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Point Pleasant

The devil's daughter, appropriately enough, turns out to be <I>hot</I> -- albeit more in an "OC" kind of way than the scorching fire of Hades. The under-35 set courted by this gothic serial probably doesn't remember "Dark Shadows," but "The Omen," "Needful Things" and even "Buffy" will do, as evil's presence triggers a series of soapy reactions in an otherwise-idyllic town.

The devil’s daughter, appropriately enough, turns out to be hot — albeit more in an “OC” kind of way than the scorching fire of Hades. The under-35 set courted by this gothic serial probably doesn’t remember “Dark Shadows,” but “The Omen,” Stephen King’s “Needful Things” and even “Buffy” will do, as evil’s presence triggers a series of soapy reactions in an otherwise-idyllic town. Reasonably well put together and cast with the usual gorgeous teens and parents, series is a logical “OC” companion, but despite promising elements seems unlikely to exorcise Fox’s demons once ensconsed in its hellacious Thursday timeslot.

The best-looking beach in New Jersey (shot in San Diego) gets a jolt when the weather turns bad and a teenage girl washes in with the tide. Christina (Elisabeth Harnois) is searching for her mortal mom and speaks obliquely about her dad, whose horny heritage has left her with budding supernatural powers.

In the interim, Christina takes up residence with a local family, getting friendly with the awkward daughter, Judy (Aubrey Dollar), while setting events in motion regarding other local kids and parents. For starters, she’s attracted to Jesse (Sam Page), the strapping lifeguard who rescued her, which doesn’t please his girlfriend Paula (Cameron Richardson), who naturally responds by bedding down one of Jesse’s friends.

The world of teen-oriented soaps, of course, is such that Paula’s mom (Dina Meyer) also lusts after Judy’s dad (Richard Burgi). Although casting traditionally allows for some license in these matters, according to the Internet Movie Database, the fetching Meyer was born 12 years before her “teenage” daughter Richardson, whose past roles include straddling a mechanical bull on behalf of Carl’s Jr.

Exec producer Marti Noxon is a “Buffy” veteran, and although “Pleasant” is less action-oriented and fanciful, the show does offer plenty of layers to peel away. Potentially fertile plot strands range from locating Christina’s mother to a mysterious servant of Satan, I guess, played by Grant Show, who obliquely talks about the girl fulfilling her destiny.

It’s all played a bit too earnestly to achieve true camp, but that doesn’t mean the show can’t find a modest audience if it plunks these chords right — side-stepping, along the way, the potholes of being too derivative to keep the younger crowd hooked.

If that tricky feat of choreography can be achieved, then the good news is that the producers will be motivated to avert Armageddon for several years — at least, until “Point Pleasant” is pointed toward an afterlife in syndication.

Point Pleasant

Fox, Wed. Jan. 19, 9 p.m.

  • Production: Filmed in San Diego by 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producers, Marti Noxon, Marty Adelstein, Dawn Parouse, Neal Moritz; co-executive producers, Alice West, Ben Edlund, Andrea Newman, Rick Rosenthal; director, Tucker Gates; writers, John J. McLaughlin, Noxon;
  • Crew: camera, Cort Fey; editors, Sue Blainey, Michael Ross; music, Robert Duncan, Robert Cairns; production designers, Donna Haitin, Stephen Storer; casting, Barbara Fiorentino, Rebecca Mangieri. 60 MIN.
  • Cast: Christina Nickson - Elisabeth Harnois Lucas Boyd - Grant Show Jesse Parker - Sam Page Judy Kramer - Aubrey Dollar Amber Hargrove - Dina Meyer Paula Hargrove - Cameron Richardson Terry - Brent Weber Meg Kramer - Susan Walters Dr. Ben Kramer - Richard Burgi
  • Music By: