TV First Impression: “666 Park Avenue”

Written by First Impression, Television

Kelly Stitzel gives her thoughts on the new ABC horror-drama 666 Park Avenue.

ABC, Sundays, 10:00 P.M.

When I first read about the premise for 666 Park Avenue, I thought it sounded interesting — a couple moves into a posh New York City apartment building that they are hired to co-manage and learns that it and its tenants are likely possessed by an evil (aka satanic) force. It’s based on a novel, which I’ve never read, but I thought it sounded like it might be on par with the 1977 horror film The Sentinel, which I love, so I figured I’d give it a go. I’ll tell you right now that if the second episode isn’t leaps and bounds better than the first, I won’t be adding it to my TV rotation.

Dave Annable and Rachel Taylor star as Henry and Jane, a relatively boring couple hired to co-manage the The Drake, a fancy apartment building located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, by its wealthy, mysterious owners, Gavin and Olivia Doran (Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams). Based on the interactions between Gavin and various individuals throughout the episode, one is supposed to assume this dude is the devil, or at least one of his right-hand men. And that’s fine — if anyone can play an evil guy, it’s Terry O’Quinn (for me, he will always be The Stepfather). People make deals with him, then ultimately they fuck things up and wind up paying the price. Clearly these people have never heard about making deals with people who even act like the devil.

As Rachel and Dave settle into their new home and jobs, they begin meeting the motley crew of weirdos who live and work in the building, including the doorman (played by Erik Palladino, whom I enjoy and hope gets to make someone die by spinning them around too fast in some revolving doors), a playwright and his fashion photographer wife, and a teenager who steals shit so she can get psychic impressions from the items she takes. Rachel starts digging into the history of the building and as she does, strange things start happening (of course they do). She has a weird dream about a lady warning her to leave the building right before she jumps off the top of it. But, ultimately, she and Dave are not bothered by any weird shenans and sign a contract to become the permanent managers of the building. Get it? They signed a contract. Written by Terry O’Quinn, the devil man. In other words, they are screwed.

I have to say, I was so bored by the first 3/4 of this show, I almost gave up on it and went to bed. Nothing exciting happens until 45 minutes in, when the annoying fashion photographer gets attacked by an elevator. And a few minutes before the episode ends, a guy gets eaten by some ugly wallpaper. So, I’m glad I decided to be a professional and stick with it. Most of the performances given here are either overly hammy or underwhelming, the pacing was super slow, and the dialogue was boring, so had it not been for some inanimate objects attacking people at the end, I would have just written this show completely off. But I’m going to give it a chance — a very tenuous chance — and I have a feeling that most other viewers probably feel the same way. If this show doesn’t step up its game, I don’t see it making it past November sweeps.