Television Review: Point Pleasant
by R.J. Carter
Published: January 20, 2005
Christina (Elisabeth Harnois) is a mysterious young girl who we first meet floating face down in the ocean. Several minutes later, in the Riverdale-like beach town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, a freakish storm breaks out, sending all the swimsuit clad teens running for cover--except lifeguard Jesse (Samuel Page) who spies Christina's body floating out on the stormy sea.
Leaving his girlfriend Paula (Cameron Richardson) with his best friend, Jesse rescues Christina and brings her to the Kramer residence. Ben Kramer (Richard Burgi) is a doctor, so this was smart thinking on Jesse's part. Meg Kramer, his wife, has been clinically depressed for years since her oldest daughter died in a surfing accident, and her mood has plagued the doctor and their daughter Judy (Aubrey Dollar.)
When Christina awakens, the family learns she's the self-raised daughter of an international businessman who is never home. Her mother disappeared long ago--but has connections to a town near Point Pleasant. After a phone call to Christina's butler (for lack of a better term) the Kramers agree to let Christina stay with them.
Which may stretch credulity in some--but then, this is a series where we're expected to believe that Christina is none other than the devil's daughter.
Because that's the crux of this "Dawson's Creek" take on "American Gothic." Bearing a mark in the iris of her right eye that looks suspiciously like three sixes overlayed in a spiral, Christina is known to the viewers as the daughter of both devil and saint (the saint being her mother) and that, because of this dichotomy of her heart, she can be swayed either way. (Jesse's car bearing a hanging crucifix from the rearview mirror as well as the ubiquitous fish emblem on its bumper, so I think we know on which side of the fence Jesse comes down.)
Strange things begin to happen around town the longer Christina hangs around--most of them involving sex. Paula decides to have a one-night fling in the swimming pool with Jesse's best friend (who always hits on her, and whom she always spurns.) Jesse has intense dreams of having sex with a Paula-turned-Christina. And Doctor Kramer feels the tug of temptation toward one of his patients.
But things go from sinful to supernatural whenever Christina's heartstrings are pulled. Quickly finding herself in love with Jesse, she is heartbroken when she is introduced to Paula and learns Jesse is spoken for, a state that nearly ends in flames when a freak accident at the gas station puts Jesse and Paula in danger--a situation which the viewer is clearly intended to believe is caused by Christina, albeit perhaps unknowingly and involuntarily. (Whether the insect swarm killing of Christina's would-be strangler is Christina's work or her father's is still up in the air.)
Albeit a slow start for a pilot episode, with a lot of characters to introduce, promos for future episodes are teaser enough for this reviewer to keep an eye on "Point Pleasant" for at least a little while longer. However, given the historical lifespan of dramatic supernatural dramas of this flavor ("Twin Peaks" notwithstanding--and that's been a long time ago) I don't see a long future for "Point Pleasant."
Of interest, "Point Pleasant" was written by Ben Edlund, noted by some as the creator of that Big Blue Bug of Justice, The Tick. Edlund has also written several television episodes of "Angel" and "Firefly," as well as providing the screenplay for "Titan A.E."
Elisabeth Harnois: Christina Nickson
Samuel Page: Jesse Parker
Aubrey Dollar: Judy Kramer
Cameron Richardson: Paula Hargrove
Brent Weber: Terry
Susan Walters: Meg Kramer
Richard Burgi: Ben Kramer