Monday, October 15, 2012

REVIEW: 666 Park Avenue

ABC’s heavily hyped new horror/soap 666 Park Avenue has now been on the air for three weeks. Despite the constant promotion the show debuted to disappointing numbers. What was seen as one of the most likely to succeed shows quickly saw a reversal of fortune. During its second week the numbers went down further to an unintentionally scary place and the coveted demo numbers dipped a little lower for this week’s episode. But the reason for the low numbers can easily be figured out when you realize that the show isn’t offering viewers what the commercials promised them.

The show’s basic premise is that a naïve Midwestern couple (Brothers and Sisters star David Annable and Charlie’s Angels star Rachael Taylor) comes to New York to make it big and in order for them to do so they become the managers of an upscale high rise building that is able to help make their dreams come true. What the couple doesn’t know is that the building’s owner (Terry O’Quinn) is some kind of evil (no one will say if he is actually Satan) that makes deals with the tenants. This is the type of building that welcomes new tenants, but rarely lets them move out. The cast is rounded out with the owner’s wife (Vanessa Williams), who may or may not be involved with his evil deeds, a couple living in the building that includes a husband with a wandering eye (Lipstick Jungle actor Robert Buckley), a psychic teenager, and a surly doorman (Erik Palladino).
If you took out the deals with the devil aspect of the show, you would be left with a night time soap that has been multiple times before. This horror aspect is a fresh twist, except it rarely involves any of the regular actors. Sure, there was a startling elevator attack (literally!) in the pilot. With the exception of O’Quinn most of the characters have steered clear of any spooky happenings. Instead, it’s the guest stars of the week, who viewers have never met – and most likely will never see again – that see all the bad stuff happen to them.  Perhaps if we had met them briefly in a previous episode to build up some kind of relationship or feelings with the character it would add stakes to their eventual demonic dilemma.

With a cast the size that “666 Park” currently has it could definitely afford to put some of them in danger, if not off one or two. As it stands Williams has been woefully underused and some of the characters have actually already been benched during entire episodes. But seriously, what’s a horror series without a few casualties? If Alfred Hitchcock could kill Janet Leigh in Psycho, then ABC can definitely kill Erik Palladino in this, right?

The production value on the show seems high and the actors are all more the capable to handle what they have been given.  It’s not to say that “666 Park Avenue” is bad, because quite frankly it’s not. But in a line-up that includes appointment television like Once Upon a Time and Revenge, “Park Avenue” needs to fix itself. The fixes are easy, but the producers need to cut the fat and tighten the vices on the writers.

No comments:

Post a Comment