“666 Park Avenue” tells the haunting stories of the residents of the Drake, a high-end apartment complex at 999 Park Avenue in New York City (though as a result of some creepy shadows, it reads 666). These tales are told through its new resident managers, Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor, “Transformers”) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable, “Brothers and Sisters”). Jane and Henry are fittingly enchanted by the luxurious edifice, which is otherwise far beyond their price range — but soon, the suspicious residents and the building’s mysterious past begin to puncture their perfect life.

666 Park Avenue

Pilot
Sundays at 10 p.m.
ABC


The most gripping characters in this twisted tale are building owners Gavin and Olivia Doran (Terry O’Quinn, “Lost,” and Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty”). The two perform every ritual of hospitality and then some: Gavin invites Henry to play golf, the ultimate status sport, and Olivia buys Jane a $4000 dress. It so transpires that the duo dabbles in the supernatural, and that the Drake is not so much a residence as it is a prison for distressed souls.

Back after two years (has it only been two years?) away from our televisions, O’Quinn is doubtless the best thing about “666 Park Avenue,” giving a performance as simultaneously intriguing and terrifying as ever. He gets to explore the latter with new freedom, unencumbered by the weakness and despair of his character on “Lost.” Thus far, Williams has less to do, but there is no doubt that Gavin and Olivia are equal partners in paranormal crime.

Annable and Taylor give solid performances as a young couple full of the hopes and dreams of New York City, with particular attention to the fine line that separates genuine gratitude and naiveté. Just when the wide-eyed-new-kid act wears thin, they show sincere appreciation for their circumstances, and a promising ambition to earn their glamorous new address.

The Drake itself is intriguing in that age-old tradition of haunted hotels and the demons that plague them. “666 Park Avenue” is hardly “The Shining,” but as a weekly drama it has the advantage of exploring the stories of any number of the building’s hundreds of mysterious tenants, including voyeuristic playwright Brian Leonard (Robert Buckley, “One Tree Hill”) and Nona Clark (newcomer Samantha Logan), who may have psychic abilities.

If anything, the show’s greatest strength — that of being episodic in nature with no shortage of scary stories to share — could be its downfall. Scary TV was hardly a viable genre until last fall’s “American Horror Story,” which was an event unto itself. In fact, new ads present the show with the tagline “New York’s most seductive address,” opting for sexy clips of sexy people and not so much as a mention of the terror lurking in the walls. The overarching mystery of what the Drake is hiding will hopefully tie together Gavin and Olivia’s agenda and simple spookiness like the specter that creeps up on Jane in the basement.

With a small and capable cast and well-paced storytelling, “666 Park Avenue” could be ABC’s next big drama, and a foray into the new frontier of (deliberately) frightening television shows.

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