Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Pedigree: The show was created and written by David Wilcox (Life on Mars, Fringe), and Gina Girolamo (The Secret Circle, The Lying Game), Matthew Miller (Chuck, Human Target), and Leslie Morgenstein of Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars). Alex Graves (The West Wing, Journeyman, Fringe) directed the pilot.
The Cast & How You Know Them: 666 Park Avenue stars Rachael Taylor (Charlie’s Angels), Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), Terry O’Quinn (Lost), and Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives). Other regulars include Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), Mercedes Masohn (The Finder), Samantha Logan (Law & Order: SVU), and Helena Mattsson (Nikita).
The Premise: A young couple become resident managers of a fancy historical apartment building in New York. As they’re drawn into the world of the building’s rich, charismatic owners, they begin to realize that the building is full of secrets – many of which involve literal deals with the devil.
What Works: The pilot was very slick and shiny, and it managed to be pretty creepy without scaring me too much. (I scare easily.) I loved the opening scene, involving a violinist and a beautifully done orchestral performance. Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams are mesmerizing as the demonic couple, and the rest of the cast is strong as well. The way the mythology seems to be set up so far makes me hopeful for long-term viability, because there’s the potential for long-running arcs about the main characters as well as shorter stories about all the other people in the building – and since people die pretty regularly, there’s an opening for a steady stream of new residents.
What Doesn’t: Parts of the pilot were a bit slow, and the writing was serviceable but not particularly interesting or witty. The show could have done a better job at getting us invested in the characters before doing bad things to them, to make it more meaningful. It didn’t leave me particularly dying (ha) to see more, but it was enjoyable enough and I’d like to give it some time and see where it goes.
Our Favorite Line: “Let me tell you about a violinist I knew. The hard truth was, he just wasn’t talented enough. What do you think he would have given to be the best?” “Anything.” “Not anything. Everything.”
Other Items of Note: The show is based on the novel of the same name by Gabriella Pierce.
You Might Like This if you like classic horror that’s not too scary. Or watching pretty people do questionable things. Or architectural preservation. (No, really, there’s some interesting stuff about the history of the building that I’m looking forward to learning more about.)
(Photo courtesy of ABC.)