I haven’t been paying much attention to the reviews for 666 Park Avenue, but based on the fact that none have really popped out at me (nor have many other articles, for that matter), it probably means that no one’s watching. Or at least few people are.
This wasn’t a series I was hellbent on liking (pardon the pun). I wasn’t even going to give it a chance. But I’m a fan of Terry O’Quinn, and in a few brief promos, I even saw Robert Buckley in there, so I thought I’d check it out. And it was fine. It was ok. I didn’t quite know where it was going, but the characters were interesting enough (truth be told, Jane did need to grow on me), and there was some intrigue.
Week to week, though, I came back. And with each week, the mystery continued. And while it wasn’t scary, it was entertaining.
So why do I bring this up now? Well, for one thing, we finally got the reveal of the infamous red stairwell that so many promo pictures were based on (see the picture above). But also, here I am, on a Wednesday night, trying to get myself in the mood not only to watch tonight’s episode of American Horror Story, but to catch up on last week’s, which I missed. AHS prides itself on being the pinnacle of fright TV, and it’s just been falling flat week to week. It’s been leaning on boring cliches and silly gore (can anyone else lose a limb or get something inserted in their eye please?), and the biggest mystery is, Who is Bloody Face?
Meanwhile, on 666, we have the supernatural. With every small mystery (who is this ghostly little girl, guarding the suitcase) there’s a larger question (what is Gavin really hiding and what secrets does the Drake really hold)? Here we have people dying on a weekly basis, not in horror style, but in ways that just makes us want to know what twist caused their downfall. In the end, what 666 doesn’t bring in scares, it brings in suspense. Something that’s lacking in AHS this season.
Further, every episode seems to have a purpose. A purpose that goes beyond just trying to urge the viewer toward some gory ending made solely for lame shock value. We actually have a plot for Jane and Henry, for Gavin and Olivia, and even for Brian. It’s like their lives are actually moving forward while all the weird stuff happens. One can’t really say the same for AHS, where time moves backward more than forward, and frankly, many of the characters are missing depth.
I’ve grown to enjoy 666 Park Avenue, and I even look forward to it week to week. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if the next head on the fall TV chopping block is Gavin’s himself, but here’s hoping it will stick around — at least through a 22-episode season.