"Some call it a gift. Some a curse. Six strangers providing the gateway to the other side."
The quad of an unnamed college campus. Nighttime, presumably after a kegger. While a group of kids discuss the future in terms of "malpractice suits" and "recording contracts," we first meet Marian, our protagonist, conversing with friends. Marian looks like Willow from Buffy, but she's duller, slower, and has no chin. Marian is bewildered by the fact that her friends have goals. Jim, one of her dweeby-looking male buddies, points out that she's graduating in a year. Marian announces that she doesn't even have a major picked out, let alone any plans for the future. "Better watch out," says one of her roommates, Linda, who looks like an angry, skinny Christina Ricci, "or you might end up back on your parents' farm in Idaho." "It's Iowa," says Marian correcting her. "Whatever," says her bitchy roommate.
Marian sits in her dorm room and reassures her mother on the phone that she's getting along really well and she's glad she transferred here. While Marian talks to her mother I see she has that Jen Lindley way of talking which sounds like she's crying even when she's not. She also looks like a young Shirley MacLaine the morning after a full night of drinking and doing blow in Vegas with Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis. She tells her mother that she's got her major narrowed down to either "philosophy or history -- or oceanography." Marian, speaking as an art history major who hasn't gone to a museum in years, I can tell you that it doesn't matter what you major in unless you want to go into nursing or accounting. But that's not the point. The important thing is that it's established that Marian is a lost soul. "Well, I'm having a little trouble sleeping," she tells her mother. "No, nothing, just a few nightmares." She changes the subject but her mom doesn't let it drop.
Bedtime. Marian wakes up to the sound of quiet sobbing. At first she thinks it's her bitchy roommate Linda but Linda is fast asleep, and judging from the bottle of prescription pills by her bed, she's not waking up any time real soon. Marian goes into their bathroom. Yes, that's right. Marian and Linda have a private bathroom in their dorm room. Okay, I can forgive Marian and Linda, like Buffy and Willow, for having a really large dorm room. Generally, on television, you want to film in a large space for aesthetic reasons. Viewers tend to get antsy and irritated if they have to watch a show that takes place in the confines of an eight-by-twelve space for too long. Thus you have sets like Monica's gigunda apartment on Friends. But there is no excuse for having a private bathroom in your dorm. Buffy and Willow have to tote their shower paraphernalia down the hall and back, so should Marian and Linda. Marian pours herself a glass of water and notices that the bathtub is full of cloudy water. She reaches in to pull the plug and a (gasp!) young woman with no pupils emerges from underwater and attempts to pull her in. Marian drops her glass of water. Linda wakes up to the sound of Marian crying. She comes into the bathroom to find Marian sobbing in a corner. The tub is empty. The Scary Moment Castrated Boys' Choir starts singing.