What about a new Roswell book series with the original writers on board?

David: 14 years after Roswell went off the air, the show still has a presence on the Internet. What do you think it is about Roswell that continues to live on after all this time?

Lena: It’s a timeless story and something unique. Maybe it was ahead of its time? New fans are discovering the show permanently through streaming websites and everyone else is still re-watching it or introduces Roswell to new people.

In 2001, Kenn Gold, who is a founder of Crashdown.com, was quoted, “I think it’s really the community that’s built around the show that’s more of an attraction. The show is great and I love it, but I think the community will survive after the show goes away.” (http://crashdown.com/news/2001/06/roswell-fights-for-show-on-web/)

And he was right.

Roswellreunion

The Roswell panel at the ATX TV Festival in 2014

I think, the 15th Anniversary and Roswell reunion at the ATX TV Festival in 2014 made things move – like many fans from the start were back and everyone is very dedicated to show that we are still craving for more.

The fanbase is very, very loyal and for a reason there are constantly new petitions on revivals, movie campaigns etc. popping up. Lately, Crashdown teamed up with @RoswellBack, a group made up of two zealous Roswell fans named Nomi and Debby, to organize Twitter campaigns. They admin two major Roswell Groups on Facebook and had a strong desire to see the show revive. With our combined efforts we’ve ignited a new spark in the Roswell fanbase while having a really great time letting everyone know that there is still a strong interest for a Roswell comeback, especially with the original cast and team behind it.

David: I notice on your Twitter account that William Sadler (Jim Valenti), Brendan Fehr (Michael) and Majandra Delfino (Maria) follow you. How cool of a feeling is that?

Lena: One word: rocking!

B&T

Majandra Delfino and Brendan Fehr in a promotional photo for Baron & Toluca

David: Speaking of Brendan and Majandra, there’s recently been an announcement for “B+T.” It may not be a Roswell revival, but it appears to be a spiritual successor to the show and made for the fans. How excited are you for it?

Lena: I am very excited. The way how they announced it with the little puzzle was fun and clever. They created so much excitement and the possibly to see Majandra and Brendan back on screen together is bringing so many fans back. They had such a great chemistry as Michael and Maria. It sounds like a more grown-up show with many mysterious aspects. I hope we learn more about the storyline very soon.

The headlines on the official website, BaronAndToluca.com, are so fitting. They say “It’s not exactly what you think, but it’s exactly what you need.”  I think we all were really waiting for something like this to happen. Now, it’s not about waiting but for taking action and spreading the word about it and letting Netflix know that we really want this.

Baron and Toluca would be a perfect addition to the Original Netflix shows.

David: Roswell fans have been known to influence networks in the past, with one example being the Tabasco bottles that were sent to The WB to renew the series. Do you think that same fanbase will be as successful convincing Netflix to stream B+T?

Lena: I am very positive that the same fanbase can make a huge impact again. It’s a plus that many new fans are on board, too. As already mentioned, Crashdown teamed up with the Roswell Back Group (Nomi and Debby) and we joined forces again. “Twitter is the new Tabasco,” said Nomi from Roswell Back once. When fans campaigned for keeping Roswell on the air, we had less platforms to promote it. Now, with social media and YouTube, we can reach many more people.

We have banners, articles and campaign videos…

Fans are asked to please join us every Saturday at 6 PM EST time and tweet the prefilled tweet along with the #NETFLIXforBandT hashtag from the official website. We try to tweet globally at the same time to get the attention of Netflix. Like it says on the B+T website, “The story is written, the pieces in place the rest is up to you…”. B+T has a huge potential and it already has a huge fandom behind it.

Many fans just signed up on Twitter to help to make the hashtag #NETFLIXforBandT go viral.

David: Do you think we’ll see any other former Roswell cast members make surprise cameo appearances?

Lena: That would be awesome! If we get Baron and Toluca, anything can happen and it would be fun to see some familiar faces on B+T. What if, the Sheriff stops them on the highway 285 South and he happens to be William Sadler?

Some of the shippers have stated that they’re hopeful that their favorite ship could make a special appearance. Debby expressed that it would be fun for Max & Liz to make an appearance as a married couple named “Jax & Beth Bevans,” doing it strictly as an endearing gesture for the Dreamers, and not taking away from the seriousness of the show.

David: What do you see for the future of Crashdown?

Lena: I hope that Crashdown.com will be around many more years. There’s always something to write about. I look forward to cover B+T news on the website as well as all the other cast projects.

I’d love to add more features to the Cool Stuff & Exclusives section on the website in the future. Besides interviews, we have there some great guest articles like Roswell Travel Guides or a tutorial How To Make Your Own Crashdown Uniform listed. Every fan is invited to submit something. Some new interviews would be great, too.

I see some more staff members in the future of Crashdown.com too. My friend Sarah is contributing to the website and helping out and I hope she will join on a regular basis covering news for some of the actors and of course everything Roswell related.

————————————————————————–

Once again we would like to thank Lena for taking her time to agree to an interview. You can follow her on Twitter at @crashdowncom, the official Crashdown.com Twitter page.

If you would like to see B+T be streamed on Netflix, be sure to tweet “@netflix – the people have spoken! Give us the show B+T!!!! @baronandtoluca http://www.baronandtoluca.com #NETFLIXforBandT” every Saturday at 6 PM (EST)/3 PM (PST) until the show is picked up by the streaming giant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s