You'd think that the citizens of Point Pleasant, New Jersey would have learned the lesson of TWIN PEAKS: beautiful blondes washing up out of the sea are always bad news. Apparently they aren't Lynch fans, nor do they notice the ominous swelling score when the lovely Christina appears in the surf in the middle of an unusual storm. Still, it's no real surprise when mysterious--dare I say it? I do--signs and portents begin infesting the town.
POINT PLEASANT has several things going for it even before the pilot has aired. First is the presence of ex-Mutant Enemy alumni Marti Noxon
The pilot shows potential even if it doesn't really break any new ground. We've seen the "strange happenings in a small town" trope before in TWIN PEAKS, AMERICAN GOTHIC...even EERIE, INDIANA. POINT suffers from the same problem that a lot of "mythology" shows do, where it not only has to establish the basic situation and the various players, but also has to hint at the ongoing mysteries that will unfold over the course of the show. And it's here that POINT PLEASANT makes a rather odd choice: it tips its hand only a few scenes in. Without spoiling anything here, the first scene with James Morrison's character more or less directly confronts the nature of Christina's origins.
Now I'm not sure what the writers are trying here. I'm hoping that they're just tossing us a bucket of red herrings, counting on our knowledge of similar stories that have come before to fill in the blanks the way they want us to, so they can then spend future episodes surprising us. Or perhaps they wanted to make this story less about the big mystery and more about the specifics and the choices Christina will make as the season progresses. Still, if it isn't the former case, I would have thought they'd want to get a bit more mileage out of the mystery. For the time being, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
If nothing else, it's good seeing James Morrison on my TV again. That dude needs his own show.
The Week Rerun:
AND YOU THOUGHT YOUR FOLKS WERE HARSH WHEN YOU BROUGHT SOMEBODY HOME: I'll give the 24 folks credit; I didn't think they'd snuff poor old Debbie before she wound up in some sort of ill-conceived cougar-or-crazed-hillbilly subplot. Also, props to CTU for continuing to place the defense of our country in the hands of the stupidest and most stubborn people in the Western hemisphere.
WHERE MULDERS FEAR TO TREAD: Back in 1995, X-FILES episode "Irresistable" introduced Donny Pfaster, an incredibly disturbing killer and "death fetishist." Show creator Chris Carter originally intended him to be a necrophiliac, but the network blinked. So cheers to MEDIUM for not only featuring a necrophiliac serial killer, but actually opening last Monday's episode with a full-on necrophiliac love scene. Yeesh, all of a sudden NBC thinks it's HBO.
THERE'S FLOWERS IN THAT THERE ATTIC: Let's here it for the writing staff of LOST for dodging all that internet speculation about Shannon and Boone's incest by revealing that their background wasn't technically incest.
Keep your head and hands inside the television, folks...
MONDAY, JANUARY 17
24 (7 PM CST, Fox)
LAS VEGAS (8 PM CST, NBC) "The Lie is Cast." A kind act on Danny's part lands him in trouble with the cops, and Sam and Mike investigate mysterious screams in an elderly couple's room. Well, they say every hotel needs a haunted room.
MURDER BY DEATH (7 PM CST, TCM) I've read plenty of mystery novels in my time, but I can still catch only 75% or so of the in-jokes in Neil Simon's parody of the genre.
MEDIUM (9 PM CST, NBC) "A Couple of Choices." Allison investigates a murder-suicide and someone named David Cubitt joins the cast as Det. Lee Scanlon (and I can't help but recall the classic Bill Cosby "Noah" routine--"What's a cubit?").
CSI: MIAMI (9 PM CST, CBS) "Cop Killer." After a cop is shot to death during a traffic stop, the kid who was riding along with the officer goes missing as well. Say, speaking of ride-alongs, remember that issue of POWERS where Brian Bendis melted fellow comic-writer Warren Ellis? Good times.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 18
AMERICAN IDOL (7 PM CST, Fox) As far as annoying reality television goes, this show is less annoying than many. I still won't ever watch it, but for those who do, it's back. (Season premiere)
SCRUBS (8 PM CST, NBC) "My Ocardial Infarction." Woah, nice title pun!
