Something that’s always bothered me about serialized television is this immutable desire for some shows to unnecessarily drag out their major narrative, to save fuel for later episodes or just to capitalize on what they’re sure works for them. It’s something that’s become a major problem for new dramas trying to launch themselves over the past decade, since the appetite for more creative and fast paced entertainment has gotten stronger. Maybe 10 years ago 666 Park Avenue might have made a much bigger impression with this pilot than it did in 2012. There’s something here, sure, but it was buried underneath phlegmatic exposition, and clunky dialogue.
The premise of 666 is one that instantly raises a number of questions, the biggest of which is how a story like this could transition into a televised format, versus a once off event like a movie or mini-series. As I’ve discussed, the biggest issue here is how slow moving it is. The writers clearly get that they’ve to span this story over a long period, but it’s the sluggish pace that really killed the stronger aspects of it.
The mystery and dark fantasy parts of this show are quite strong. You’re instantly drawn into this creepy and obviously toxic atmosphere that Henry and Jane have stumbled into, and I’m extremely curious to see where the hell this whole secret push and shove thing with Gavin will go. The same goes for the buildings history. If the episode had given a bit more away, it would have sucked me in a lot more. As it stands it was slightly anti-climactic.
What carried the pilot was the strength of its cast. Some of the dialogue here was unbelievably dry, but you only have to hand it to someone like Rachael Taylor before it’s brought to life. Both Henry and Jane are extremely likable in their own ways, while Gavin and Olivia are filled with this strange sophisticated menace. Vanessa Williams and Terry O’Quinn will easily buy the series a lot of goodwill, but they need more to work with if they’re going to be a major selling point. The supporting cast each bring something different, but Brian and Louise aside, nobody really got a chance to do much past their brief introductory segments.
This pilot felt like it only got half way to where it was supposed to go before it cut out and the credits rolled. I can tell it’s something I’m going to stick with for a while, but if it doesn’t show more life, it’s going to shed viewers fast, myself included, and it really can't afford to.