Tag Archives: Pan Am

Pan Am: Week 7 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Instead of calling this week’s episode of ABC’s “Pan Am” the drowsily generic “Truth or Dare,” I think it should be called “My Boyfriend is a Yugoslavian Communist.” It was the best line in the whole show and made me laugh out loud. Sigh… remember a few weeks ago when I was sincerely hoping that this show wouldn’t turn into a sorority drama? When the words “Oh. My. God. You’re in love!,” “I’m in over my head!,” and “Tie a cherry stem in a knot,” come into play, you know you’ve reached a pretty sad point in the season when they have nothing to revert to but bottom-of-the-barrel cliches to sustain the episode’s plot.

JESSICA BADER: What fascinated me about this episode were the hints at what this show could be even as it’s bogged down in what it is. Yes, there was the overly melodramatic conclusion to the Kate/Nico storyline, and there was that boozy truth-or-dare scene early in the episode that came off like it was trying to be Sex And The City: 1963. Don’t even get me started on how the Ginny storyline seems to have been abruptly dropped as though it never happened. But the Joe/Laura and Dean/Colette scenes showed a sensitivity and attention to detail that are less common than they should be. Continue reading

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Pan Am: Week 6 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: When Maggie is telling her story to the angry Laura about how she rose from being just a bookworm waitress to being a Pan Am stewardess, she declares about her position that “This time there is nothing better, this is it.” I have officially reached the point in ABC’s “Pan Am” where I am beginning to feel the same way. It doesn’t seem that this show, that had the potential to be something really interesting, has even left the runway. The banal script and increasingly irritating characters are leaving me groaning at each commercial break. The worst thing that this show could have done at this point in the season was feature its most insipid character, Maggie, in telling her long, drawn-out, cliched sob-story of a past to the viewers. I see no diamond in the rough, but I see a whole hell of a lot of rough.

JESSICA BADER: I, too, find Maggie to be incredibly grating, so an episode focused on her was frequently unbearable. Whether it’s the way the character is written or Christina Ricci’s portrayal, something about Ms. Ryan just sets my teeth on edge. Continue reading

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Pam Am: Week 5 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: A better episode than last week’s debacle, but “Pan Am” doesn’t really seem to be taking advantage of the sights and sounds it represents, especially in this past week’s Episode 5. Other than a few exterior shots of hotels that could very well be Hyatts and glamorous interiors that could use some more elaboration, I don’t really get the sense of “Pan Am”‘s visuals beyond the blue uniforms. London and Monte Carlo: Two cities that define mid-century aesthetics and luxury that leave much to be desired in terms of its spaces on the show. Every set looks matted and stream-lined, and I’m not talking about the aircraft. The costumes, however, were nothing less than magnificent, and Kate’s confidence was a very welcome addition to the cast. Laura, Maggie, Collette, and Kate flew with Dean and Ted across another ocean, into another flashback, onto another continent that just looked like another avenue in California.

JESSICA BADER: There was much less of a focus on the destination than in previous episodes, and it felt like a conscious effort to pull back on that to make room for character development. Continue reading

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Pan Am: Week 4 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Though ABC’s “Pan Am” has proven to be so visually superb and ambitious, I have this gut-wrenching sense that it might slowly become more of a sorority drama than a show about the people involved in the glamour of air-travel. Episode Four took place mostly in Burma, where sibling rivalry subplots butt heads with Kate’s increasingly imprecise job as a CIA agent which gets tangled in the power struggle between Ted and Dean. It would be unfair of me to say that I’m getting increasingly bored by the show, because that is absolutely far from true. I guess I’m just tired of Kate and Laura’s bickering. I guess the script didn’t hold up as well during this episode as it did in the past three. I guess I just really want to punch Maggie in the face.

JESSICA BADER: This episode wasn’t as weighty as the previous installment in Berlin, and I think that fits the show just fine. One of the challenges that a period piece faces is that references to actual historical events often come across as heavy-handed, and the Kennedy-speech aspect of the Berlin episode definitely tilted in that direction. (Don’t even get me started on Christina Ricci’s uncomfortably manic portrayal of Maggie’s quest to meet Kennedy.) This time, the historical allusions were less specific, leaving more breathing room for character development. Continue reading

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Pan Am: Week 2 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: This week’s episode of ABC’s “Pan Am” maintained the fluffy intrigue and glamorous blue and white bliss of the show’s pilot episode. I can feel the addiction beginning to form to the runaway bride subplot that Laura perpetuates, as well as the empathetic Collette’s escapades with the people who charm her. Though I feel the need to not break my rule this early in the game, the wrinkle-nosed, wide-eyed breathy perceptiveness of Kate is reminding me of Peggy Olson’s over-eagerness in Season One of “Mad Men.” But just pretend I didn’t say that. Also, is it just me, or did Laura’s hair get significantly lighter since last week’s episode? I could do with a little less peroxide on her part; I was enjoying the Lauren Bacall gold next to Kate’s strawberry blond, but what can you do? Continue reading

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Review: Pan Am

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The first episode of ABC’s “Pan Am” took off in technicolor splendor. The first five minutes of the jet-age drama had me almost in tears with the stylistic glory of early 1960s architecture and fashion. As shows like “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club” attempt to give us “Mad Men” fans our 60s fix until March 2012, it’s important to try to not compare these shows with its Updikean counterpart. We will be disappointed, we will want more grit, we will be furious with these shows who are at least thinking outside of the box compared to the myriads of less interesting shows that swamp prime time. That being said, I’m not going to even begin to compare this show to “Mad Men” because it is an entirely different entity, being on ABC instead of AMC, having a solid enough moral compass, and its play on the unreal and fantastical that surrounds the freedom to fly.

ZOË RICE: This will sound condescending, but it’s not meant to be: Pan Am is so cute! While lacking the scope of Mad Men or the depth of BBC America’s The Hour, Pan Am’s panorama and cast manage something rather different; they exude utter charm. In their hands, the intrigue of espionage comes across as harmlessly retro. With the Cold War now decades in the back mirror, even Russian spies are pretty much adorable. Continue reading

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