Pan Am (TV series)
|Created by||Jack Orman|
|Developed by||Nancy Hult Ganis|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||14 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Nancy Hult Ganis
Marta Gene Camps
Paul Kurta (pilot only)
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Jack Orman Productions
Out of the Blue Entertainment
Shoe Money Productions
Sony Pictures Television
|Original run||September 25, 2011– February 19, 2012|
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 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. The time slot was subsequently filled by mid-season replacement GCB. Both series were canceled by ABC 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 d'Or TV awards, Europe's equivalent of the Emmys. Unable to reach a deal with Amazon, the series officially ended on June 20, 2012.
The complete series is available on DVD.
Cast and characters
- Christina Ricci as Margaret "Maggie" Ryan, the flight crew's idealistic and liberal-minded purser, who is not afraid to test the rules and her Pan Am superiors. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Maggie joined Pan Am by creating the impression that she was fluent in Portuguese.
- Margot Robbie as Laura Cameron, a stewardess newly out of training, and Kate Cameron's 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.
- Michael Mosley as Ted Vanderway, the crew's 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.
- 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 has planned to search for him.
- Mike Vogel as Dean Lowrey, a Boeing 707 pilot recently promoted to captain on Pan Am's international routes and one of the youngest airline captains in the industry. A former air force pilot, he had been romantically involved with the crew's former purser, Bridget, and is now pursuing a relationship with Colette. Dean has also found himself in a secret relationship with Ginny, the mistress of a Pan Am vice president.
- Kelli Garner as Catherine "Kate" Cameron, an experienced, trilingual stewardess and Laura Cameron's older, head-strong sister. During the pilot episode, Kate is recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and starts taking early assignments as a covert operative. She demonstrates a flair for espionage that impresses her handlers, and she is promoted from courier to agent halfway through the first season.
- 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 recommended that Richard recruit Kate into the CIA. 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.
- Jeremy Davidson as Richard Parks, Kate's 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 CIA's first female special agents.
- Kal Parekh as Sanjeev, the crew's Indian flight engineer.
- David Harbour as Roger Anderson, a British MI6 agent and Kate's covert intelligence operations contact in London. It is revealed in the season finale that Anderson is a double agent for the KGB.
- 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.
- Jay O. Sanders as Douglas Vanderway, Ted's father and president of a major aeronautics firm. After Ted is discharged from the 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 season's fifth episode.
- 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 Mr. Henson's 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 severely smash her face through a window in Rome.
- Scott Cohen as Everett Henson, a Pan Am vice president whose mistress, Ginny, has a secret affair with Dean.
- 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.
- Darren Pettie as Captain George Broyles, a veteran Pan Am pilot who smuggles alcohol and tobacco during his flights as his side business. 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.
- Ashley Greene as Amanda Mason, Ted's childhood friend and later, love interest and fiancée. 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.
- 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 Omar's 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 Omar's family would not accept).
