October 01, 2012

TV: 666 Park Avenue (ABC, Sun 10)

Henry and Jane (Dave Annale and Rachael Taylor) are young New York professionals in need of a little extra income, so they hire on as resident managers of the Drake apartment building. Owners Gavin and Olivia (Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa L. Williams) aren't just your run-of-the-mill evil landlords, though; they're making evil deals with their tenants, granting everyone's fondest wishes. And all you have to pay is your soul. Mwhahahahaha.

How on earth do you cast O'Quinn and Williams, two of TV's best at portraying deliciously seductive malevolence, as Mr. and Mrs. Satan, and wind up with a show this boring? The effects are too cheap to be scary; it's not witty enough to be good camp; and Taylor and Annable are the blandest young leads imaginable.

There's no subtlety in the show's portrayal of the evil landlords, none of the "are they or aren't they" that might have given the show some suspense; it's clear within the first five minutes that they're in the business of dealing for people's souls. The writing is so flat that even an actor as skilled as O'Quinn can't bring any charm or subtlety to it; Williams provides the hour's only minor flashes of intelligence or humor, but they aren't enough to save the show. A disaster on all counts.

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