Pan Am...did anyone watch?

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Warped9, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I would agree if it were a period piece focused on aviation, but it's just not. It's basically a soap opera on planes...the authenticity should be in the look, feel, and culture of the era. Who cares about the details of what the pilots are doing? It just doesn't matter to the show, and it's realistic enough that any average viewer wouldn't know the difference anyway.
     
  2. Cicero

    Cicero Admiral Admiral

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    I thought it was horse shit. The excitement and changes the Jet Age brings to people's lives aren't interesting enough to build a story on, you have to have some espionage angle? Apparently the only thing they learned from Mad Men is a series set in the '60s can sell.[/QUOTE]

    Apparently, Pan Am actually was heavily infiltrated by the CIA during the 1960s; just as they said on the show, Pan Am employees had perfect cover for espionage.

    My grandfather was a Pan Am pilot during this period (only four years older than the actor playing the captain in the first episode, oddly enough), which he always describes with pride, and which my father describes with glee and awe, so it was especially fun for me to see a loving recreation of that world.

    I wonder if the series will ever have cause to touch upon the neatest Pan Am story I've ever heard of. A Pan Am clipper flew all the way around the world in an incredible six-week trip that was originally supposed to be a quick fill-in ferrying trip down the West Coast for one of the pilots, but which quickly became something very different because of Pearl Harbor. If a movie were made of the story, it would seem improbably cliched - down to the inevitable desperate attempt to pilot a floating plane out of the dead end of a river canyon (in the middle of Africa, no less). It's such an incredible story that I hope there would be some way to work it in, even though the show takes place twenty years later. Here's a map of the plane's trip in December 1941 and early January 1942.

    Altogether, I thought that the show was nice, but not a great series. I think I'm looking forward to the next episode more than I am for Prime Suspect or Person of Interest (the other two new shows I enjoyed), even though the premiere episodes of both of those shows were probably better written and more involving. I think I just like Pan Am's optimism.

    Btw, the pilot is currently available for free on iTunes (Prime Suspect is too).
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I see this as part of the appeal. The touch of glamour and romance and getting away from the sense of cynicism that permeates so much of contemporary programming. It seems every show has at least one smart ass like character spouting cynical one liners. It's everywhere so no one notices anymore.
     
  4. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I think that's probably right. Most people won't know, so why bother? When I read about the smoking ban I figured that was the level they were going for, and the comparisons to Mad Men were superficial.

    And so ends my involvement with the TV series Pan Am.

    --Justin
     
  5. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The promise of a show to depict the glamour of the 60s is what drew me in and i came out satisfied.

    I know that not everything is realistic and people who harp on that incessantly kind of boggle my mind.. no show on earth is 100% accurate because real life usually doesn't make for good drama or even exciting views so i always give every show a bit of leeway in that regard (unless the writer is so bad he needs leeway constantly to make anything work).

    So i wanted to see the period my parents grew up in and especially my mother who was about the age of these stewardesses back then and i wasn't disappointed.. different times back then and the intelligence subplot has me intrigued. I hope they pull a Forrest Gump and use the show to depict major historical events through the eyes of the crew.. i think that would be interesting to see.

    Will definitely tune back for the next episode.
     
  6. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    (On the CIA angle) thank you, this is what I was trying to say. Agreed.
     
  7. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Mad Men doesn't prove that the 60s sell. It's not a particularly high-rated series even by cable standards. It's gotten between 1-3M viewers; by comparison, Falling Skies and The Walking Dead (two of the highest rated cable shows that I follow) both are in the 5-6M range. Maybe ABC should have done a show about aliens or zombies instead.

    I'm afraid that without the spy angle, the ratings might get wobbly. And since it's a historically accurate aspect of what it was like to work for Pan Am, I don't see the problem with including it. Perhaps Pan Am was chosen as the setting partly because of it.
     
  8. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I have to say I'm a little surprised to read here that many disliked the spy story, as that was the best part of the episode to me. The rest was all about relationships, romance, sex, I can get that by watching any chick flick. But the spy story added a little something extra that will keep me coming back next week (we'll see if I stick around any longer). I also liked Christina Ricci's character.
     
  9. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    Counting down the time until we get a zombie series set in the 1960's....
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    To be fair, Burton had nothing to do with THE ADDAMS FAMILY movies, which were what first made Ricci a Goth icon.