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date|
|Series premiere||Series finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||14||September 25, 2011||February 19, 2012||January 29, 2013||March 4, 2013||N/A|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||U.S. viewers
|Original air date||Production
|1||"Pilot"||Thomas Schlamme||Jack Orman||11.06||3.1||September 25, 2011||PA-101|
|April 1963. Dean pilots the Clipper Majestic's first New York to London flight—his first as a captain—and searches for his girlfriend, Bridget, about whom Dean learns some shocking news. Maggie, a stewardess suspended for not wearing her girdle to work, is unexpectedly reinstated when the scheduled purser, Bridget, does not arrive. Veteran stewardess Kate is revealed to be a CIA courier who was recruited during a layover in Rome three months prior, and she takes her first U.S. intelligence assignment to switch a passenger's passport. Meanwhile, Laura must deal with people asking her if she is the stewardess on the cover of Life magazine, and trying to do her best while not bothering her sister, Kate, who resents Laura's sudden fame. Colette sees a former lover on the flight, only to discover he is accompanied by his wife and son.|
|2||"We'll Always Have Paris"||Chris Misiano||Mike Daniels & Jack Orman||7.76||2.6||October 2, 2011||PA-103|
|During a trip to Paris, Laura's mother arrives and tries to settle some unfinished business between her two daughters. Maggie deals with unwanted attention from an aggressive passenger. In Paris, Dean enlists Colette's aid as he looks for information about Bridget. Meanwhile, Kate's U.S. intelligence handler, Richard Parks, gives her a small package to deliver to somebody in Paris who will contact her using a code. Kate is surprised when the contact is the missing stewardess, Bridget. The package contains a passport and other identification for Bridget's new identity, which Kate must assume as Bridget is being deactivated from intelligence service due to her failure to follow orders.|
|3||"Ich Bin Ein Berliner"||Alex Graves||Yahlin Chang||6.38||1.9||October 9, 2011||PA-104|
|June 1963. On a press junket to West Berlin, Maggie tries everything she can to meet President John F. Kennedy while the crew tries to find a place to see him deliver his Ich bin ein Berliner speech. Meanwhile, Colette struggles with her memories of the Nazi occupation of Paris and being orphaned when she was a child during World War II. While on a covert intelligence operation, Kate aids a female East German intelligence courier who is in hiding from the Stasi and wishes to defect. Near the end of the episode, the crew attends a party at the U.S. State Department's Berlin Mission. In the midst of the festivities surrounding Kennedy's presence there, Colette spontaneously and emotionally sings aloud the first verse of the "Deutschlandlied"—the verse associated with the Nazi regime. She later explains to Kate, "Your president tries so hard to lift [the Germans'] shame, but they should feel shame. I came to Germany to forgive, but I still hate them. And I don't know how to stop."|
|4||"Eastern Exposure"||Thomas Schlamme||Jack Orman & Moira Walley-Beckett||5.84||1.8||October 16, 2011||PA-102|
|A last-minute scheduling change lands the crew in Rangoon before heading to Jakarta, Indonesia. While there, Maggie takes Laura out on the town. Roger Anderson, Kate's British intelligence contact, gives her a covert assignment requiring her to deliver a spy camera to an address in a seedy part of the city, and she almost misses the drop deadline because Laura unwittingly takes the camera for her own interests. Meanwhile, Ted is reminded of his past as a former United States Naval Aviator and test pilot, and he harbors anger and resentment about his powerful family connections, which landed him his current job with Pan Am after he was honorably discharged from the Navy. After arriving in Hong Kong from Jakarta, Ted punches Dean after a heated disagreement concerning the landing of their aircraft. They settle their differences after returning to New York, where Dean tells Ted how he managed to jump the line. At the end of the episode, Kate expects to return home and find Laura in the apartment they share in Brooklyn, but the apartment is empty and Laura is moving in with Maggie.|
|5||"One Coin in a Fountain"||Andrew Bernstein||Story: Lydia Woodward
Teleplay: Jill Abbinanti & Lydia Woodward
|5.68||1.8||October 23, 2011||PA-105|
|July 1963. The crew flies to Monte Carlo. Maggie is attracted to Niko Lonza (Goran Visnjic), a Yugoslavian UN attaché who has a personal connection to a female Soviet spy (Barbara Schulz). Kate's assignment is to get the spy's fingerprints, which puts her directly between Niko and Maggie, much to Maggie's consternation. In New York, Laura returns to the pawn shop to retrieve the engagement ring she pawned more than 60 days before after leaving her groom-to-be at the altar. When she discovers that it has been sold, she goes to Harlem with Ted to find the buyer and to buy it back and get closure in her open-ended relationship with her former fiancé. During an earlier flight between New York and London, Dean meets Ginny (Erin Cummings), a passenger who, as he discovers en route to Monte Carlo, is the mistress of Everett Henson (Scott Cohen), a Pan Am vice president.|
