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Television that Home Video Forgot: Point Pleasant (2005)

Point Pleasant cast photo

Point Pleasant

Showcase Inventory

Created by Marti Noxon and John McLaughlin
Produced by 20th Century FOX Television
Aired on FOX for one season (13 episodes, two unaired) from January 19, 2005 – July 3, 2005

Cast

Elisabeth Harnois as Christina Nickson
Grant Show as Lucas Boyd
Samuel Page as Jesse Parker
Aubrey Dollar as Judy Kramer
Dinah Meyer as Amber Hargrove
Cameron Richardson as Paula Hargrove

Show Premise

A mysterious female stranger washes ashore of the New Jersey seaside town named Point Pleasant, where she is rescued ashore. The mysterious stranger is Christina Nickson (Elisabeth Harnois), who it is implied is the daughter of Satan, but who tries to fight her evil inclinations, such as her strong attraction to the romantically unavailable lifeguard, Jesse Parker (Samuel Page). Christina is tempted towards evil by Lucas Boyd (Grant Show), a servant of the Devil that was sent there to ensure she fulfills her destiny. Upon her arrival to Point Pleasant she is taken in by the Kramers, Ben (Richard Burgi) and Meg (Susan Walters) Kramer and their daughter Judy (Aubrey Dollar), who welcome her to their home as a surrogate for their recently deceased daughter.

Her presence in the town affects the townspeople,  prompting them to act on their deepest, darkest, and most evil impulses. Some allow this darkness in while others flock in masses to church for salvation and penance. One of the townspeople that accepts their evil desires is Amber Hargrove, who decides to steal away former flame, Ben Kramer from his grieving wife. There is a battle coming to earth between Good and Evil and it all begins with Christina Nickson and which side she decides to fight on. Will the Kramers be able to appeal to her humanity or is she doomed to be daddy’s little girl of darkness?

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Series Run

After Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air in 2003 and its sister series Angel ended the following year, many of the writers who worked on those shows went on to find work on other television series and some even graduated to developing shows of their own, including Shawn Ryan (The Shield), Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus), Jane Espenson (Warehouse 13), David Greenblatt (Grimm) and Marti Noxon, who co created Point Pleasant with John McLaughlin for the FOX network.

Point Pleasant premiered in early 2005 as a mid-season replacement for then cancelled series North Shore and was paired with similarly teen-centric drama series The OC, which was doing very well for the network in its second season. The show aired for eight consecutive weeks to low ratings, prompting FOX to give its time slot to another genre series, Tru Calling. Point Pleasant returned a couple of months later to air only three more episodes before it was officially cancelled. The final episodes of the series only became available a year later on the DVD set.

The series failed to attract an audience, possibly because of the expectation surrounding it due to Marti Noxon’s involvement. Many viewers tuned in to the series expecting a fun, lighthearted Buffy the Vampire Slayer-type show but instead got a 90210-lite teen supernatural drama set on a beach with occult overtones. The series is an interesting beast, though as it does begin very much like a soap opera with its early episodes before slowly becoming much more interesting when the mythology begins to unravel quickly near the finale.

The cast is mostly good with the strongest performance and most likeable character being Grant Show’s Lucas Boyd, some of whose backstory is revealed in the episode “Last Dance”, the highlight of the first half of the season. Dinah Meyer also has a particularly compelling story arch despite being only a tertiary character. She portrays one of the local townspeople who is tempted by her evil selfish desires and becomes a minor player in the battlefield of good vs evil. The most I can say about Elisabeth Harnois as Christina Nickson is that she is serviceable in the role as the conflicted teen that is struggling to find the good in herself despite everyone insisting that she is or should be evil. The Kramer parents are also good, playing out their separate subplots mostly dealing with their grief of loss of daughter from a year ago. The weakest of the main characters is Judy, a bland and average girl-next-door little sister type. They do try to give her some interesting story lines by throwing in complicated romantic interests for her, but she is played as too average, either overly naive or judgmental.

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The production values of the series are not particularly bad, with some practical effects such as explosions and chase sequences of decent quality. The CGI wasps or locusts that come up from time to time, however, are terrible- very dated and low grade. Composer Danny Elfman provides the theme song to the series which sounds like a precursor to another series’ (Dollhouse) music box-inspired opening theme.

The series begins very soapy and heavy on the teen drama with a love triangle between Christina, Jesse, and his girlfriend, but as the season goes on, the dynamic switches and becomes more nuanced and the conflict of why Jesse and Christina can’t be together becomes much more immediately caustic and interesting. The show spent most of the first half of the season trying to find itself, struggling to be a show that would fall in line with a series like The OC, but as it began to progress, the show’s themes became more poignant and the characters’ morality became more complicated, and the show ended up as less of a melodrama and more of a meditation on the complexity of good and evil. The supposed good guys resorted to horrible actions and justified them as being for the good of humanity, while the bad guys were given insight into the hell that they carry with them as punishments they feel they deserve. The best episodes of the series are the ones that never aired on television, with a final scene that subverts expectation in a remarkable way and changes the game for what may have been an exciting second season.

Some notable cameos in the series are Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, who appears briefly in a couple episodes, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm as a doctor (with an evil secret), and Robert Knepper, who’s probably most known for his role in Prison Break as T-Bag.

Here are a few must see landmark episodes:

“Last Dance” Ep. 1.05: At a dance made to simulate a depression era dance marathon, Christina is paired with Jesse to the chagrin of Jesse’s girlfriend. Also, we learn some back story on Lucas Boyd.

“Hell hath no Fury like a Woman Choked” Ep. 1.10: A person from Lucas’ past (Elizabeth Ann Bennet) returns to make things miserable for him.

“Mother’s Day” Ep. 1.12: Secrets surrounding Christina’s birth are revealed and her mother and Christina reach a turning point.

“Let the War Commence” Ep. 1.13: The season series’ final episode brings everyone’s secrets to light and concludes all of the season’s conflicts with a unique and surprising end.

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Preservation Claim

In the spirit of Sound on Sight’s 31 Days of Horror, I decided to select some horror-related forgotten television. This series fits into the genre of supernatural horror series, being described upon its premiere as The Omen meets Carrie meets The OC.

Despite having been released on DVD, this series can be considered to be forgotten as it has not been given a second chance by most, even with the DVDs featuring two unaired episodes. These are the best episodes of the series and make Point Pleasant definitely worth at least a rental. The DVD set does not have much on bonus material other than a short making of feature.

Since the series ended, co-creator Marti Noxon has recently co-created a yet to be released TV series set called Un-Real and developed another series set to premiere on Bravo in 2015 called Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Grant Show has appeared on Devious Maids and lastly, Elisabeth Harnois can currently be seen as a regular cast member on CSI.

Availability

There is a DVD home video release of the entire 13 episode series. It is most likely not readily available at large retail stores.

Youtube:

All 13 episodes are also available to stream on Youtube.

Amazon:

The DVD is available for purchase.


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