Why ABC's 666 Park Avenue Is Not American Horror Story Lite
Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable | Photo Credits: Patrick Harbron/ABC
With the success of American Horror Story on cable, it's not surprising that broadcast networks would take another stab (no pun intended) at bringing a new horror story to the masses.
ABC will attempt to do just that on Sunday nights with 666 Park Avenue, a mystery drama based very loosely on the Gabriella Pierce novel of the same name. In the series, an innocent Midwestern couple, Henry (Dave Annable) and Jane (Rachael Taylor), get hired as resident managers of a The Drake, an Upper East Side apartment building in New York owned by Gavin (Terry O'Quinn) and Olivia Doran (Vanessa Williams). Unbeknownst to them, the residents have all made deals with The Devil to have their desires fulfilled.
But 666 will separate itself very quickly from Horror Story — and not just because broadcast standards are a bit more strict. Executive producer Matt Miller tells TVGuide.com that 666 is more of a psychological thriller, looking at how the residents of The Drake will do anything to get their dreams and desires fulfilled. So, will new residents Jane and Henry fall victim to Gavin's games? Get the scoop on the new series below:
The pilot is very different from the novel. Will there be any elements from the book that you will eventually include?
Miller: No. There's nothing at all from the book. I know [series creator] David Wilcox read the book, as a cursory pass at it. It was really more about like the general concept and the title that everyone at ABC was interested in. He obviously went off and came up with his own world and his own story.
So then no witchcraft for Jane?
Miller: There is no witchcraft. I mean we'll see how long we last. You squeeze a couple of seasons out of this, maybe we will be reading books and anything else we can draw any material from. But at this point right now, we're just sort of sticking with this new template and the new story of Henry and Jane arriving at The Drake without any of the witchcraft stuff — more of just the wish fulfillment and the kind of Faustian bargain kind of stuff.
How difficult is it to find the balance of horror on a broadcast series?
Miller: It is a challenge. It's not a genre typically done on TV. There's two kinds of horror: There's the more aggressive kind of slashery stuff, which this certainly isn't. Then there's more psychological horror, which is what this show falls into. In order to do that, you want to build suspense with creepier moments and things like that, which, usually, [with a] TV audience, people want to get to the next thing really quickly. It is tough to find that balance and trying to actually do something that's genuinely scary while at the same time also fitting into a network mold.
Some people have been calling the show American Horror Story lite. How do you respond to that?
Miller: Oh, we find that very offensive. American Horror Story is actually a different kind of horror than we're playing with here. What we're trying to do is something that's a lot more of a psychological horror — a lot more of a throwback show like Rosemary's Baby or The Shining. Whereas, American Horror Story may be more overt and more contemporary horror.
Though viewers may now fear being sucked into a wall.
Miller: The Judas hole! How about the elevator? You may never stick your hand into an elevator again as it's closing.