As a Latine woman, the cancellation of Roswell, New Mexico hurts because this show was everything I was craving in terms of wanting to feel included in the vast entertainment I consume.
Female-led shows are rare, but Latine-led shows are even rarer, which is why I struggled to feel represented growing up. To this day, I feel like I’m constantly searching for female-led shows but have instead been given male-focused stories where their female counterpart is simply a love interest. I want complex, real female characters outside of the male perspective. After all, we’re human beings and our stories need to be told properly and with the nuance we deserve.
The second I met the character of Liz Ortecho, played by Jeanine Mason, I got emotional. It felt like I had found what I was searching for as a teenager and now a young adult. Liz always proved she could hold her own despite having no powers like her counterparts and was never being forced into the role of damsel in distress during a fight like I so often see on other shows. She was also a scientist, bringing women in STEM to the forefront and never shying from her intelligence. Liz Ortecho made me feel like I could do anything and like I wasn’t limited by how the world might see me as a Latine woman. She made me feel free instead of encouraging me to try to fit into the box everyone expects me to be in.
Roswell, New Mexico also doesn’t include any of the outdated stereotypes that many other shows unfortunately still include today such as Latine women being over-sexual, only wanted for their looks, or being “exotic.” That was never the case with Liz and honestly, it was so refreshing to see. This allowed her to save the day, fall in love, and grow as a woman, sister, and friend. But most importantly, it allowed her to feel real to me. She wasn’t setting this impossible standard that society forces on us. If anything, she was the first (in my life) to fight back against what society expected of her. She made her own path, never dimming her light for anyone else.
I know shows can’t go on forever, but television needs more content with Latine leads, especially for young women that end up unexpectedly feeling like home. Canceling Roswell, New Mexico without allowing a final season, and losing this sort of valuable representation also makes it so viewers feel like television is telling us our stories don’t deserve a happy ending. And that’s just not right. We need characters like Liz Ortecho on our screens and we shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail for icons like her.
Roswell, New Mexico and the character of Liz Ortecho is different. With the cancellation, she now “was” different, reminding us that this show deserved way more praise, love, and another season before being cruelly cut down in its prime.