The Drake, located at 999 Park Avenue, might appear to be a desirable address, but new building managers Jane and Henry Martin are about to discover otherwise…
A haunted apartment series starring Lost’s Terry O’Quinn as the owner and apparently the devil incarnate—writes itself, surely?
And that’s the biggest problem with ABC’s new show, 666 Park Avenue. From opening shot to closing theme, it is entirely predictable so closely does it hew to the current dramatic structures of episodic television. It is tiresomely simple to play along, calling each dramatic development and so-called ‘twists and turns’ minutes before they happen on screen.
It’s a shame because, drawing on similar inspirations, American Horror Story did this stuff so much better last year. That show was completely unpredictable in its narrative, so much so that anything coming after has a big reputation to live up to. 666 Park Avenue certainly fails on that score.
It’s not that it is bad. It’s a perfectly lush, watchable television production, with attractive actors put through their all-too-familiar paces. O’Quinn plays the role of building owner and mystery evil exactly as you’d imagine he would. Ugly Betty’s Vanessa Williams as his wife seems to be channelling the kind of upper crust character you’d expect her to play. The jury’s still out on leads Australian Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), although they are a little on the bland side.
There’s a lot that could be done with a pseudo-anthology horror series like this, but on the evidence offered so far it appears that ABC is happy to settle for the same old nonsense… I hope viewers will be more discriminating…
Verdict: Predictable—and therefore boring—haunted house drama that offers nothing new or engaging.
Episode 1 ‘Pilot’: 5/10
Brian J. Robb