ⓘ Pan Am (TV series)

Pan Am (TV series)

ⓘ Pan Am (TV series)

Pan Am is an American period drama television series created by writer Jack Orman. Named for the iconic Pan American World Airways, the series features the aircraft pilots and stewardesses of the airline as it operated in the early 1960s at the beginning of the commercial Jet Age.

Pan Am premiered on ABC on September 25, 2011, and ended on February 19, 2012. ABC canceled the series on May 11, 2012.

In May 2012, Sony Pictures Television had conversations with Amazon about picking up the series for a second season because of its international success. It won the "Best Series" at the Rose dOr TV awards, Europes equivalent of the Emmys. Unable to reach a deal with Amazon, the producers officially ended the series on June 20, 2012.


1.1. Cast and characters Main

  • Michael Mosley as Ted Vanderway, the crews first officer co-pilot. A former United States Naval Aviator and test pilot, he was honorably discharged from the navy after a naval tribunal blamed him for the crash of an aircraft he was piloting even though his father whose company manufactured the aircraft admits to Ted in private that there was a mechanical problem. Though he is engaged to his childhood friend, Amanda, Ted slowly develops a relationship with Laura.
  • Kelli Garner as Catherine "Kate" Cameron, an experienced, trilingual stewardess and Laura Camerons older, head-strong sister. During the pilot episode, Kate is recruited by the CIA and starts taking early assignments as a covert operative. She demonstrates a flair for espionage that impresses her handlers. In the final episode, she is promoted from courier to agent.
  • Karine Vanasse as Colette Valois, a French Pan Am stewardess. Orphaned during the German occupation of France during World War II, she still harbors resentment toward the German people. It is later on revealed that her parents were French Jews who had been killed at Dachau shortly after she was left at an orphanage. Furthermore, she has a brother who was placed for adoption; by the end of the series, Colette plans to search for him.
  • Margot Robbie as Laura Cameron, a stewardess newly out of training, and Kate Camerons younger sister. Laura appears on the cover of Life magazine in her Pan Am uniform, making her a minor celebrity and a source of irritation for her older sister. Having run away from her own wedding in New Haven, Connecticut, several months prior, she struggles to grow up and prove to her sister that she can stand up on her own two feet.
  • Christina Ricci as Margaret "Maggie" Ryan, the flight crews idealistic and liberal-minded purser, who is not afraid to test the rules and her Pan Am superiors. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Maggie worked as a waitress in a seedy diner after dropping out of college during her freshman year. She joined Pan Am by creating the impression that she was fluent in Portuguese because her former employer was from Brazil.
  • Mike Vogel as Dean Lowrey, a Boeing 707 pilot recently promoted to captain on Pan Ams international routes and one of the youngest airline captains in the industry. A former Air Force pilot, he had been romantically involved with the crews former purser, Bridget, and is now pursuing a relationship with Colette. Dean also finds himself in a secret relationship with Ginny, the mistress of a Pan Am vice president.

1.2. Cast and characters Recurring

  • Piter Marek as Omar, a Wahran prince who befriends Colette after boarding a flight to Rome with no money or luggage. On the rebound from her relationship with Dean, Colette accepts Omars advances and nearly becomes engaged to him; however, he reluctantly breaks things off after Colette consents to a background check which reveals her Jewish heritage something which Omars family would not accept.
  • Chris Beetem as Congressman Christopher Rawlings, a Republican congressman who briefly has an affair with Maggie, despite their political differences; Rawlings is a right-wing conservative and Maggie is a left-wing liberal.
  • Veanne Cox as Miss Havemeyer, an uptight, authoritarian Pan Am supervisor who is always at odds with Maggie.
  • Erin Cummings as Ginny Saddler, a mistress of Pan Am vice president Everett Henson. She becomes romantically involved with Dean behind Hensons back; however, Maggie exposes her secret affair to the vice president. When Dean urges Ginny to end their affair, she takes it hard enough to smash her face through a window in Rome.
  • Ashley Greene as Amanda Mason, Teds childhood friend and later, love interest and fiancee. At a party, she unexpectedly kisses a desolate Maggie. When Ted later confronts Amanda, she admits that she feels more comfortable around women, and Ted refuses her proposal of an open marriage.
  • Jeremy Davidson as Richard Parks, Kates CIA handler and mentor, based in New York. In the season finale, he recommends that Kate be sent to Langley for training as one of the CIAs first female field officers.
  • Scott Cohen as Everett Henson, a Pan Am vice president whose mistress, Ginny, has a secret affair with Dean.
  • Colin Donnell as Mike Ruskin, a columnist for The Village Voice who befriends Maggie on his trip to Berlin and publishes her scathing article on Congressman Rawlings.
  • Kal Parekh as Sanjeev, the crews Indian flight engineer.
  • Darren Pettie as Captain George Broyles, a veteran Pan Am pilot who smuggles alcohol and tobacco during his flights on the side. Despite being punched by Dean for this activity, he lures Maggie into becoming his business partner. He also saves Dean from termination by giving the investigating board an endorsement from Juan Trippe
  • Annabelle Wallis as Bridget Pierce, an English stewardess and former Pan Am purser. She was dating Dean Lowrey before she resigned from Pan Am and vacated her flat in London following her deactivation as an MI6 courier. She recommends that Richard recruit Kate into the CIA as a courier. After Kate kills the intelligence dealer who was planning to sell a list of CIA/MI6 assets, Bridget reclaims her job at Pan Am and hopes to reclaim Dean as well.
  • Jay O. Sanders as Douglas Vanderway, Teds father and president of a major aeronautics firm. After Ted is discharged from the US Navy, Douglas has Juan Trippe hire him into Pan Am.
  • Goran Visnjic as Niko Lonza, a Yugoslavian diplomat attached to the United Nations, serving in the United States. He becomes involved with Kate, and finds himself torn between his love of his homeland and the advantages of his new country. Visnjic appeared in a three-episode arc beginning with the seasons fifth episode.
  • David Harbour as Roger Anderson, a British MI6 agent and Kates covert intelligence operations contact in London. It is revealed in the season finale that Anderson is a double agent for the KGB.

