Actually, it’s 999 Park Avenue, but when the address on the ritzy New York apartment building is lit from below, the shadow it casts is 666. It’s more than a little obvious, as is the story, even though producers on the panel following the Friday afternoon Comic-Con screening of the pilot in Room 6B claim the show is full of mystery and mythology.
There’s nothing mysterious, nor is it a spoiler, to say that building-owner Terry O’Quinn has the power to enter into contract with its tenants. They perform his dirty deeds in exchange for little supernatural things like bringing their dead wives back to life. Not much is left to imagination in the show when those who break the contract are sucked into a bright light and O’Quinn refers to them as having gone “somewhere warmer”.
Whether or not O’Quinn is the devil, one of his minions, or possibly a force for good doesn’t really matter. I found nothing to indicate in the pilot that it was a question. If you don’t worry about producers forcing a mythology down your throat, it’s perfectly enjoyable without it. Not every TV show needs a mythology and 666 Park Avenue is soapy enough to sustain ongoing stories without one.
Yuppie couple Henry (Dave Annable, Brothers and Sisters) and Jane (Rachael Taylor, The Darkest Hour) impress O’Quinn enough to gain his employ as building managers of historic hotel, The Drake. We meet a handful of its residents, but, more importantly, get a feeling of unlimited potential for future stories. Two such stories are featured in the pilot, one is wrapped up by the end and one promises to continue. It’s hard to know what (or if) the regular weekly pattern might be. Actually, it would be nice to mix it up with a variety of self-contained stories and ongoing storylines.
Vanessa Williams is great as the typical prime time soap “matriarch”. Perhaps more than anyone else, it is her secrets that I want to discover. It may very well be she who is the master puppeteer.
666 Park Avenue makes a perfect fit for an ABC Sunday night show, in the absence of Desperate Housewives. I have a feeling if it focuses on the continuing story more and the weekly anthology less, it could succeed. Unfortunately, it may also need to play down its horrific aspects. The last show to attempt it in the same time slot, The Gates, didn’t fare very well. However, it didn’t have O’Quinn and Williams as the head of its fictional story.