666 PARK AVENUE: Terrible Apartment Building. Terrific TV.

Opinion, Preview, Recaps, Reviews, TV No Comments 0

Have you ever dreamt about what it would be like to be among New York City’s elite? To have disposable income, wear the finest in clothing and live in a killer apartment?  Dream no more, because ABC’s new show 666 Park Avenue will give you all that, and it’s a nightmare (the dream, NOT the show).

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

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Jane & Henry (Rachael Taylor & Dave Annable) are a young couple living together in New York City; Queens to be exact. Like most people they’ve realized that Queens really has nothing going on, so they’ve decided to move.  While searching apartments on Craigslist they happen upon an ad that The Drake Apartment Building on 999 Park Avenue is seeking a new resident manager.  Jane, having a degree in architecture, lands the job.

The owners of The Drake, Gavin & Olivia (Terry O’Quinn & Vanessa Williams) seem to be looking for something more than just a new resident manager.  “I like her spirit.” says Olivia.  “She’s how we get Henry,” replies Gavin.  Henry might be what this nefarious couple is after, but Jane is really our protagonist in this show.

 

This is a great plot device.  At one moment in the show, Jane hears something strange in the hallway and gets out of bed, without waking Henry, and walks down the spooky stairwell of the building – at night, alone, following some faceless character that won’t answer her calls – and did I mention she’s alone?  I began to think, “Why is this pretty blonde girl going down those stairs alone? Hasn’t she ever seen a horror movie? This is so unbelievable.” But then I realized it was totally believable. She’s the resident manager of The Drake. This is her job.  This leaves the show wide open for Jane to be put in all sorts of scary situations, and it’s believable.  Well done, ABC.  Well done.

This is gonna be a great show for all involved, but I think it’ll be particular good for O’Quinn & Williams. Their characters have so much history and depth right away in episode one.  They own this evil building, they seem to know it’s evil and they’re ok with that.  Plus at one point it’s mentioned that they had a daughter who died in a car accident.  If that’s not character motivation, I don’t know what is.

O’Quinn is well known for playing John Locke on, ABC’s Lost.  Locke was one of my favorite characters for a while but in the end his body was taken over by some crazy, powerful, angry demon spirit.  O’Quinn, who was a great “good guy”, was an even better “bad guy”.  Gavin in 666 Park Avenue seems to be where John Locke would have gone had Lost continued.  I can understand why this role interested him.

Williams’ character has seemingly little knowledge as to what Gavin is up too, leaving the show open to take her character in one of two directions: the first, discovering the dubious depths of his plotting and turning on him; the second, revealing that she is the puppet master and he’s her puppet. My gut tells me it’ll be the latter.

One other character I think worth mentioning is Nona (Samantha Logan).  Nona is a young resident of the building, and even though this is only the pilot, I have the feeling she might be a ghost and that only Jane can see her.  Here’s why I think this: First when we meet Nona, Jane & Henry have just arrived to the building for their interview. Nona asked the doorman for a package.  It’s well done but the doorman doesn’t really seem to answer her.  She has a few lines with Jane and says to her, “I hope you get the job.”  How the heck did she know Jane was applying for any job? Weird. And second, she looks like she could be the daughter of Gavin and Olivia. The casting seems too intentional.

But this is all speculation. I could be completely off the mark.  At one point, the show seems almost cliché. Twenty minutes in I could follow two plot points and begin to predict what was going to happen.  And then something else completely unexpected would take place.  I found myself on the edge of my seat.  And I realized this show has so much potential, it can go anywhere.  Anything could happen.

It’s a “scary” show, but it not really pigeon holed into that.  It feels like a mix of SF and fantasy plus mystery, plus spooky intensity.  And it’s sexy.  Who doesn’t love sexy? This is TV at its most fun!  I’ll be the watching the pilot again on Sunday.  This show is worth your time and it could really go in so many directions and I want to see where it goes.  I repeat: Well done ABC.  Well done.

666 Park Avenue premieres Sunday, September 30th, at 10/9p on ABC.

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