For the next few weeks, we'll be evaluating many of the new fall shows as they air. These shows do not include Elementary, The Neighbors or the hilariously overrated navy soap Last Resort (in which brass stands in for organ, but the melodrama is at perfect daytime pitch) because their blandness reminded us just how tedious it is to spend time thinking about a bunch of new series that are just going to be off the air soon anyway. This one's kind of fun, though.
666 Park Avenue, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET, ABC
One-sentence description: ABC's less fetish-prone answer to FX's American Horror Story.
How good is it?: It's adequate-Rosemary's Baby-rip-off good. Couple Jane (Rachael Taylor) and Henry (Dave Annable) move into a swank Upper East Side building to help manage it, but little do they know that they're signing up to be colleagues with Satan. Or something like that — the actual building's address is 999 Park Ave., but when lit from below, the resulting shadow on the building numbers reveal it to be 666, even though that's not how shadows work. Whatever. Their forces of darkness, their rules. Gavin (Terry O'Quinn) and Olivia (Vanessa Williams) own the building and seem to be dabbling in the black arts — he's manipulating some guy to kill for him by bringing back that guy's dead wife and then letting her languish in the bluish way that spirits languish when the guy doesn't deliver. And then she commits suicide in the way that spirits don't (by jumping off a haunted building).
Best joke: A woman gets stuck in an elevator's violently closing doors and then almost decapitated when the car starts moving up, except, hahaha, this is a Disney-owned network and that would never happen on ABC.
What's annoying about it: It's a pastiche of so much that we've already seen including pastiches like American Horror Story, and it really wants you to know that (in case you didn't smell The Shining on this thing's breath, it throws in a one-point perspective shot or two). At least it's honest?
Also, the foreshadowing can come off as just dumb — a teen we're introduced to named Nona runs into Jane as she scours the buildings for things that need fixing. Nona informs her that there's a thief in the building and then compliments her necklace. One of the final shots we see is Nona, surprise surprise, breaking into Jane's apartment and fondling that piece of jewelery.
Is it worth watching again?: Yeah, because that fondling gives Nona a vision of an axe murder that may be in Jane's future. So that's exciting. The pilot of this show certainly builds intrigue (Jane uncovers what could be a secret society, there's a playwright who's putting a flirty-eyed spin on peeping tomism and I really want to see Vanessa Williams transform outwardly into the monster that we all know she is). Hopefully it can withstand its own explanation.