CliqueClack TV

Pan Am’s friendly skies are not all that they seem

'Pan Am' is one of the few new shows of 2012 that completely lived up to my expectations. The first hour was a great beginning to a story that I am excited to see how it plays out.

- Season 1, Episode 1 - "Pilot"

One episode in, and I am officially hooked. Everything that The Playboy Club is not, Pan Am manages to be. Not that TPC was all that bad, but the airline drama is a considerably more complete show. The two new historical fiction dramas will always be linked together, like it not, and the comparisons are inevitable … though my bet is only one of them will still be around come May. I’ve seen the Pan Am pilot a couple of three times now, including the original version with Jonah Lotan in the role of Dean (recast to Mike Vogel in the episode that aired). Instead of a full review, let me just share a couple of observations, and next week we will jump in with both feet.

I expected that Christina Ricci would be more of the focus than she was in the first hour. When we first met her, I thought that Maggie would be world-wise yet bossy and senior to her co-workers. She, however, was a lot … well … nicer; she’s not the mother hen that I expected her to be. Also, the story seemed to be happening around her, instead of her playing an active role. Considering Ricci is probably the most well known actor involved, I hope this is something that changes as the story develops.

The “disappearance” of Bridget is one of the more intriguing parts of the pilot. I guess the espionage portion of Pan Am came a surprise to a lot of people, but it was one of the things that drew me to the project early on. As Maggie says, a Pan Am stewardess is a perfect cover. Bridget’s relationship with Dean is a thread that I hope will be continued, despite Annabelle Wallis not being a member of the main cast.

Kate taking up the life of a spy simultaneous with her sister joining Pan Am has to complicate things. She seems to be jealous of Laura, in one of those non-logical twists that siblings are often prone to. Kate has led the life to be jealous of, and Laura joining her as a stewardess should be proof positive. I hope that it won’t turn out that Kate decided to take “Richard’s” offer because her sister was now in training to be a stewardess.

I did not take to Colette, however. I do think she got the raw end of the deal with the wife … personally, I’d have gone off, explaining exactly what type of guy she was married to. In fact, that might actually be part of why I didn’t like her. She acted like a victim when she had no real reason to be one.

Not unlike Mad Men, I appreciate how Pan Am will be able to paint a specific history of life in the 1960’s. Not just a personal one, also how Pan Am was connected to historical moments. The evacuation of Bay of Pigs veterans is an example of how the espionage stories can be based in history (or, more accurately historical fiction).

I suspect there will be a lot of talk this week about much better service and flying was back then. A couple of things to keep in mind; first, it was considerably more expensive. Also, the ticket prices were regulated … it cost the same amount to fly from New York to Chicago on all of the carriers, so the only way they could compete was in quality of service. So we can complain about the comparison all we want, but remember how much we enjoy our cheaper tickets.

Notes & Quotes

  • “Maggie, you dropped your silly blue hat.” — Sam
    “I get to see the world, Sam. When was the last time you left the Village?” — Maggie
    “I don’t need to see the world to change it!” — Sam
    “Well … I do!” — Maggie
  • So, Pan Am would trust their newest plane
  • Did you catch Grey’s Anatomy’s Nurse Olivia as the newlywed on the flight?
  • LOVE the use of ‘Mack the Knife’ to play out over the end of the episode


Photo Credit: ABC

Categories: | Clack | Episode Reviews | Features | General | News | Pan Am | TV Shows |

11 Responses to “Pan Am’s friendly skies are not all that they seem”

September 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I enjoyed “Pan Am” as well. I hope it will be a success, but just the same I’m afraid it won’t remain on the air. Why not? Too many people who won’t get it. This show is about subtlety and in today ‘reality show’ mentality, they don’t understand subtle. They think subtle equals boredom. Some people aren’t interested in a TV program unless there is some screaming catfight or some other sort of boorish behavior included. Society has gotten so used to trash that they don’t recognize quality when they see it. I hope I’m proven wrong, though because I really, really like this show. My favorite part has got to be where the woman whose husband is cheating on her confronts the French stewardess in such a calm but cutting fashion. All through the show she acts all clueless, but then delivers quite the punch to the solar plexus when she says regarding her sons coloring book picture. “Keep it. Put it on your refrigerator to remind yourself not to sleep with other women’s husbands.” LOVE that way of going “drop the Audrey Hepburn act, honey, you and I know what went down and you’re not fooling anyone…stay away from my man” but done is such a way that makes more of an impact than the typical trailer park fare you see on TV nowadays.

September 26, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Hmm, the ‘Playboy Club’ totally lowered my expectations for ‘Pan Am.’ Although I know an actress who was in the pilot, I expected it to serve as another ‘Mad Men’ knock-off. Based on your assertions, I might give it a shot next week –

September 26, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I don’t know that i agree that TPC is a Mad Men knock-off. What makes MM unique in my perspective, is the method in which they tell a story, much more esoterically (Not a good thing in my book).

September 26, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Where can one see the original pilot episode of “Pan Am” with the great Israeli actor, Jonah Lotan? Did ABC delete it?

September 26, 2011 at 7:10 PM

It’s not a matter of ABC deleting it. After the Upfronts, the networks generally make available to press the pilots that were picked up. At that point, we’re pretty much told that they reserve the rights to make changes … And they generally do. There are some classic examples of changes from unaired pilots over the years, and the change of Lotan to Vogel is just another in that line.

In fact, there were other minor changes in the pilot, a couple of scenes where changed, that sort of thing.

Sorry that you will miss the actor you like!

September 26, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Thanks for your response. It would be neat to see the original version with Mr. Lotan. I think Vogel is okay, but he seems a little immature. So, the original “pilot” version of “Pan Am” will not be available some where “out there” for comparison?

September 26, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Likely not.

I believe, though, that he character is supposed to be a little out of its depth.

September 26, 2011 at 7:53 PM

I really liked the pilot, i has waiting for another Playboy club fiasco, but i was really hooked with the espionage part of the show.

Let’s hope they make it!!!

October 10, 2011 at 10:10 AM

A friend of mine told me that the character of Laura is not the same person from the pilot to the first episode. I think she looks the same. Anyone know for sure?

January 17, 2012 at 4:36 AM

Still wish they kept the Bridget plotline?

January 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Pan Am is Classy & stylish. Heads above all the other JUNK on the air. ABC has mishandled this show from the start!! They put the show in a LOUSY time slot. Then when the ratings slipped, they stopped promoting the show!?! What did they expect? SAD because this wonderful tv drama deserves better!!!!

Powered By OneLink