Pan Am can’t lift off

The 1960s was was a time of change and transformation. The United States was at  the height of a Cold War with Russia and Cuba, which left people uneasy about their future. However, the airline industry continued to prosper.

Being a passenger on an airplane was a luxurious experience. Customers were pampered with great service and fancy drinks and snacks, unlike today’s one cup of soda and a small bag of peanuts.

ABC promoted its new show Pan Am as if it would become a hit TV show similar to the series Mad Men. When the show finally aired on September 25, it was anything but that.

Soon after the show started, the plot revealed many confusing twists. Pan Am is about several female flight attendants and a pilot working for the airline Pan Am during the 1960s. Two of the flight attendants turn out to be sisters, but this is not made clear until the second half of the episode. One of the sisters is a spy; the other is a new attendant and was just featured on the cover of LIFE Magazine, which leads to unwanted attention from the passengers on the plane.

One of the other attendants is a French woman who had an affair in London with a married man who just happened to be on the flight that day, along with his wife and son. The pilot of the airplane dated another flight attendant from the airline who, like one of the sisters, also turned out to be a spy and disappeared at the end of the episode.

Too many things were going on all at once. By the time of the first commercial, I was already bored with the show. It was predictable and disappointing. The plot was confusing, unorganized and unclear. Telling one character apart from another was virtually impossible because they all looked very similar. Many of the events/flashbacks that took place seemed random and unimportant to the storyline.

The episode ended abruptly with no cliff hanger or hook for the next episode. I was actually relieved when it ended. The unpolished, cloudy ending alone was enough to prompt this negative review.

The next episode of Pan Am aired on October 2. It was so bad that I only made it through half of the show before turning it off. Just as in the first episode, the plot was all over the place. For almost every scene up to that point, there was a flashback which made things jumbled and unorganized. The events taking place in the show seem random and out of place, many coming across as irrelevant.

It is difficult to imagine what the writers of the show had in mind when creating this series. I do not see a continuous storyline being carried out throughout the shows.

To revive the failing series, the writers need to figure out where they want to go with the show and determine a single plot and carry it out in an organized manner. If it continues the way it is now, its fate will be that of countless other shows that crashed and burned.



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