Friday, January 21, 2005

THE BOX: "Pleasant" lacks any point

"Point Pleasant", the new fox drama by former “Buffy” executive Marti Noxon, delivers a lot of sex, possible potential, and little else. The story follows the fate of Christina (Christ?) Nickson (President Nixon?) as she washes up on the shore of a beach town. A local family takes her in to fill the void of their dead daughter. Christina searches churches for clues to the mother she never knew. All of this is a test of her true power arranged by friends of her father, the devil.

As the newest network genre drama, PP is nothing more than a shadow of it’s great genre processors. While “Buffy” and “Angel” used monsters as a metaphor for problems most people encounter in there teens and twenties, “Point Pleasant” is only skin deep… And there is a lot of skin. The pilot alone featured at least three different sex scenes and plenty of subtext. The adults are even more over sexed than the teens in this quiet beach town. I doubt we’ll have a “Christina loses her virginity” episode like those in most teen dramas. The beach setting makes is possible to have the main characters in string bikinis and Paris-Britney styled low slung pants nonstop. While I’m quite far from prudish, the amount of blatant sexuality in the show has no reason or art behind it. It’s as cheap a ploy as "Temptation Island".

That aside, the second episode – far superior to the pilot - offered more possibilities for an evolving plot entangled in religion and specifically the duality of man. I’m giving the show a lot of credit at this point. I’m not saying it’s there; I’m saying it’s possible it could one day be there. The second episode offers up the commencement of the Apocalypse and Christina’s apparent role – Sound familiar? If the writers go deeper than the skin, the show has solid possibilities.

"Point Pleasant" does master one skill perfectly, casting. From the parents, to the girl next door, to the newest members of Evil, Inc. everyone is gorgeous. The eye candy alone makes the show bearable for just about everyone. No matter your taste for angelic blondes, girl next door red heads, dirty divorcees, bronzed boy scout beefcake, or dark and delicious young priests… all are present in Point Pleasant.

Where do we go from here? The show is “90210” crossed with “Dark Shadows”. Unfortunately, PP fails to capture the gothic poetry of “Dark Shadows”, the paranoid intrigue of “The X-files”, or the greater message metaphors of the Buffyverse – the three best works of genre television. PP’s greatest down fall is the lack of foundation. There is nothing beneath the surface. On the other hand, the show lends to great possibilities due to the creative forces in the background. This is Marti Noxon after all. Let’s remember too, that the first season of “Buffy” was quite bad as it was bogged down with creating and explaining the concept of the slayer, Hellmouth, and the vampire with a soul.

Time is of the essence. The biggest hurdle facing PP is that it’s on Fox. The network isn’t really renown for nurturing shows with promise. After all, they gave “Wonderfalls” only 4 weeks and switched its time slot twice in that duration. Since PP’s lacking the artistic brilliance and critical clout of “Arrested Development”, it must find an audience and do it fast.

Since nothing else is on at 9 p.m. on Thursday, I recommending tuning in. You’re at least guaranteed the eye candy.

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