Episode 1.01 Writer: David Wilcox Director: Alex Graves
THE ONE WHERE The mysterious owners of imposing apartment block The Drake employ a couple as live-in managers, who soon discover that the place has spooky secrets.
VERDICT Following the success of American Horror Story, it was inevitable that other dark fantasy series would be given the greenlight, and 666 Park Avenue if the first to arrive. But though this is being touted as the next big horror series, 666 Park Avenue is – like American Horror – is the sort of terror-lite that perfectly suits a weekly TV schedule. A soap opera with supernatural overtones, based (loosely) on the original novel by Gabriella Pierce.
The Drake is a large apartment complex owned by the enigmatic Gavin and his wife, Olivia. In this episode we meet Jane and Henry as they apply for the newly-vacated manager’s position at the building.
Quite early on we are introduced to what appears to be the central theme of the show – that all favours come with a price. The show opens with a brilliant concert violinist, who has enjoyed 10 years at the top of his game. He’d made a deal, which he can’t get out of, and the new owner of his soul has come to collect.
Another Drake resident, John, cannot come to terms with the death of his wife and has made a deal with Gavin; Gavin will bring her back to life if John kills a man. The bargain is kept, and Mary is resurrected. But she soon becomes ill again, at which point John discovers that he must keep on killing for Gavin in order for his wife to remain alive. He refuses, and is immediately sucked into the wall by dozens of souls who have left the apartment in the same fashion.
We’re also introduced to Nona, who appears to be the building’s sneak thief, but whose motives seems a little less selfish…
Meanwhile, struggling playwright Brian keeps noticing Alexis, a beautiful young woman who insists on undressing in front of her apartment window, opposite his. He surprised, then, when his unwitting, designer wife hires Alexis as an assistant (meaning she’ll be in the apartment regularly) shortly before wifey has argument with one of the Drake’s elevator doors and ends up in hospital. It looks like Brian is going to get the girl and a successful writing career! We know what the price will be, though…
A good start to the series, though it will be interesting to see how compelling it can remain should the minor weekly deals-gone-bad start to pall.
GREAT PERFORMANCE Terry O’Quinn is perfect as Gavin – a cross between Satan and Oliver Warbucks (albeit without the singing). O’Quinn treads the line between menace and pantomime, and manages to find a character that is both enticing and dangerous.
IT’S HIM FROM THAT THING O’Quinn was a regular in Lost, Hawaii 5-O, Millennium, Alias and many others. Vanessa Williams (Olivia) is best-known for her ongoing role in Ugly Betty. Rachael Taylor was the unlikely uber-hacker in Transformers.
THE ADDRESS of the Drake is actually 999 Park Avenue. We see the 666 only in shadow during the show’s opening credits.
BEST LINES Jane (after seeing John’s hands, which are drenched in blood): “You tend to notice if you cut yourself that bad; it’s a different story when it’s not your blood.”
666 Park Avenue will air in the UK on ITV2, but no confirmed air date as yet