Greetings from Point Pleasant! The scenery is indeed pleasant, but…we need more of a point. Lovely, enigmatic Christina (newcomer Elisabeth Harnois) is pulled from the waters off the New Jersey coast during a Mysterious Storm. She’s the love-hate child of a human (perhaps virgin) woman and Satan, although Christina thinks her dad is just a traveling businessman. In O.C. fashion — no coincidence, perhaps, since Point Pleasant follows the California sudser — Christina is taken in by the family of teen outcast Judy (Aubrey Dollar) while she tries to find her long-gone mom, a former local. Then curious things begin to happen: Nice guy Jesse (Sam Page) — the lifeguard who saved Christina — has dirty dreams about her; his hot-cold girlfriend, Paula (Cameron Richardson), goes into heat; and Judy’s dad, Doc Kramer (Richard Burgi), practically fondles Paula’s posh mom (Dina Meyer) while giving her a physical. Evil, it seems, makes you very horny.
Created by Marti Noxon, producer and writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fox’s Point Pleasant has the vague outlines of a smart supernatural series. Christina, for all her brimstoney backstory, is a lot like a regular teenager. She has a distant dad. She’s struggling between good and (really) bad impulses. Plus, she’s going through a demonic puberty of sorts. ”Her powers are starting to manifest,” boasts Grant Show (Melrose Place), playing Satan’s right-hand man, the guy who’ll nudge Christina hellward. Grinning awkwardly, he sounds as if he’s announcing that the girl just got her first period.
Should Point Pleasant play more cleverly with these themes (what if ”finding the real you” meant corrupting all humankind?), the series might be a treat. As it is now — aside from the grandly smarmy Show — Pleasant is a lazy O.C.–Omen–Carrie rip-off. Faith is a matter of cosmetics (crucifixes, Christian fish emblems, and a pretty young priest), and the show’s scares are limited to ghoulish gurgling sounds, flickering candles, and swarms of bees. Meanwhile, Christina unleashes her anger in tired bursts: slammed doors, gasoline fires, a growling dog zapped into submission. Come on, folks! Beelzebub’s spawn may be many things — cruel, vengeful, lusty — but she can’t be trite.