DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
666 Park Avenue takes place at a New York City apartment building called the Drake, but the actual address is 999 Park Avenue. The newly hired manager, Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) moves in with her boyfriend, Henry Martin (Dave Annable). Jane helps to upkeep the historic building while Henry works at the mayor’s office. The building’s owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn), and his wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams) always seem friendly but they secretly manipulate the dreams, desires and ambitions of the tenants living there.
They are somehow connected with the building and its supernatural energy.
I would not have begun watching this drama if it weren’t for Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams. They don’t strike me as people who would choose their next project lightly. It’s not like these two haven’t done soapy material or supernatural based shows before but 666 Park Avenue has this overall hokey feel to it.
A horror serial taking place in an apartment building is nothing new. In fact, I just realized why this drama seemed so familiar to me. I had made a movie when I was only a kid that was similar to this plot here. More recently, BBC’s Bedlam is about strange incidents happening to the residents of the same apartment complex. Except that takes place in a renovated insane asylum. So the subject matter of this drama isn’t a fresh concept. That’s why it’s imperative that the show tries to play up a completely unique element.
I haven’t seen that happen yet. It’s obvious that the show is trying to incorporate a lot of elements from our favorite horror movies. One such classic, The Shining, comes to mind but seeing those disparate tidbits has me wishing that Stephen King was one of the lead writers on the drama. Or at least a producer. He’s one person that can make hokiness work.
I think, by and large, the writing has to scare people for a show of this nature. As a viewer, we are trying to buy the fact that this building is alive and is somehow the cause of all these strange occurrences. But we see Gavin going about his evil deeds way too frequently. So besides the demonic building, there is no mystery about the storylines.
Despite that, I think the drama is lucky to have both Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams as part of its cast. Terry O’Quinn is so great at drawing me in with his friendliness and every man demeanor but then there’s his demonic wink that makes me second guess his sincerity.
Similarly, Vanessa Williams oozes with charm and elegance until she switches on that bitch switch.
Though it’s interesting to see how Gavin and Olivia approach their prey in different ways and it’s apparent in how they are sizing up Henry. Gavin knows that Henry is honest and loyal and isn’t eager to do anything that would jeopardize his position at City Hall. It feels like Gavin is happy to play that cat and mouse game with him. While Olivia would rather that they quickly discover his weakness so they can get on manipulating him. However, I get the sense that Olivia may just be following Gavin’s will.
As for Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable, I’m not in love with their characters. They lack that je ne sais quoi which makes me want to root for them.
Gavin wants to manipulate Henry and his plan is to reach him through Jane. Henry is starting to tip the scale Gavin’s way. Jane’s relationship with Gavin seems to be from a practical standpoint so it’s up to Olivia to work her way into Jane’s heart. Perhaps I need to wait for more backstory on Henry and Jane before I completely make up my mind about them but for now they’re one-dimensional and pretty boring. And certainly, their acting doesn’t make me think otherwise either.
Overall, the scare factor of the show is okay. Things go bump in the night. Nightmares are extremely telling. It’s all manipulated by music and sound effects. I think the show could go a tad scarier if they try not give the viewer all the details in the forefront.
Other than that, I’m not sure how much scarier they could go if the aim was to go really twisted (like say, American Horror Story) as this is a network program. However, that’s not a requirement to make a scary program on network TV. It just takes creative ability. I stuck around with Bedlam for the whole 1st series so I’ll stick around for a couple more episodes to see if it’ll improve.