666 Park Avenue
Your New Address for Raw Sewage!
I was somewhat apprehensive about seeing 666 Park Avenue. The name alone reeked of severe hackery, and the sort of on-the-nose, over-the-top mentality that promises to be hugely popular as little more than a prime time soap opera which might be enjoyed by those that have not only never heard of subtlety, but find TMZ to be far too nuanced for their tastes.
But I love Terry O’Quinn, and I assume he still has enough “Fuck You” money from Lost that he would only choose a project that brought something more to the table. I went in with my mind as open as it ever is, despite the glove slap to the face that is the show’s name, and the inclusion of Vanessa Williams in the cast.
No one that held a starring role in the film Eraser is ever going to endear themselves to my dark little heart.
The show did nothing to allure me when it took literally two minutes for them to use a low vantage shot of an ominous building on a dark and stormy night. Had there been a lonesome wolf’s howl or a shadowy figure silhouetted in a window I would have stopped right then and there, burned my television and coated the ash with holy water so that such pathetic evil could not find its way into this world.
The show revolves around The Drake, an apartment building located at 999 Park Avenue in New York; because you see, that’s just like 666 but – and here is where it gets complicated – upside down… or downside up depending on who you ask. The cast of characters is as weak and clichéd an ensemble to be created since some fool handed Dean Koontz a pen.
The unproductive, weak-willed, voyeuristic writer, identifiable as such because he a) wears glasses, b) dresses like some strange hipster / metrosexual cross, and c) is consistently unshaven. He has a controlling, bitch photographer wife that bullies him as he stares at the blonde neighbor girl that can spend a fortune on a huge Park Avenue apartment, but can’t put together $29.95 for some drapes.
The wide-eyed couple that takes the job as managers of The Drake who haven’t been able to hack it in the big, scary city even though she is an architect and he is a lawyer. They go around with their midwesternesque naiveté that is somehow supposed to make them relatable, but is totally lost when you consider her skinny Manhattan looks and his movie star jawline; which he manages to never shave, despite working for the fucking mayor.
The evil pair that own The Drake with Terry O’Quinn as “not the devil, we swear” in the least convincing portrayal of “not the devil” since Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate…until you found out – spoilers – that he is the devil. Vanessa Williams tries to pull off some sort of evil stepmother / succubus vibe which manages to be worse than Lana Parrilla in Once Upon a Time. A truly magical feat.
There are a few others: the man who makes a deal to bring back his wife, the sassy girl that doesn’t seem to have a job, the…oh, just save yourself the trouble and gouge out your eyes.
There’s some vague paranormal goings on, lots of derivative piano music with poorly executed jump scares that fail to tighten the sphincter, since you can’t care enough about the characters, the atmosphere, or the plot to be paying that much attention.
The acting is passable only because the characters are so patently cookie-cutter that any fourth-grader that can don a top hat, monocle, and a fake mustache to twirl could pull them off. It isn’t as enjoyably preposterous as American Horror Story, it isn’t as much an investigation into temptation and human fallibility as Damages, and you’ll get more frights watching an episode of Ghost Hunters.