666 Park Avenue is the glitzy new paranormal series from ABC, based on the 2011 novel by Gabriella Pierce. Three episodes in, the TV series still has reasonable potential and is generally enjoyable to watch, but this viewer at least isn’t hooked yet.
The premise – Young up and coming couple, Jane Van Been (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable) are the new building managers at the historic Drake apartment building in New York. The complex is owned by billionaire, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn) who, if he’s not Satan himself, he’s something pretty close. Gavin makes deals with the various characters, giving them what they most desire in exchange for usually something pretty heinous. He’s also grooming Henry for some as yet unknown secret evil plan. All the while there’s something mysterious and creepy about the Drake building that is drawing Jane closer and closer to some kind of evil danger. Think The Devil’s Advocate (1997) meets a really tame version of the first season of American Horror Story meets Lost and you’ll get a rough idea of what we’re dealing with.
The show looks quite flash and is rather nicely shot, even if a lot of the outside shots of the Drake are exactly the same stock. It’s one of those New York series where everyone has amazing clothes and awesome jobs, but at least in this one there seems to be a bit of a deal-with-the-devil pay off explaining all of the glamour. The cast is decent across the board save Dave Annable who is flat and stiff and overall unconvincing in his character. O’Quinn makes a good Devil (if that’s who he turns out to be).
The paranormal horror aspects are significantly low key – bleeding walls, creepy children, mysterious noises, people getting sucked into weird vortex walls. There isn’t really that much to impress a seasoned fan of supernatural TV or movies but it’s passable even if prosaic.
Mystery and intrigue are the show’s biggest draw cards – what’s the deal with Gavin? What’s behind that wall? Who’s that creepy little girl? And the rest of it…. That’s where the Lost parallel comes into it, well that and Terry O’Quinn. I predict the show will continue milking that sense of mystery as much as Lost did, but that’s only going to be successful if psychological interest in the characters can be maintained since there’s nothing at all innovative about the supernatural elements. At the moment, it’s hanging by a thread.
Three episodes into the first series and I’ll probably go back for a fourth, but I’m uncertain if this will end up being anything of a must watch.