VERONICA MARS (8 PM CST, UPN) "Pilot." Say, kids, been intrigued by my kind words toward teen supersleuth Miss Mars and company but haven't gotten around to sampling an episode? Here's your chance to catch the very beginning again. (Repeat)
NOVA (Check local listings, PBS) "Supersonic Dream." A look at the history of the supersonic passenger jet Concorde. Do you get extra points for joining the Mile High Club while traveling faster than the speed of sound?
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19
LOST (7 PM CST, ABC) "Special."
POINT PLEASANT (8 PM CST, Fox) "Pilot." Keep James Morrison on my TV, people! We want good ratings! (Series premiere)
THE WEST WING (8 PM CST, NBC) "365 Days." A hostage crisis erupts in Bolivia the day after the State of the Union.
ALIAS (8 PM CST, ABC) "Ice." Syd and company pursue a bioweapon that freezes its victims. If the governor of California shows up and starts spouting horrible, cold-related puns, I'm outta here.
ATOMIC TRAIN (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) If only this had starred Steven Seagal.
DISTRACTION (9:30 PM CST, Comedy Central) In a game show concept so simple I'm amazed it hasn't been done before, contestants must answer questions while painful or unpleasant things are done to them. (Series premiere)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 20
THE O.C. (7 PM CST, Fox) "The Ex-Factor." Alex's ex returns. But then I don't even know who Alex is, so that doesn't mean much to me.
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (7 PM CST, ABC) "You Must Be Trippin'." Wackiness ensues on the sophomore ski trip. Place your bets on how long this show will survive up against THE O.C. Thank you, ABC programming geniuses.
POINT PLEASANT (8 PM CST, Fox) "Human Nature." Christina continues her search for her mother in this week's second new ep.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 21
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (7 PM CST, UPN) "Observer Effect." Aliens study humanity by inhabiting various crew members. Leaping from life to life, striving to set right what once went wrong...
STARGATE SG-1 (7 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Gemini." New episodes of this Sci-Fi staple return as Carter's Replicator clone needs SG-1's help.
STARGATE ATLANTIS (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "The Eye." Major Sheppard tries to rescue Weir and McKay from the soldiers
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (9 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Bastille Day." Richard Hatch begins his guest stint on the show tonight as a convict leader on a prison ship. Forget him, where's Dirk Benedict?
SATURDAY, JANUARY 22
ALADDIN (7 PM CST, ABC) Remember when Disney made good movies?
THAT DARN CAT (7 PM CST, WB) Remember when Disney stopped making good movies?
CANTERBURY TALES (7 PM CST, BBC America) "The Knight's Tale." Two young friends fall for the same woman, but one of them happily agrees to bow out so the other two can live happily ever after. Okay no, not really.
LARVA (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Ravenous parasites." What more do you need to know?
SUNDAY, JANUARY 23
MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (6:30 PM CST, Fox) "Lois Battles Jamie." Guess what happens. Go on, guess.
CHARMED (7 PM CST, WB)
STEPHEN KING'S RIDING THE BULLET (7 PM CST, USA) The most frightening aspect here is the presence of David Arquette.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (7:30 PM CST, Fox) "Queen for a Day." Bluth stock is finally unfrozen and the family wants to take full advantage of their new funds.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (8 PM CST, ABC) "Your Fault." Tom's traveling-salesman dad blows into town, spurring a rash of off-color jokes involving farmer's daughters.
CARNIVALE (8 PM CST, HBO) "Ingram, TX." Dolan continues investigating the Ministry arson and Ruthie has another vision.
BOSTON LEGAL (9 PM CST, ABC) "It Girls and Beyond." A doctor lands in trouble for selling an unapproved diet drug to an obese patient. And hey, I'm enjoying Candice Bergen for the first time...ever, really.
NUMBERS (9 PM CST, CBS) "Pilot." We've had plenty of crime-solving doctors and writers; this new drama from the Brothers Scott (Ridley and Tony) introduces a crime-solving...mathematician?
This concludes our broadcast.
TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column. No polar bears were shot for the making of this article.