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ABC’s latest drama offers spooky seasonal fun

Just in time for Halloween comes ABC’s bone-chilling new series 666 Park Avenue. Premiering Sept. 30 to almost 7 million viewers, the show’s focus is the Drake, an upscale hotel located on 999 Park Avenue — the address appears as a 666 when the light casts a tricky shadow on the address plaque in the first episode. Centering around Henry Martin (Dave Annable) and Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) as they take on positions managing the swanky hotel, the show’s supernatural elements surface as Jane begins to unravel the building’s dark secrets.

The first two episodes make it clear the owners of the Drake, Gavin and Olivia Doran (Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams), have a mysterious power to grant their tenants favors, but they expect some sort of payment in return. When the tenants don’t deliver on their side of the bargains, Gavin has no qualms making them suffer. In the pilot episode, one tenant whose wife Gavin was brought back from the dead dares defy the terms of their agreement. Not only does Gavin take his wife back to the underworld, he also magically transports the tenant into the wall.

In the second episode, Jane opens the same wall and reveals an infestation of starlings. Could they be the victims of the Dorans’ manipulations? “I fulfill needs,” Gavin says — but at what price? What “needs” will he fulfill for Jane and Henry that will enable him to trap them in the Drake forever?

The evil stars of the show are definitely the Dorans. Williams is stunning as ever at age 49, and she plays a perfect Upper East Side society wife. Lost’s O’Quinn also shines as a Bart Bass-esque hard-as-nails businessman with perfect manners. He effortlessly conveys a sinister aura. Taylor’s acting, however, is too forced. Although she tries to be convincing as a serious architect, I only ever see her as a goody-goody sorority girl. Also notable is resident playwright Brian (Robert Buckley). Brian, who is having a dalliance with his wife’s mysterious (read: creepy) assistant, is an undeniable cutie.

The storyline is scary, but it maintains a level of realism to draw in a more cynical viewer like me. I am typically too scared to watch thrillers even though their supernatural elements intrigue me. This show is perfect because although there are moments when I want to hide my eyes, I am never scared enough that I can’t go to sleep at night. I don’t think this show is the clear hit of the season, but it is definitely fun for a Sunday night in with your roommates, especially during Halloween season.

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