123 Pan Am

Pan Am

Passion, jealousy and espionage... They do it all – and they do it at 30,000 feet.
Pan Am


Sundays @ 10pm on ABC.


Passion, jealousy and espionage... They do it all – and they do it at 30,000 feet. The style of the 1960s, the energy and excitement of the Jet Age and a drama full of sexy entanglements deliciously mesh in this thrilling and highly-original new series.

In this modern world, air travel represents the height of luxury and Pan Am is the biggest name in the business. The planes are glamorous, the pilots are rock stars and the stewardesses are the most desirable women in the world. Not only are these flyboys and girls young and good looking, but to represent Pan Am they also have to be educated, cultured and refined. They're trained to handle everything from in-air emergencies to unwanted advances – all without rumpling their pristine uniforms or mussing their hair. There's Dean (Jonah Lotan) – a cocky, charismatic and ambitious new pilot – the first of a new breed not trained in the war. On the sly against company policy, he's dating Bridget, a stunning beauty with a mysterious past. A rebellious bohemian, Maggie (Christina Ricci) turns into a buttoned up professional for work so she can see the world. Rounding out the crew are flirtatious Collette (Karine Vanasse), the adventurous Kate (Kelli Garner) and, finally, Laura (Margot Robbie) – Kate's beauty queen younger sister, a runaway bride, who recently fled a life of domestic boredom to take to the skies.

Christina Ricci as Maggie
Kelli Garner as Kate
Karine Vanasse as Colette
Margot Robbie as Laura
Jonah Lotan as Dean
Michael Mosley as Ted

Executive Producer / Writer: Jack Orman
Executive Producer / Director: Tommy Schlamme
Executive Producer: Nancy Hult Ganis
Production Company: Sony Television Pictures/Shoe Money Productions/Jack Orman Productions/Out of the Blue Entertainment.


Please note that these reviews may contain spoilers.
Gordon McDougall's Take
I have already reviewed The Playboy Club, and I can’t help but lump these two shows together, because they are both set in the 60s and are both obvious attempts to cash in on the success of Mad Men. If you’ve read my Playboy Club review, let me tell you write away that this review of Pan Am is the flip side of my reaction to that other show.

Where The Playboy Club has a vague feeling that it’s apologizing for the period, Pan Am embraces it the same way Mad Men does. I was but a mere child during this period, but this world of Pan Am seems very familiar to me. It’s not trying to telegraph some unrealistically feminist views into the women who wear the blue uniform of the stewardess (not flight attendant, not yet). On the other hand, the show opens in 1963 and we know that change is in the air. We’re not being introduced to these women as feminists, but we know feminism is just around the corner. If we invest in these characters and this show, we will get to witness them grow and evolve the way a lot of women (and men) did back then.

We do see a glimpse of change in the air when we meet Christina Ricci’s Maggie. She may look like the typical stewardess, but we first meet her in her natural habitat: the Bohemian world of lower Manhattan. Something tells me we will be seeing a lot of the changes through her eyes, but she is by no means the star of this show (other than through name recognition). This is an ensemble show, in the best sense of the word.

Where The Playboy Club began with a bizarre not-murder of a mafia boss by a stiletto to the temple, Pan Am has an interesting espionage subplot that makes you wonder if there really could have been stewardesses who did a little spy work on the side. It’s all done with a sense of fun and frolic that made Mad Men work (and makes The Playboy Club…not).

Rating: I’m going out on a bit of a limb, here, because I don’t know whether audiences will embrace this premise, but I can say those who do will enjoy it, so I’ll go ahead and say: a monster hit and a personal favourite!
Rating: One of my personal favorites!
About Gordon McDougall
TVGord is a radio host at 580 CFRA in Ottawa. He does a weekly segment about TV every friday which you can hear in MP3 in the '580 CFRA Interviews' section of their website, www.cfra.com