2. Production

Sony licensed the rights to use the Pan Am name and logo from Pan Am Systems, a New Hampshire–based railroad company that acquired the Pan Am brand in 1998. The pilot episode cost an estimated $10 million. The series was produced by Sony Pictures Television, and was optioned by ABC in May 2011 for the 2011–2012 schedule. ABC commissioned five more scripts in November 2011. The broadcaster later added a fourteenth episode to the series. In the middle of the first season, Steven Maeda was hired as Pan Am s new showrunner, with the mandate to "serialize and embrace the soap aspect" of the show.

In November 2011, there was media speculation that the series had been canceled by ABC, based on a comment from Karine Vanasse about the future of Pan Am and its absence from the mid-season schedule. The network denied the rumors; it planned to complete fourteen episodes and delay any announcement regarding a second season to a later date. The series was canceled on May 11, 2012. Although its episodes depict the characters in various cities around the world, the show was filmed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and other locations around New York City. The pilot was filmed partly at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage on Long Island. According to Entertainment Weekly magazine, a life-size recreation of a Pan Am 707 jet is "the biggest star of the series - in all senses". The 707 model is kept in a hangar near the Brooklyn waterfront.

Nancy Hult Ganis, a Pan Am stewardess from 1968 to 1976, was one of the shows executive producers and is credited as the series developer; she researched for the series at the Pan Am Historical Foundation and at Pan Ams archives at the University of Miami. In addition, Ganis advised the actors, props department, production designers, and costumers in making details for the show as accurate as possible. The program featured the trademark, sky-blue Pan Am uniforms worn by stewardesses. Costume design was overseen by Anne Crabtree, who ensured attention to detail. The department made the replicas based on an old uniform which was thoroughly studied. Twenty craftsmen worked to produce each outfit. The technique was the same used by Pan Am in the sixties, and Crabtree said the process was very "old school". At the time, girdles were mandatory to improve posture; some of the cast members found them "extremely restricting" during filming. Crabtree said that male costumes were inspired by James Dean and Steve McQueen.


3. Promotion

The September 12, 2011, edition of TV Guide s Fall Preview issue included an advertisement on the back of the magazine, tilted upside down, featuring Ricci, Garner, Vanasse, and Robbie appearing as their characters for a fictional cover for TV Guide, using the magazines 1960s logo. Between December 20, 2011, and January 5, 2012, the first nine episodes of the series were made available free of charge on Internet download sites in an effort to increase viewer interest in the series. Canadian Karine Vanasse responded to a question on her Twitter account by saying that the promotion was only available in the United States.


4. Broadcast

The series aired in Canada on CTV on the same night as the ABC broadcasts, but was shown in different time slots by region. It also aired on CTVs sister cable channel Bravo! on Saturdays. The series premiered in Brazil and Panama on Sony Entertainment Television on March 18, 2012. In Costa Rica the channel Teletica aired Pan Am on October 15, 2012.

