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Friday, September 30, 2011

Pan Am Takes Off

Hey, Pan Am premiered on ABC last week.  It's billed as a Mad Men kind of show - because both are glimmering 1960s period pieces - but I actually thought Pan Am may in some ways be even better than Mad Men.

Not only are the four stewardesses on Pan Am great to look at, but they have compelling personal stories, especially Kate, who's been recruited by the CIA, and her sister Laura, who's so gorgeous she has her picture on the cover of Life Magazine.   This makes the conversations and situations a lot more interesting than chit chat about girdles, though that was fun, too.

I love the unbridled optimism of the pilot and co-pilot, who are beaming from ear to ear as they take their clipper jet on its maiden voyage from New York to London.   The early 1960s were the last time we felt so good about our technologies and their capacity to improve our lives, and it feels good to see that again, if only on the screen.  (I actually never lost that feeling - see any of my books.)  Just about everyone in the air has a zest for their work - refreshing! - and the stewardesses are multi-lingual, true citizens of the world.  Pan Am is cosmopolitan through and through, just as Mad Men is quintessentially New York.

The attention to period detail is meticulous, just as in Mad Men.   But just like Mad Men, Pan Am had one little glitch in this episode - the bearded guy in Maggie's apartment is supposed to be what?  A beatnik?  His beard was off (beatniks had goatees).  He looked more like a well-groomed hippie - but hippies were still a few years away.

Pan Am is now in 1963, before JFK was assassinated.  That terrible event changed everything in 1960s reality, and Pan Am will need to deal with it.   If the premiere is any indication, the show will do a sterling job.

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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