|6||"The Genuine Article"||Matt Penn||Todd Ellis Kessler & Nick Thiel||5.46||1.8||October 30, 2011||PA-106|
|August 1963. Despite being very close to losing her job due to insubordination, Maggie gets herself assigned to a flight to Rio de Janeiro by claiming she is fluent in Portuguese. As she looks back on the path she took to get her job, she realizes she would do anything to keep it. Meanwhile, Kate is given an assignment that involves discovering Niko's political sympathies. She learns that the CIA wants her to recruit Niko, and tries to balance her assignment and her growing relationship with him. Dean is annoyed as Ginny continues to romantically vacillate between him and her boss, Mr. Henson. During the flight to Rio de Janeiro, a photographer for Life magazine takes pictures of Laura. During a raid, police at Rio de Janeiro arrest Laura and Maggie for buying stolen goods and Laura discovers Maggie is not fluent in Portuguese and makes her disappointment in her new roommate clear. Ted eventually arrives at the police station and bribes the officers to let them go. Maggie, whose job is still in jeopardy, solicits Henson's help on the flight back to New York and after their arrival at the Worldport. When he refuses for a second time to help her, Maggie offers to provide information that might be of interest to him. At the end, Maggie still has her job and is studying to learn Portuguese.|
|7||"Truth or Dare"||Julie Anne Robinson||Mike Daniels & Jack Orman||5.17||1.7||November 6, 2011||PA-108|
|The crew has been assigned to shuttle U.S. Navy sailors belonging to a submarine crew from Madrid-Barajas Airport to Idlewild airport. While waiting for the sailors to arrive, Maggie, Colette, Laura, and Kate sit in the back of the plane and play a game of Truth or Dare. During the game, Laura reveals that she posed nude for a Life magazine photographer, which upsets Kate. Once airborne, the sailors hold an impromptu bachelor party for one of their own, during which Joe (Gaius Charles), a Negro sailor from Mississippi, toasts the groom, producing a warm smile from Laura. Dean lets Colette take control of the plane briefly after Ted and Sanjeev leave the cockpit; Maggie has dared Colette to fly the plane. After landing, Maggie invites Joe to spend the night on a couch in the apartment she now shares with Laura. The following day, he and Laura tour New York City until his train departs for Mississippi that evening. In the train station, Joe falls victim to a racially motivated assault. Laura takes him to Kate's apartment, where she tends to his wounds and they share a passionate kiss. Kate and Niko spend the night together; Kate is upset when Niko is forcibly taken away from her apartment for a CIA interview. After realizing Kate has been working to recruit him as an operative, Niko becomes angry with her, accusing her of lying to him about the true nature of their relationship. At the end of the episode, Niko and Kate work out their differences in the Worldport before she boards Flight 2, a flight around the world, and he returns to Yugoslavia.|
|8||"Unscheduled Departure"||Millicent Shelton||Jill Abbinanti & Nick Thiel||5.64||1.8||November 13, 2011||PA-109|
|October 1963. En route to Caracas, Flight 203 is diverted to Port-au-Prince when a passenger named Henry (guest star Harris Yulin) appears to suffer a heart attack. Because the airport is closed, the nighttime landing is perilous. Two armed Haitian rebels confront the crew; Colette negotiates use of their jeep in order to find a doctor. Ted and Colette leave on their search and encounter an orphaned girl. The girl helps them find a doctor, who gives Ted and Colette a nitroglycerin pill for Henry. Having been orphaned herself, Colette promises the girl they will take her along, much to Ted’s chagrin. Despite their efforts, Henry dies before they return to the airport. The runway has been damaged by Hurricane Ginny and is too short for a normal take-off, making it necessary to lighten the load by burning off fuel and leaving luggage behind. Colette and Dean have a heated exchange about the stowaway and the passengers balk at her presence. Kate decides to leave Henry's body behind to compensate for the added passenger's weight. With armed and hostile Haitian troops approaching, Dean successfully performs a dangerous take-off and they fly to Miami, where Kate asks Richard to ensure the orphan is allowed into the U.S. A Pan Am official confronts the stewardesses, wanting to know who was responsible for allowing the stowaway on board, but walks away without further inquiry after they present a united front. The Miami base manager sternly lectures Dean about landing in a hostile country, leaving the body of a passenger behind, and returning with the orphan; the manager tells Dean he would have been fired if he were not in Juan Trippe's favor. As he leaves the manager's office, Colette gives Dean a prolonged kiss.|
