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Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Pan Am" Review: Am I Just Too Picky?

I’m starting to think I’m just really picky about my TV shows. Because I was mostly unimpressed with the shows other critics tagged as the best of the fall.

Take “Pan Am,” which premieres tonight on ABC. The cast is solid and it looks fantastic thanks to the great Thomas Schlamme’s (“The West Wing”) direction. And the storylines make sense for the most part Yet, I didn’t like it.

See what I mean about picky?…

The show revolves around four Pan Am stewardesses and their lives in the Pan Am heyday of the 60s. Laura (Margot Robbie) is the newbie who has accidentally become the face of Pan Am, thanks to “Life” magazine. Kate (Kelli Garner) is her jealous sister, who is angry that Laura has infringed on her Pan Am life. Maggie (Christina Ricci) is the rebel and Colette (Karine Vanasse) is the flirt, who often flirts with the wrong guy.

Joining them on their adventures are hotshot pilot Dean (Mike Vogel) and his co-pilot, Ted (Michael Mosley). Dean is secretly dating fellow stewardess Bridget (Annabelle Wallis), who is mysteriously absent from most of the premiere.

The premiere serves mostly as a set-up as we learn more about each of the character’s lives. Because you can’t unfold a lot of drama within the confines of a plane, we get flashbacks to one of Colette’s trysts, Laura’s wedding day and several scenes that illuminate the doozy of a secret Kate is hiding. Plus, we learn more about Bridget and Dean’s relationship and the mystery behind her absence from the flight crew.

The premise of the show is a good one and it’s interesting to see the rigorous demands Pan Am puts on the stewardesses. Plus, the possibilities for good soapy drama are endless. It’s when the show tries to make itself more than what it is that it loses me.

Apparently, a 60s soap opera is not enough for the show and it tries to add international espionage to the mix. And although there is some precedent that this kind of thing actually happened aboard Pan Am flights, I find it a little hard to buy and I think it brings the whole show down.

But as I said, I’m picky. Feel free to disagree with me. Most people already have…

“Pan Am” premieres tonight (Sunday) at 10 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC