When the pilot pick-up of Pan Am was first announced, I didn’t really have any intention of watching. I tend to gravitate towards needing certain “reasons” to tune into shows, and I didn’t feel a particularly strong pull towards this series. I told myself I would check it out when it aired, but that was mostly to make myself feel better about ditching it completely.
But then I kept seeing intriguing ads. And then I went down to San Diego, where I was almost inundated by everything from swag to airline cosplayers. Oh yeah, and then there were those tote bags, which became arguably one of the most coveted pieces of merchandise from that weekend, for both journalists and con-goers alike. So I decided to sit down with my screener, maybe watch the first few minutes and see if this show really was worth checking out. Somehow, I ended up watching the whole first episode. And I really, really enjoyed myself.
In short? Congratulations, Pan Am. You officially have the best marketing skills of the fall season.
The series, starring Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner, Karine Vanasse and Mike Vogel, takes over the coveted 10pm post-Desperate Housewives time slot left vacant by the once-reliable Brothers & Sisters. It’s clear that the network sought out this position so the show could gain its lead-in from a show that seems to garner the same type of audience, however, Pan Am may not need as much help as originally thought. The series pushes itself to stand out by smartly offering viewers something you don’t necessarily see on a network channel – a period hour-drama. I believe that if Pan Am was simply another drama/comedy, it wouldn’t be as good as it is. But between the 60’s music, the costumes, and the characters, the hour feels like a movie rather than a television episode. It’s difference from the mainstream dramas was a huge draw for me, and I have a feeling that because that factor, the series is going to be successful where ratings are concerned.
It’s not perfect. I could stand to see the characters become more interesting and certainly, there were a few points that the storyline felt a bit clunky. While it doesn’t compare to the obvious perfection of shows like Mad Men, it’s fun and different and intriguing and a definite keeper on my DVR.
Pan Am airs Sunday, 10/9c on ABC.