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20th Century Fox presents
Point Pleasant: The Complete Series (2005)

"Where am I?"
- Christina (Elisabeth Harnois)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 24, 2005

Stars: Elisabeth Harnois, Grant Show, Aubrey Dollar, Sam Page
Other Stars: Dina Meyer, Richard Burgi, Cameron Richardson, Brent Weber, Susan Walters, John Diehl, Marcus Coloma, Adam Busch, Clare Carey, Alex Carter
Director: James Contner, Mel Damski, Tucker Gates, Marita Grabiak, Michael Lange, Chris Long, Rick Rosenthal, Lev L. Spiro, David Straiton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 10h:00m:00s
Release Date: October 25, 2005
UPC: 024543206316
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BBB+ C-

DVD Review

Writer/director/producer Marti Noxon's involvement with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel earned her a rather faithful and well-deserved fan following of her own. That seemed to bode well for Point Pleasant, in which she teamed up with John McLaughlin (Carnivale) to create this short-lived mid-season Fox series that debuted in January 2005, marrying the primetime drama hot teen shenanigans of The O.C. (only this time set on the opposite coast, in New Jersey) with the obligatory supernatural Dark Shadows occult twist.

Call it a Gothic soap opera.

It only lasted eight episodes before it got the axe (thanks Fox), but Internet rumors had cropped up well before its cancellation heralding the early, inevitable demise of Point Pleasant, effectively killing any motivation for fans to stick with it.

This three-disc set carries all thirteen episodes of the series, including the five that never aired, but the glaring absence of any commentaries or involvement from the obviously slighted Noxon (aside from a quickie "making of" on disc three) makes this seem like a simple stab at recouping some cash, and not a particularly gushy fan-friendly offering. That's too bad for a number of reasons, the least of which is because the narrative really came together during the tail end of the series run, and being something of a Noxon supporter myself, I would have liked to see where she might have taken things.

The setup seems ideal for the confines of episodic television, with the mysterious arrival of sexy young waif Christina Nickson (Elisabeth Harnois), who literally washes ashore in the sleepy hamlet of Point Pleasant, New Jersey and proceeds to turns things all topsy turvy. She has no real clue who she is or how she got there, but she's a woman on a mission: it seems that her mother—someone she never knew—was from the very same town. Christina, occasionally plagued by some weird visions and dreams, is taken in by kindly Doctor Kramer (Richard Burgi), his wife Meg (Susan Walters) and daughter Judy (Aubrey Dollar) as she begins to track down her family roots, but in the process it seems her mere presence in the town has unlocked all sorts of secret desires and repressed thoughts in the locals. To say that Christina becomes a smoldering wedge between hunky lifeguard Jesse (Sam Page) and his bitchy galpal Paula (Cameron Richardson) is putting it mildly.

And did I mention Christina has the innate ability to cause bad things to happen?

It was telegraphed fairly heavily in the show's promos that Christina, she of those wonderfully sleepy eyes and pouty lips, is "the child of darkness", the genuine offspring of the Devil. That reveal is just a nugget, because even though it takes the characters an interminable amount of time to reach the same conclusion, viewers are basically in on the wispy elements of the secret from the get go, perhaps diminishing a little of the potential sparkle in the dramatic payoff. That leaves Lucas Boyd (Grant Show), sort of the Devil's right hand man, to lurk in the shadows, keeping a watchful eye on Christina for his boss as she continues her search for her real mother, digging into the dirt of Point Pleasant and stirring up steamy TV lust and dark religious themes along the way.

The series is full of good-looking people, and I'm all for Dina Meyer, perfectly cast as the oversexed mother of bad girl Paula, with her eyes (and other body parts) set on the good Dr. Kramer. That's the kind of cheesy good fun Noxon wants to showcase here, but the show is a little slow out of the gate, with the first ep (Pilot) awkwardly waffling back and forth between vague supernatural elements and standard, TV drama "hot loin action" while introducing the assorted characters, and it isn't until episode three (Who's Your Daddy?), penned by The Tick creator Ben Edlund, when things begin to hit their collective stride. It's here that the fundamental groundwork gets laid out for the rest of the season, and it's a little ironic that the first of the unaired episodes (Waking The Dead) really high steps the devil's daughter storyline into gear.

The trouble with a series like this is that it seems custom made for cliffhangers and perpetual twists to keep viewers hanging on. With this three-disc set, don't expect everything to be tied in neat bow by the final episodes. Enough forward advancement happens to make what occurs fairly satisfying, though again I'm left to wonder how Noxon might have resolved things if she had been given a second season.

I would have watched.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: It always seems like it's better to wait for these television sets to come out on DVD, because at least we get them in anamorphic widescreen. Case in point here, with all thirteen episodes of Point Pleasant presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, enchanced for 16x9 televisions. Image detail is fairly strong, though it isn't particularly razor sharp, but colors look decent, and fleshtones appear natural. There is quite a bit of fine grain throughout, however.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 surround track is effective, despite lacking any major flash. Dialogue is clear and a moderately wide soundstage across the front channels. Not a whole lot of rear channel cues, mostly some minor score elements, but the presentation is adequate.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 156 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
3-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: This three-disc set comes housed in a pair of thin NexPak cases (discs one and two share a case), inside of a cardboard slipcase. The back cover of each case has short plot summaries and original air dates for each ep, though the only supplement shows up on the third disc. It's Making of Point Pleasant (14m:41s), a frothy EPK-like talk about the series from Marti Noxon and most of the cast, intercut with scenes from various episodes. Not much to learn here that we didn't already know going in.

Each 43-minute episode is split into 12 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Fox cancelled it after eight episodes, so it must have had some potential, and at least fans know have the chance to see how it all played out with the release of this "complete series" three-disc set.

Recommended.

 


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