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666 Park Avenue: Pilot

"Why would anybody ever want to leave this?"

666 Park Avenue has all the ingredients for one heck of a killer show. It's got a New York setting (a city I can't get enough of), a creepy premise, and one jaw-dropping cast. Really, if the show ends up misfiring, it would be quite the embarrassment. Thankfully, it looks like this supernatural drama could end up working, with a few adjustments.

First off, the cast just might be the most impressive on television at the moment. It's literally a who's who of awesome TV stars from the epic coupling of Terry O'Quinn (Lost) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty) to Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), Rachael Taylor (Grey's Anatomy), Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill) and Helena Mattsson (Nikita). I've enjoyed each of these actors before immensely (although Williams is at the top of my list) and I'm happy to report that they all seem to fit their roles well so far. Of course, Dave and Rachael as the show's main couple were given the most focus, and they managed to pull off an endearing and charming little dynamic. Henry and Jane feel like living, breathing and potentially dynamic characters. Even though Rachael was the least impressive of the cast coming into the show, I found Jane quite likeable. Consider me pleasantly surprised.

As for the premise itself, I'm intrigued by the fact that they immediately painted Quinn's character as hell on earth. His sinister machinations were far from subtle, which was a jarring choice. The show would benefit from developing his one-note devil character, perhaps through his relationship with Olivia. Speaking of Mrs. Doran, Vanessa Williams was, of course, excellent as always, and I'm excited to see where they take her next. She was magnificent on Ugly Betty and a highlight on Desperate Housewives in its final seasons (although she ended up playing practically the same character). I'm looking forward to seeing her own a purely dramatic and hopefully multidimensional role.

I'm curious to see how further episodes of the show will play out. The writers have mentioned a "resident of the week" type template which has me a bit worried as I'm a fan of standalones. The guy with the bloody hands and dead/undead wife just didn't do it for me in the pilot, and I was far from invested in his plight. I'd really like to see the show embrace its mythology and employ long-term arcs that twist and turn. The series premiere didn't really have any mind-blowing surprises, which is unfortunate as pilots are usually much more thrilling. Even the cliffhanger was pretty unexciting, with little Nona getting a very bizarre vision of Jane being chased in the red dress. Nevertheless, I adore the cast so much that I'm willing to give the show a couple of episodes to really reel me in and step things up a notch.

Finally, I must say that the pilot itself looks gorgeous. This is a high-quality production and it shows on screen. The cinematography is just superb, with stunning interiors and beautifully-framed shots. If nothing else, 666 Park Avenue is a visually arresting delight.

Sinister Snippets:

- The violinist bleeding during his performance was an effective opener. His being sucked through the door however was cringe-worthy.

- Rachael Taylor looks breathtaking in that red dress.

- I'm intrigued by Robert Buckley's arc with his wife's new assistant. He's a likeable actor and Helena Mattsson is a gorgeously seductive creature.

- I wonder where they'll take the whole mosaic development.

- Does Vanessa Williams even age? Seriously every time I see her she looks even more spectacular.

- The elevator repeatedly smashing Brian's wife was probably the episode's only shocking scene. More of these, please.

- Somehow, stupid old me didn't see the twist with Nona being the thief coming. Still, it's not the most gripping development.

- I kind of wish the show was more over-the-top a la American Horror Story. It's a bit too subdued for my taste so far.

While not as compelling as I was hoping it would be, the 666 Park Avenue pilot still displayed glimmers of potential that the show will hopefully tap into.

2.5 out of 5 red dresses.

Previously posted at Nad's Reviews.


  1. Great review, Nadim. You managed to put into words exactly what I was feeling about the show.

    I really wanted to love this one, but I didn't. Unlike you, the only character that I really liked was Terry O'Quinn, but he was too one-dimensional. The others were all right, but none of them left me feeling that I just had to know what was going to happen next.

    I will stick with it for another few shows, but I, too, feel as if it has failed to live up to its potential.

  2. Thank you Chris!

    That line you said perfectly epitomized what I felt. "I really wanted to love this one, but I didn't".

    Hopefully the show will improve and become the twisty, haunting production I know it has the potential to be!


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