In Ireland, the show premiered on RTE Two on October 17. The series premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on November 16, 2011. The BBC suspended its broadcast after eight episodes and stated that further episodes would return on January 28, 2012. Canal+ began broadcasting the series in Spain on October 29, 2011. In Catalonia, TV3 started broadcasting it on February 10. The series premiered in Sweden on TV3 on October 16, 2011. On November 6, 2011, the series premiered on SIC in Portugal. On December 26, 2011, the series premiered in the Netherlands on NET 5. In Australia the series was broadcast on the Nine Network in 2012. In the Flemish part of Belgium, the airing started on Vijf on February 15, 2012., In the French part of Belgium the airing started on BeTV on May 7, 2012. In Finland the show premiered in January 2012 on Yle TV2. In Denmark, Pan Am was aired on TV3 Danmark, TV3 Puls & TV3+ Denmark. In Catalonia, TV3 started broadcasting the series on February 10, 2013.

In South East Asia, the channel beTV a Sony Pictures Entertainment Networks Asia, SPENA television airs the TV Show from February 4, 2012, every Saturday at 9:00 p.m. It started airing on STAR World India from February 11, 2012. In New Zealand the show premiered on November 24, 2012 with TVNZ, which rescheduled episode "Romance Languages" into chronological order to maintain series flow. It was shown every Saturday at 9:35pm on their TV One channel before being moved to a later time slot after episode 9 due to lower than expected viewing numbers.


5.1. Reception Critical and industry reception

The show was given a 67 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 28 reviews, indicating generally favorable reception. Heather Hogan of AfterEllen rated the show highly, saying, "I continue to be impressed by the unapologetic way Pan Am pushes the women to the forefront of every story. I dont think Pan Am really knows what kind of show it wants to be just yet. But I also dont think thats a problem because every variation - Cold War drama, nostalgic soap opera, feminist dramady - has something to offer." Later episodes, however, received lower reviews for the loss of focus on the women and the addition of romantic storylines. Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave the show a "B" grade, commenting, "Next to The Playboy Club its the better network 1960s drama. The romance and the attractively stylized innocence of the era is addictive, but the espionage plot, with its link to political history, is absurd. And the female empowerment message grows feeble." The Insider included Pan Am in its list of "10 Best New Fall TV Shows".

Media coverage has noted that no major characters smoke, although the practice was common on flights and in the terminal during the 1960s. ABC and its parent, Disney, banned tobacco use by the shows stars. Citing "an enormous impressionable element", Thomas Schlamme called the anachronism "the one revisionist cheat", and said he had encountered a similar restriction directing a previous show for ABC. Other characters will be seen holding cigarettes in the background.

In the UK, Melissa Whitworth of The Daily Telegraph said that Pan Am chose to "airbrush" the sixties because it depicts a "romanticised" view of the period. Colin Kennedy and Sharon Lougher of the Metro said the series is "irritatingly in love with its own sense of style". Though they said the storylines made it a "soapy guilty pleasure" and included it in their "pick of the day" television feature. Euan Ferguson from The Guardian praised Riccis casting as a positive indicator of the quality of acting, but criticized the overall casting, saying similar looks and identical uniforms make it difficult for viewers to learn the characters. Emma Brockes from the Guardian said that Pan Am is "bubble gum bright" and praised the whole cast for putting in "strong performances". In Ireland, Pat Stacey of the Evening Herald said the series portrays "silly storylines" and "cheesy dialogue," calling it "mile-high mediocrity".

Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal noted that the show highlights the "elegance and excitement" of air travel during the early 1960s. He said that former employees of the airline thought the series is an accurate portrayal, aside from some "Hollywood glamorization".

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the worlds largest flight attendant union, released a statement following the premiere of Pan Am. It said that the show is a reminder of the progress of flight attendants in relation to previous social injustices:

The premiere episode of the new Pan Am drama on ABC may be a nostalgic escape to the days before deregulation, but it also highlighted the myriad of social injustices overcome by the strong women who shaped a new career. Weight checks, girdle checks, the no marriage rule, sexism, gender discrimination, racism - all of this was challenged by intelligent, visionary women who helped to usher in the call for social change throughout the country and around the world.

As union members, the generation that crewed 1960s Pan American World Airways and their other airline counterparts, Flight Attendants fortified their voice to press airline management and Capitol Hill for equal rights, recognition of their work and improved aviation health and safety standards that benefit the traveling public. Negotiating contract improvements for middle class pay, proper rest, health care and retirement benefits ensured the skilled "stewardesses" set career standards that provided new opportunities for all women and men.

About the shows failure, Christina Ricci said: "I think it should not have been on network television. I think if that had been not get picked up, its a sendoff to the show viewers will be happy with."


5.2. Reception Awards and accolades

In 2012, the shows cinematographer, John Lindley, earned a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in One-Hour Episodic/Pilot Television by the American Society of Cinematographers. Pan Ams pilot episode was nominated for Best One-Hour Single Camera Television Series at the ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards. The series received recognition from gay critics with a Dorian Award nomination for Unsung TV Show of the Year. In May 2012, Pan Am won the Golden Rose Award for Best Series at the international Rose dOr TV awards, beating Martina Coles The Runaway and The Jury.