Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pilot 6: "Pan Am"

Where to start, where to start...

After watching the premiere of Pan Am last night, I was left feeling confused. I went into it with certain things I expected to like and certain things I expected to disappoint me, and now, I feel like those two lists have switched.

Here's the summary: the show follows four (maybe five, it's too soon to tell) stewardesses and two pilots working for Pan Am Airlines in 1963. International travel and intrigue, romance, feminism, all within the aluminum hull of a brand new Clipper aircraft.

Ok, so let's break down my original expectations and what has since happened to them (To help summarize things because I can't remember any charcter names, this is how I will refer to everyone: French stewardess, redhead sister, dumb sister, crazy British stewardess, Dean from "Grounded for Life", Number 1 from "Scrubs", and Christina Ricci.)
  • I only expected to like Christina Ricci. Christina Ricci got the least back story out of anyone. I know she's a beatnik, hippy type who can make her hair shrink on command, but beyond that? Who knows? So, I can't say I like her yet, but I do like Frenchie and redhead. They seemed to be the two that best fit their roles. I didn't feel like they had plastic hair and no emotion. With that said, I didn't expect to like dumb stewardess and I still don't. She's like a human mannequin and I will treat her as such.
  • The backgrounds are horrible. I don't mean like the character backstory, but the CG images of airports and cities. I understand it's probably easier to create an image rather than build a set or clear a street of anything not "1963", but it just looked really crappy.
  • The character backgrounds are crappy. Like I feel like I've said time and time again, I hate pilots that feel pilot-y. I'd much rather get to know the characters as they get to know each other. Giving me too much backstory doesn't build some sort of connection between us. It doesn't draw me in to get you the numbers you want for next week. Actually, it probably does the opposite. Let me get to know them as a "person" and then learn the reasons they tick.
  • I want them to focus on the 60's details of things. I originally didn't want any emphasis on the era and just to focus on storylines but I think I'm more intrigued by the era now. You could just walk onto an airplane with your signature on a ticket? No ziplock baggies full of contact solution and foundation? Airplanes used to serve food and the stewardesses actually prepared it? Wow...
  • I don't take either of the pilots seriously. I didn't know who would be cast as the pilots but I expected older, mature men that tried to take advantage of the stewardess because of their position. I did not expect young, immature guys who were basically complete horn-dogs. And Dean from "Grounded for Life" needs a haircut. Just because you style a haircut from 2011 like it's 1963 doesn't mean it looks right. It just kind of looks like he has a mullet. Umm, pass!
  • They set up long story arcs. I expected the show to be about how hard it is to be a stewardess. The outfits! The weigh-ins! Restocking the pillows! But I was impressed last night when a couple of larger storylines were set in motion: where is crazy British stewardess and what is she up to and what will happen to redhead sister as a new part-time spy?
All that being said, I'm left feeling a little better than I was originally about this show. I may give it an episode or two to see how it develops but I'm not holding my breath. It earned a solid C. If it starts to feel less thrown together and slows the rate at which we get to know the characters, it might not be bad. But I've seen more shows ruin themselves than save themselves so I'm fairly pessimistic about this one.

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