Network TV prepares for Halloween

By Brad Stout
Entertainment Editor

666 Park Avenue (ABC)

Based on the novel of the same name by Gabriella Pierce, 666 Park Avenue, premiered on ABC on Sept. 30, drawing in just under 7 million viewers. The show, which was adapted for television by David Wilcox, airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. central daylight time.

The Premise: A young couple becomes the new co-managers of “The Drake,” a lavish, upscale apartment building in Manhattan that is secretly home to a potentially demonic presence.

The Hook: Despite its highly cinematic style and an ensemble cast riddled with quality performances, the reason to watch undoubtedly becomes Terry O’Quinn (Lost). As the charismatic Gavin Doran, the current owner of “The Drake,” O’Quinn gives one of the most sinister performances of his career, managing to keep the viewer on-edge and in a constant state of fright, even in what appear to be typical everyday moments.

The Catch: Other than its cheesy visual effects, the show’s overly dark subject matter may prove too much for network television audiences.

Fringe (Fox)

On Sept. 28, the fifth and final season of Fox Entertainment Television’s most innovative series Fringe premiered in the U.S. Initially created by iconic director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) and screenwriting partners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Transformers), the show, airing Friday nights at 8 p.m. central daylight time, quickly became a critically acclaimed cult favorite among science fiction fans despite its consistently low ratings, and continues to wow its audiences with its bizarre storylines and characters.

The Premise: After encasing themselves in amber for reasons yet to be revealed, the members of the original Fringe team are awakened in the year 2036, whereupon they are tasked with ridding the world of time-traveling invaders from the future, known as “Observers.”

The Hook: The stakes have never been higher for Fringe Division and mankind as a whole, and the show wastes no time establishing this. With only 13 episodes left of the series, current showrunner J.H. Wyman and the entire cast of Fringe have done their best to make sure the final season will be one to remember. It’s a non-stop thrill ride all the way to the end.

The Catch: Despite all the familiar faces, it is a completely different show than what has been seen in the first four seasons. Little remains of the world–or worlds–of which fans have grown attached, and however much is left after the finale is still to be determined.

Once Upon a Time (ABC)

Created by the writing duo of Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Tron: Legacy), Once Upon a Time had its season two premiere on Sept. 30, attracting over 11 million viewers. It airs Sunday nights at 7 p.m. central.

The Premise: After the Evil Queen’s curse is broken, the townsfolk of Storybrooke, Maine finally remember their true fairy-tale identities, they must figure out how to leave the “real” world and return to their native fairy-tale lands. Meanwhile, the show’s protagonost, Emma Swan, along with her long-lost mother, Snow White, find themselves taken prisoner in what remains of the fairy-tale world, and must find a way back to Storybrooke.

The Hook: Besides its creative interpretations of classic fairy-tale characters, the show is more accessible for younger audiences, especially when compared to the fairy-tale characters presented on NBC’s Grimm.

The Catch: In addition to the show’s visual effects, which are often too low in quality to keep the viewer’s attention, Once Upon a Time’s narrative and actors frequently seem too kid-friendly to be taken seriously by older audiences.

Revolution (NBC)

From creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural) comes Revolution, a heart-pounding new drama produced by heavy-hitters Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and J.J. Abrams, and set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world. The smash NBC show, which airs Monday nights at 8pm central daylight time, premiered Sept. 17 to an estimated 11 million viewers, and has successfully maintained its high ratings, making it one of the highest rated new shows on network television, and causing NBC to give the series an additional nine episodes for this season.

The Premise: It has been 15 years since all forms of electricity vanished without explanation, warloads and militias now rule supreme, and mankind must fend against itself in order to survive. Though this may not be exactly what comes to mind when one thinks of Halloween, it certainly comes close enough for those looking for something other than gore and supernatural hauntings.

The Hook: Other than an intriguing premise, the show has a stellar cast, among which are Billy Burke (Twilight), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and Elizabeth Mitchell (V), who all possess the seemingly effortless ability to dominate every scene they are in.

The Catch: With a slew of well-written characters, it does not take long for the viewer to establish a connection with them. Though this is actually a good thing, the downside comes when a character bites the dust, which seems to happen frequently in this show.