Welcome to The Drake, aka 666 Park Avenue, where all of your dreams can come true… for a price. And for ABC, their dream is for viewers to catch on to this new glossy supernatural sudser, which is a very valid wish indeed since the show is extremely worthy for an extended stay on the Alphabet network’s schedule.
Loosely based (and we do mean loosely) on the 2008 novel by Gabriella Pierce, ABC’s adaptation of 666 Park Avenue centers around a young couple, Henry Martin (Dave Annable) and Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor), who have just secured a new job as the building managers of The Drake, an apartment building in the Upper East Side owned by Gavin Doran (Terry O’ Quinn) and his wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams). Henry and Jane feel like they have hit the jackpot with their new job and new apartment, but unbeknownst to the happy couple and some other residents in the building, the Drake is also home to a supernatural entity feeding off the desires of the Drake’s occupants. Plus, Gavin, the man behind the evil of the Drake, didn’t hire Jane and Henry on a whim, either…
First and foremost, 666 Park Avenue is in no shape, way, or form American Horror Story, or rather an American Horror Story knock-off. Both shows have their own style and execution, which differentiate the two greatly. AHS is gritty and unapologetic with their brand of horror, while 666 Park Avenue goes for the high-class, gothic horror that heralds back to films like Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, and, to a lesser extent, The Exorcist. Instead of demonic possessions and a spawn of the devil, the residents of 666 Park Avenue have to battle their own desires and the consequences that befalls them once they decide to make a deal with Gavin Doran, played cruelly by Terry O’Quinn, who can easily shed his image as the doomed John Locke of ABC’s Lost with this role.
With Henry and Jane, you get your standard young dreamers, who have lucked out with their new digs and opportunity to actually make it in the jungle that is New York City. This is what makes the two appealing, because they represent the new generation of the American Dream, being threatened by the evils of a corporate giant, albeit the evil this time around is actually quite literal. Annable’s Henry seems like he’ll either be a non-believer or the first of the couple to succumb to The Drake’s, and Gavin’s, demands. Taylor’s Jane, however, is more reserved, which is at first mostly due to being overwhelmed by the new lifestyle of keeping up with the Joneses. At first, you root for Jane to find out exactly what the hell is going on in the Drake, because you immediately sense that she’s not your average social-climbing wench. However, towards the end of the hour you sort of want her to slow down on her search a little out of fear of revealing too much info so quickly. Or rather putting a target on her back too soon.
Resident ice queen Vanessa Williams isn’t so icy in the pilot, but she serves enough life to let you know that you don’t want to ever cross her or look at her funny. We hope that she will be ableÂ to bare her claws soon, because you don’t just have Vanessa Williams on your show to use as a prop.
The other residents of The Drake have their own issues to work out, like Brian and Louise Leonard (Robert Buckley and Merceded Masohn), a married couple who will have their marriage tested, and Nona (Samantha Logan), a young teen with a gift that could either be a help or adversary to The Drake.
The gothic soap opera set up works well for 666 Park Avenue, who doesn’t have to rely on the gore factor to lure in viewers. The drama goes for the psyche where the basic desire within us all can be the most frightening creature to face in the dark. The horror offered at this address is sleek and chic, and you don’t have to worry about getting your latest Chanel outfit ruined with blood. Your mind, on the other hand, might be a different story…
666 Park Avenue premieres tonight @10/9c on ABC.
Photo Credit: ABC