So it’s a new fall line-up for American television and while there are awesome things out there like, the new Supernatural season, an upcoming Green Arrow-inspired series, another installment of the Walking Dead, and an
hilariously melodramatic and kitschy but it’s a guilty pleasure emotional and well-rounded second season for Once Upon a Time. So we’re already over-saturated with shows that you have to see, so why add one more to the list, especially one that looks like a pretty cheesey horror film?
Because 666 Park Avenue is anything but cheesey; looks can really be deceiving for this series that got off on a strong start last week and has more in store for daring viewers.
Following in the wake of series such as American Horror Story, 666 Park Avenue (Based on a novel of the same name, by the way) makes an effort to bring horror into the ABC Sunday night line-up, shaking up the slot and it’s usual offerings. And well I suppose since it’s the Sunday night line-up you get the sort of cliches most people expect from good old ABC: tangled romances, passion, jealousy, a cast with diversity that ranges from blonde to brunette, and token characters who fit into particular stereotyped roles fit for all your apartment needs.
But okay, not-so-innovative casting choices and sub-plot devices aside, 666 does capture the imagination.
It’s certainly no Chainsaw Massacre or Cabin in the Woods, that’s for sure, but within the one hour time-block and beyond the insipid romantic blunders, there is a show with heart. A frightening, devilish heart that believes in poetic justice and ironic deaths it seems, that plays with the whole idea of making “deals with the devil”, and it does it with style. The shots of the Drake residential hotel are fantastic and highlight the high-life and can make any New Yorker (Including me) rather jealous of the vaulted walls, the space that the camera crew emphasizes, the mix of modern architecture with the 1920s flair of the building; the Drake certainly looks and feels like a swank piece of real-estate, albeit a terribly haunted piece of real-estate.
And because it’s a swank apartment, the cast just so happens to be the rich and famous of New York City’s elite, (fittingly) trapped within the Drake’s haunted halls. There are the Dorans, the married owners of the building who embody what it means to be not only rich but powerful, and they are ultimately the type of characters whose offer you cannot refuse. Contrasting the sinister Dorans we have Jane Van Veen and Henry Martin, bright-eyed and hopeful to “make it big” in New York, they’re hired on as the new building managers (A live-in position that gets them an apartment suite that far exceeds expectations). Jane is an architect just wanting for a job and to restore early twentieth century apartments, just like the Drake, but as she digs into the darker history of the Drake, the closer the couple finds themselves in tangling with the inner, sinister workings of the house.
(Of course, they already signed a contract with the Dorans, so they already must have signed over something eternal-soul-related)
Now the pilot also did a most excellent job of the following: scaring the audience and letting the audience know that the entire apartment is a deathtrap from the grand lobby room to the dingy laundry in the basement. The scares are your typical set of jump-scares, light-tricks, and ghostly apparitions messing with just about everything; but shot in such a way that does make it frightening (To a degree, this is still ABC here). I can only expect more (relatively) good scares to come for the audience that’s in here for a moderately scary thrill on a Sunday night. Also interesting enough is that 666 does not hold back when it comes to killing off characters in unsettling ways; elevators seem to be a favorite human crushing device, if that suggests anything.
Did we learn much about our heroes beyond that? No, we got a vague notion of some of the dynamics that run the apartment and we did get to see some people die, and watch as Jane gets up-close and personal with a few of the residential haunts (Only to not remember it the next day, what a plot twist), but hey that’s the point isn’t it?
666 is using the slow drag into the plot as we uncover the mysteries of this apartment alongside Jane, so really we’ll just have to see but right now it is looking pretty strong and I hope it continues! It certainly adds a bit of spice to ABC’s fall line-up (Especially after the less-than-stellar introduction to Once Upon a Time’s new season, although I’m sure Starshine has a few words about that one), and is a show I’ll keep an eye on it, if only for some not-so-scary thrills before the Monday grind.