Pan Am: Is the New ABC Series Worth Watching?

Pan Am TV seriesIt’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?

Canceled and renewed TV show

18 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Bruce says

    Well, I liked it. First, one of my 892 fetishes, is to see women dressed and made up like its 1960 or whatever, makeup, hats, gloves, etc, and second, I like anything to do with flying or aircraft.

    The only problem is, since I LIKED it, and its on ABC, you KNOW they will cancel it. LIFE ON MARS, V, FLASH FORWARD, DETROIT 1-8-7, and many others—great shows, but the 16 year olds weren’t watching, so…..

    Idiot networks

  2. Kevin2469 says

    I might have liked Pan Am if I could have heard ANYTHING that was being said. The background music was so loud I missed most of the dialogue. The good news is that I now have an extra hour of free time on Sunday nights…

  3. Lu says

    As a child, I remember that the role of a flight attendant was something we thought of as glamorous. They spoke several languages, were all perfect sizes, got to travel to foreign lands, stay in fancy hotels…it was all so romantic. They even took kids up to the cockpit to see the captain at work and gave them wings as a memento of their flight. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a show that wants to bring back some good memories.

    Nsemi, it may have been the women who were exploited back then, but based on the way the airline industry is today…seems like everyone is getting it up the whazu these days!

  4. Deborah says

    As a former Pan Am flight attendant until United purchased the Pacific routes in 1986- I think the show should be expanded upon by incorporating more experiences of the actual flight attendants. Most of the flight attendants lives would appear to be beyond real to the general public. Perhaps everyone needs to know more of the intimate details of famous passengers…on an off airplanes.

  5. Beth Coccaro says

    alsotraveler: You may want to call your local ABC station and speak to an engineer . This happened to me during Gossip Girl last year for 2 episodes – turns out they were broadcasting all 5 channels of surround sound through Channel 1, which causes the dialogue track to be buried behind the background music. He was sincerely grateful for my call, “I wonder how long it was set like that?”

  6. TJ says

    I think the first episode was enough fun and a enough character intro to keep it moving. The intrigue is interesting as well. I will watch next week!

  7. alsotraveler says

    Kind of cute- characters fun -but the background music was so loud you couldn’t hear half the dialogue. What’s with that? Mack the Knife totally drowned out whatever they were saying in that scene. And really it is all so stereotype. Flight attendant sleeps with man – who is( of course) married. Wife, (of course) knows and blames girl not husband. Another character abandons husband -to- be at alter and runs off in wedding dress to go”see the world”. Flight attendant gets tapped to be a “spy”. But all in all, I did travel in that day, and it was great, much as presented. Sure isn’t like that now.

  8. says

    Have been a travel agent for 32 years now and lived the PanAm golden era. I will most definitely watch the new PanAm tv series. Hope they have enough material and viewers to enjoy the kind on traveling that will never be the same. Saw the first episode and looking forward to the next ones!

  9. says

    You’ve captured the essence of the life and duties of flight attendants in a most honest and dignified manner. I am a recent retiree after 38 years as a flight attendant with a major carrier. I’ve seen many different attempts by the media to capture the essense of the profession. None have painted a more dignified , honest and real presentation.

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