‘666 Park Avenue’:
10 p.m. Sunday, Channel 4
It’s probably not a coincidence that “666 Park Avenue,” a new suspense drama, opens in a glittering New York concert hall where an elegantly dressed audience listens to a classical performance. The orchestra’s concertmaster is in the middle of negotiating a tricky violin passage when suddenly the strings of his instrument begin cutting into his fingers, as if dipped in acid. Gritting his teeth in pain and mounting terror, the musician manages to get through the passage as drops of blood fly onto the music pages. In the audience, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn, “Lost”) and his beautiful wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams, “Desperate Housewives”), smile enigmatically.
Suffice it to say that violinist’s night quickly goes from bad to the worst imaginable, but that sophisticated opening sets the tone for this series set in the Drake, a stately New York high-rise that seems to have a mind of its own. The show doesn’t stint on occasional jolts of horror, but “666 Park Avenue” is more interested in inducing a sense of mounting dread, much like “Rosemary’s Baby,” another horror classic set in an eerie old New York apartment building.
Gavin, a real estate entrepreneur, owns the Drake, where he and Olivia seduce at least some of the residents into entering into infernal bargains to achieve their hearts’ desires. Of course, eventually payment comes due, usually in the form of the person’s life and/or soul. That’s why, as the series opens, there’s an opening for a new building manager (the previous one, we are told, recently “moved to a warmer climate”). Enter young couple Jane Van Veen and Henry Martin (Rachael Taylor, Dave Annable), who jump at the chance to live and work in the opulent world of the Drake. What they don’t know is that Gavin and Olivia already are plotting a way to get their hooks into them.
O’Quinn, who won an Emmy for his work on “Lost,” admits he isn’t a fan of horror himself, but he thinks the stylish chills of this new series may click with viewers.
“I think it feels like a bit of throwback, and the more we shoot, the more it feels that way,” he says. “It’s getting better every week, I must say. I think that sense (of evoking classic horror of the past) is intentional, and they’re doing a really good job of it.”