THE SHOW "Star-Crossed"

WHEN | WHERE Monday night at 8 on CW/11

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Integration battles. Miracle medical cures. Tribal terrorists. Romeo and Juliet. Homecoming carnival!

Put 'em all together, and you've got "Star-Crossed," a human-alien saga both fueled and saddled by teen romance and cultural metaphor.

Sickly kid Emery meets Atrian boy Roman when his people's ship, fleeing a dying planet, crashes amid human bombardment. (Never land near Baton Rouge.) Ten years later, "the Atrian 7" get day passes from their race's military-quarantine colony to attend high school, and guess who runs into whom?

By now they're hotties ("Friday Night Lights" daughter Aimee Teegarden, "90210" bad boy Matt Lanter), beset by mean girls and bullies, but also -- as next week's flesh-out clarifies -- personally embroiled in adults' fierce, stealthy conflict over the Atrians' place on Earth. Both sides have their schemers, and their dreamers. Says Emery, "We may be from two different worlds, but in some ways, we're still the same."

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MY SAY If only she didn't prattle that. Or if Roman didn't disgorge wisdom "after spending just a few days amongst your kind." Turgid dialogue obscures intriguing ideas, amid uneven echoes of civil rights and supremacist crusades. Dollops of spirituality, politics and greed beg to be explored, while pop music emotes and teens lament "social suicide."

BOTTOM LINE Plenty of potential, if "Star-Crossed" stops talking down to us.

GRADE B