Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pilot Review: 666 Park Avenue

666 Park Avenue (ABC)
Premiered September 30 at 10pm

There are certain shows whose positive elements I can recognize while acknowledging they’re just not for me. The notion of the devil I can tolerate, as in “Reaper,” for instance, but the sight of dead people appearing in laundry rooms I cannot. This show isn’t as immersed in horror elements as “American Horror Story,” but it still finds time to try to terrify its audiences (without necessarily making them jump) while balancing the constant creepy element f the devil lurking nearby. More than anything, this is a perfect role for Terry O’Quinn. He owns this show as Gavin Doran, delivering every deadly serious speech with a magnificent blend of intimidation and friendliness. I’m hopeful that Vanessa Williams’ part will be similarly intriguing, though it’s not clear how involved she is in her husband’s business. I’m less impressed with the two technical “stars,” Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable, whose characters and performances lack depth. I’m very pleased to see Mercedes Masohn on a primetime show so soon after the cancellation of “The Finder,” though with a husband cheating on her with her assistant and elevator doors trying to jam her to death, things aren’t looking too good for her. This is truly an old-fashioned horror show, with Jane spending some time in the library reading up about the building’s history and dreaming about walking outside then waking up with dirty feet. Everyone knows that it’s not a good idea to accept a $4,000 dress from someone else, or to investigate a weird noise in the hallway of an apartment building in the middle of the night. Plainly, this may provide decent scares, but it’s hardly a fully cohesive show. One scene in particular, the attempting stabbing interposed with the concert, was very choreographed, which suggests that this show is all about having a dark side. I just know that’s not for me.

How will it work as a series? It would seem inherently difficult to sustain this as a full series since it would require weekly guests sifting in and out of the show’s plot, since Gavin can’t devote all of his attention to his new tenants only. It would actually make sense for the primary characters to rotate, unless Henry, or, more likely, Jane, possesses some quality that makes her immune to the influences of the devil.
How long will it last? ABC was intensely promoting this show along with its big hit from last year, “Revenge.” The ratings, however, were not impressive, especially compared with the pilot numbers for “Pan Am” and “GCB,” the two most recent shows to hold this time slot that petered out of existence. I think ABC will give this show a shot, but it’s going to have to do better if it wants to make it to another year.

Pilot grade: C+

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