The pandemic-themed satirical drama we saw being filmed in the neighborhood on W51st Street last year has a new name and a release date. Initially called The Second Wave, the six-episode series is now The Bite — a title that more clearly references the zombie-creating, fictional strain of COVID-19 that the narrative centers around. All episodes are dropping on Spectrum today, May 21. 

Taylor Schilling in the W51st Street Kitchen. Photo via Spectrum.

The series — by The Good Fight, Evil, and BrainDead creators Robert & Michelle King — stars Audra McDonald (The Good Fight) and Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) as two neighbors who have to contend with a new strain of the virus that turns infected people into zombie-like victims. 

“While Rachel (McDonald) juggles her many telemedicine clients as well as a shaky, passionless marriage, Lily (Schilling) is upstairs just trying to convince her Wall Street clientele that her very specific skillset is still just as valuable over video as it was in person,” a show description states. “When an unexpected, deadly second wave of the virus arrives, we follow these two women as they face unprecedented times while still juggling their careers, their loved ones – and possibly…the end of the world?”

The backyard of the impressive W51st Street brownstone. Photo: Corcoran.

The premise seems just quirky enough to be somewhat escapist, even though some viewers may be hesitant to enjoy a pandemic-themed show while we’re still reeling from the past year. An early review from The Hollywood Reporter summed up the show as being ultimately  “amusing, but stifled by COVID production constraints.” Though much of the acting was apparently done behind screens and in separate locations, we’re excited about getting a glimpse at the “decadent” (per the Hollywood Reporter review) Hell’s Kitchen brownstone they used as one of the main physical sets for the show. 

Located between 9th and 10th Avenue, the home has been referred to as “The Manse” and “Midtown Castle” over the years. It was built in 1910 and owned by the Catholic church until 2011 when it was bought by “Wall Street guy” Matthew Hansen and turned into a single-family home. “His goal was to make it into a paradoxical house of wonders—one whose façade took you back to 1910, when the home was built, while the inside would feature modern luxury, stripped of the “overly ornate” vibe of so many old New York townhouses,” a Mansion Global article from 2016 states. 

Taylor Schilling in the W51st Street games room. Photo via Spectrum.

As we previously noted, Hansen restored the property’s austere facade based on archival images to be exactly as it was in the 1900s. Inside, he gutted the interiors and opened it up with double-height ceilings in the living area and master bedroom with internal balconies that probably created ideal dramatic views for the production crew.

All episodes will be available at once, though exclusively to Spectrum On Demand subscribers.

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