’666 Park Avenue’: Five Things to Know About ABC’s Buzzy New Thriller

by | August 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM | 666 Park Avenue, Fall TV Preview 2012

Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams in "666 Park Avenue" (ABC)

666 Park Avenue” is one of the most buzzed about shows of the Fall 2012-2013 TV season as ABC goes supernatural and checks into this devilish address.

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The paranormal show premiering on Sept. 30 poses the question: What would you give to have your dreams come true? The residents are put to the test when the building’s owner Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn) tempts them to fulfill their deepest desires — but the cost is high: their soul.

The story begins when Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, arrive in New York City, and as most New Yorkers do, have a hard time finding the perfect apartment. So they can’t believe their good fortune when the opportunity presents itself to move into the posh Drake — if they will manage the building. They agree and Jane, who has aspirations to be an architect, quickly becomes in the thrall of the building.

Intrigued? Then check out the tips that XfinityTV.com got from “666 Park Avenue” Executive Producers Matthew Miller (“Chuck”) and David Wilcox (“Fringe”) as you get ready to tune in.

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The Inspiration:  Although inspired by the book series by Gabriella Pierce, the series deviates greatly. We departed from those stories, I think, fairly significantly,” Wilcox notes. “I wanted to draw on a lot of the films that inspired me — films from the ’70s — ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ ‘The Shining,’ and ‘The Omen.’ [I wanted to] come up with a show for network television that I thought would be unlike anything we’ve seen on TV before… I think people enjoy being scared. I know I do. It’s one of the only genres in television I think can actually sort of get a rise out of the audience.”

The Structure: Each episode will follow a similar somewhat serialized format. Says Miller, “I think the idea is to give, in every episode, a little bit of both parts of the title. So, there will be a little bit of ’666′ — a little supernatural, a little bit of Faustian bargain — and then a little bit of Park Avenue, which is how the show fits into the ABC family.” Adds Wilcox, “Sometimes those Faustian bargains will be a more accelerated case, like in the pilot with a character that wanted his wife to come back. Sometimes with the case of Henry and Jane, they’re involved in their own seduction, but that’s just a longer story. It’s like a long con almost that the Dorans are playing on them.” Miller thinks overall, the series is a perfect fit in its Sunday night timeslot following “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge.” “It has soap. It has seduction,” he notes. “It has wish fulfillment. It has a lot of qualities that other ABC shows possess.”

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The Root of Evil: Both the building and the Dorans possess seemingly magical powers. But who’s – or what- is in control? Explains Wilcox, “The Drake is a central character of the show. The Drake is sort of an endless puzzle box of mystery and revelations that we’ll dig into over the course of the entire series. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say it’s an old building with an even older presence that will be something that we’ll learn more about as the series progresses.” Adds Miller, “As to the point about the Dorans, that’s certainly something that we want to unfold slowly and carefully through the course of the first season and however long, however many seasons we can stretch it out for, but those are questions that are really fun to let the audience in on. Are they human? Is he the devil? What is at the foundation of their relationship?”

Psychological Thrills and Chills: While the pilot is big on scares (including one terrifying moment in an elevator) the gore factor is low. “Psychological horror is really what our approach is,” says Wilcox. “There are ways that you can step into the shoes of a character and see the world through their eyes. Having that sort of subjective perspective in storytelling gives you a lot of room to tell some very interesting stories and have some great scary moments.”

Who Knows the Truth?: Miller says that deciding whether or not to let the audience in on the truth was a major decision, saying they often asked themselves in the writers room, “Who is seeing the horrible things? Is it the audience that’s aware?” He notes, “If the audience is too far ahead of your characters, then your character start to feel stupid. There is a certain amount of pleasure in being one step ahead of some of your characters. Sometimes Jane, who is the protagonist of the show, is the one that will really start scratching away at the building, the hidden mysteries and clues and supernatural elements of it. She will very clearly think that the building has a possession to it and has a supernatural quality. The question is: If no one else sees those things, do they believe her?” Adds Wilcox, “It’s something that we kind of confront head-on. We certainly don’t want our characters to look stupid. We want them to make smart, intelligent decisions in the same way that our audience would react to things that they’re seeing. We are very aware of that. In fact, actually it has given us some very inspired directions to go in terms of our stories.

“666 Park Avenue” premieres Sunday, September 30, at 10/9c on ABC.