Pan Am is not, as may have been feared, an attempt at a broadcast Mad Men. Yes, of course it exploits a polished version of the 1960s, in dealing with the famed airline… well, mainly the sharply-dressed stewardesses of the airline (there are male characters, but this is clearly the females’ show). However, it does not have the pretense of insight and commentary. Rather, it’s a broader, shallower drama, something that actually fits in quite nicely into the after-Desperate Housewives slot it now occupies.
Not, mind you, that it has (or tries for) Housewives’s sense of humor. But it does have the various individual storylines running within the context, and just as DH has its various personal storylines and then runs one larger, generally murder-oriented storylines running, this also has one broader play, as one of the stewardesses is actually a newly-recruited intelligence agent, in a story where Not All Is As It Seems.
The aims of the series aren’t that high, but for the most part, they reach them. It’s a watchable piece of unimportant, not particularly realistic, fun. As I said, a good match with DH.
Cringeworthy quote: “Mr. Anderson, people have underestimated me my entire life. And they’ve been wrong.” Well, yes. By definition. If they weren’t wrong, it would not be underestimating, it would be an accurate estimation.