'Star-Crossed' review: Come for the teen romance, stay for the sociopolitical implications

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"Star-Crossed" may look like a cheesy teen romance with futuristic, alien-human love overtones. But don't be fooled -- that's not what the show is about.

Well, it's not the only thing that "Star-Crossed" is about. Teen romance does play a major role in The CW's new show, which premieres Monday (Feb. 17), but there's a serious story of prejudice hiding underneath. That serious side -- a look into the good and bad of humanity when faced with the "other" -- is as compelling as it gets.

Unfortunately for "Star-Crossed," the pilot episode does make it seem like romance is the main deal. Roughly 10 years after refugee aliens called Atrians land in Louisiana, alien hottie Roman ( Matt Lanter) and nice human girl Emery ( Aimee Teegarden) meet and flirt at high school.

It's cute, but the bigger and better story is what's going on around them.

In a move straight out of Civil Rights-era race integration, the government has decided to introduce Roman and a few other Atrian teens into a human high school. It doesn't go too smoothly. Apparently, just about everyone feels blind hatred and fear toward the Atrians, who have all spent a decade growing roof gardens in an internment camp.

This stand-in for racial tension becomes the main focus of "Star-Crossed" after a slightly lovey-dovey pilot. And it works. With all of the sentimentality of the show concentrated in the Emery-Roman relationship, the politics and prejudices of the greater world can tackle real issues clearly and honestly.

If "Star-Crossed" does indeed follow this path past the first few episodes, it could become one of the more fascinating programs on television today. If it doesn't? Well, at least there's still that cute romance.

"Star-Crossed" premieres Monday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW
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