It’s the same old story. One network has success with a particular concept and the others want to jump on the bandwagon. AMC has been having great (cable-level) success with Mad Men so now NBC and ABC want their own 1960s dramas. NBC has their Playboy Club and tonight, ABC launches Pan Am. Is going back in time worth the trip?
Pan Am revolves around the handsome and beautiful pilots and flight attendants that work for the world-famous airline in 1963. Dean (Mike Vogel) is a young pilot who’s just been promoted to captain. His co-pilot, Ted (Michael Mosely), is hiding a secret. Stewardess Maggie (Christina Ricci) pushes the limits, Colette (Karine Vanesse) flirts too much, and Kate (Kelli Garner) has helped her sister Lara (Margot Robbie) become a runaway bride. While traveling the world, the flight crew have interesting brushes with history.
Is Pan Am worth your time? Here’s what the critics are saying:
LA Times: “Like Mad Men, Pan Am is about glamour, but unlike Mad Men there’s no critique attached: This is not a story of manufactured desire and empty illusions. The glamour in Pan Am may indeed be manufactured — doubly manufactured, given the re-created places and planes — but it’s not empty: The show says, yes, this is as good as it looks, and it looks very good — though anyone who has flown anywhere in the last, oh, 30 years, may find it difficult to believe, or to remember, that air travel ever was this gracious, customer-friendly or fun. (We are assured, by network communiques, and a little extra research, that it was.)”
Hollywood Reporter: “Pan Am seems most intent on making the idea of the ’60s and stewardesses and ‘the jet age’ more glamorous than real. It has neither the exactitude of the times nor the talent of the writers to get at the issues, ala Mad Men, that illuminate the issues of the day. It only has the magazine ad dreams of the times – girls don’t have to be their mothers; they can also be modern women who get weighed at work and dumped at 32 for being too old.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “The big question about ABC’s Pan Am, premiering after tons and tons of hype on Sunday night, is whether the show can afford to maintain the dazzling look of the premiere episode. Seriously. This thing must have cost more than the baggage fee for a steamer trunk on a flight to Europe.”
NY Daily News: “There’s soap here, and the liberated-woman part sometimes feels like a reach. But the show is fun, it makes flying look like fun, and yes, that line of stewardesses does look good enough to stop an airport.”
USA Today: “Pan Am stalls when it moves to the male characters (one of whom, Capt. Dean, is now being played by Mike Vogel in an unpreviewed switch). And it doesn’t work at all during that exception, a silly stew-spy subplot that plays like a bad parody of Cold War fiction.”
“We don’t need genius from a show that looks this good. Just don’t give us a plot so dumb it brings us crashing back to earth. Surely that’s not too much to ask of Pan Am.”
Salt Lake Tribune: “There’s also a bit of a twist that I won’t give away here… and we’ll have to see how that plays out. But overall, Pan Am is sort of a big, flying soap opera. And that’s not criticism. Pan Am looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
What do you think? Will you be watching Pan Am on ABC? If you’ve seen it, will you tune in again? Do you think it’ll be renewed for a second season or quickly cancelled?
Image courtesy ABC.