    In fact, unless I'm forgetting something, Ricci has only been in one Burton movie, Sleepy Hollow--in which she played a blonde ingenue!
     
  11. Kestra

    Kestra Admiral Premium Member

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    I just watched it. I thought it was cute, if a little all over the place and superficial. I'll definitely give it more of a chance to see where it goes. Everyone looks a little too perfect, and the pilot already annoys me, but I could see the show being entertaining. And of course I love the clothes! I don't get Bridget or whatever her name is, though. Is she some sort of spy or not?
     
  12. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Meant to watch it but I'll catch the rerun Friday night.

    Looks like an interesting story though I'm partly disappointed to hear about the spy angle, I'd think the "glamour" of air-travel in the 60s and going to various destinations would've been enough to sustain the show. Putting the spy stuff in there smells a lot like sticking the "Temporal Cold War" arc into Enterprise. It's like, "there's not enough for you to focus on and do in this time period that you have to add bullshit to it?"

    But, I'll watch the rerun of the pilot and see what the show is like.
     
  13. Balrog

    Balrog Commodore Commodore

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    I like the storyline of women's empowerment striving for equality in a male dominated society.

    Plus, those chicks are hot in their stewardess outfits. I'm a sucker for nylons, damn yeah!

    :)
     
  14. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Cept that the TCW was just a lot of worthless nonsense while the Cold War is a valid and interesting subject for drama. There's a Kennedy-in-Berlin episode coming up that I'm very curious to see.
     
  15. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    This. And it was fun, too. Pan Am evokes our romanticized memory of that period, and I thought it did it really well. If I wanted to watch a TV show that was an accurate depiction of pilots flying jetliners, I'd go find myself a documentary.
     
  16. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    True, but I think a period piece simply set around stewardesses flying to various places and the situations they get into could've held the series without having to toss in this CIA espionage stuff to make it "more interesting." I wanted to see the show on its premise alone, I didn't need CIA stuff to make it that much more interesting to me.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    There's only been one episode so far so who really knows where this show is going? I'll wait and see.
     
  18. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Well, caught a rerun of it. Not too bad of a series, really. I like its use of atmosphere, colors and such to give you that "look" we like to think of with this era. It very much felt like a living Norman Rockwell painting or something.

    Not 100% sold on the CIA stuff yet and the pilots of the 707 did seem awfully young, cocky and "too impressed with flying" to be believable.

    One thing that also sort of got me was how quiet and brightly lit the plane was en route even during the scenes the plane was flying at night. Now, I've never flown on a 707 during the 1960s but I have flown on 737s and later in the 90s and 00s and I know that the planes aren't kept that brightly lit nor are they nearly that quiet in the air with the engines roaring to push the plane at 600 miles an hour. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  19. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well it was it's first in-service flight so everything is going to be shiny and new.

    The 707 would have been quite noisy but there are times when production requirements have to overide reality in terms of lighting and sound effects.
     
  20. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, I didn't like Pan Am but I admit I like very few TV shows and am probably not in its target audience. But I don't think authenticity and drama are mutually exclusive. Mad Men has done a good job in creating a realistic-looking 1960s setting, they know that not everything was new in the'60s, some people wore out-of-style clothes, some people's kitchens weren't up-to-date, offices had unflattering lighting and the furniture showed some wear. They have characters from different generations (WW2 vets, Korea vets, younger) in different levels of authority interacting and it still manages to be dramatic. They have tried to do their homework on the business practices, language, attitudes etc. of the times, and though they occasionally make mistakes, you can tell they have made a serious effort.

    Yeah, noise-wise the high-bypass turbofans of today are a world removed from the early jets. I remember as a kid in the '70s watching Western Airlines 720s take off, and they had an intense, ear-tearing roar than I can still remember clearly. And those were a newer generation than the clipper in Pan Am. Airports nowadays are pretty quiet by comparison, hard to believe.

    Yes, how many times have you seen people on TV driving down the freeway in a convertible and still talking in normal conversational voices? It's a convention of the medium, I guess. You don't really want to watch passengers raising their voices to be heard over the jet noise, and dialogue with a lot of "What?" in it.

    Justin

    --Justin