|9||"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"||John Fortenberry||Moira Walley-Beckett & Lydia Woodward||4.65||1.5||December 4, 2011||PA-110|
|Two hours before flying to London, Kate refuses one last CIA assignment, but accepts it after Richard threatens her job at Pan Am. Dean and Colette call in sick so he can teach her how to fly at his parents' farm. Colette is humiliated to learn Dean did not tell his parents about his breakup with Bridget, but they eventually make up and have sex in a barn. On the London flight, Laura spills coffee on Dean's obnoxious replacement—the lecherous Dennis Thornton (guest star John Bedford Lloyd)—after he looks down her blouse. Ted defuses the tension between Dennis and Laura, and asks Laura to pose as his girlfriend during a meeting with his childhood friend Amanda Mason (Ashley Greene). Ted walks away with Amanda before Laura can participate in the ruse. Maggie gets her activist friend Sam (Danny Deferrari) onto the flight, where he confronts hawkish Congressman Christopher Rawlings (Chris Beetem) over nuclear weapons. Sam chastises Maggie at the hotel for not using her job to make a difference, and she sidles up to Rawlings and later sleeps with him. Kate fulfills her mission, but Anderson tells her they must obtain a CIA asset list from Cyrus Bolger (Damian Young), a jeweler who will sell it to the Soviets. Kate distracts Bolger at the hotel while Anderson breaks into his safe, but Maggie, disgusted with a pro-nuclear speech Rawlings will make, burns the paper it is written on, causing a fire in his room and the hotel is evacuated. Bolger is forced to return to his store and Kate follows him there; upon arriving, she sees a struggle between Bolger and Anderson that knocks Anderson's gun loose. Kate picks it up and fires as Bolger is about to kill Anderson.
Note: This episode aired on the 20th anniversary of Pan Am's end of operations.
|10||"Secrets and Lies"||Allison Liddi-Brown||Mike Daniels||3.96||1.3||January 8, 2012||PA-111|
|A week after the events in London, Bridget visits Kate in New York and declares she is reclaiming her Pan Am job and Dean since the CIA asset list is out of Soviet hands. She appears at the airport before Dean's flight to London—which she is traveling on—and tries to explain herself, but he angrily rebuffs her. Bridget then asks Colette to convince Dean to meet with her. Colette agrees, as she feels Dean must put Bridget behind him if their relationship is to move forward. Dean again rejects Bridget's explanations, but Colette believes Dean is not yet over Bridget and asks him to leave. Bridget tells Dean the truth about being a spy for MI6, and though he is still upset with her they sleep together. Maggie writes a blistering article for the Village Voice criticizing Congressman Rawlings' politics, but her reporter friend Mike Ruskin (Colin Donnell) rejects it as an angry rant. After having lunch with Rawlings, however, she falls in love with him. At the last minute, the Village Voice needs a story, and Mike submits Maggie's article for publication, sending her into a panic. Ted wants to sleep with his new girlfriend, Amanda, but she wants to wait until after marriage. He discusses the matter with Laura, who reveals that she admires girls who want to wait, but is not a virgin herself. After Amanda defends Ted against his overbearing father (Jay O. Sanders), Ted opts to wait until she is ready for sex and asks Laura's help in buying an engagement ring, which makes Laura uncomfortable because she is developing feelings for Ted. Kate, meanwhile, must lie her way through a polygraph test to protect herself and Anderson from the fallout from Bolger's death. After initial reservations, she passes the test, but when Anderson compliments her skills and bids her farewell, she is unsure whether she wants to stop spying.|
|11||"Diplomatic Relations"||David Petrarca||Story: Todd Ellis Kessler
Teleplay: Jeffrey Lieber & Craig Shapiro
|3.82||1.2||January 15, 2012||PA-112|
|November 1963.After his night with Bridget, which he calls a mistake, Dean is summoned to New York and informed that he will pilot the first flight to Moscow. However, when Captain George Broyles (Darren Pettie) assumes charge during Dean's crew briefing, Dean comes to resent him. On the flight, Bridget, who has returned to work, tells Colette she will respect Dean's decision about who he wants to be with. Before the flight, Richard asks Kate to check on a double agent the CIA has lost contact with and ensure she is alive with her cover intact. Upon landing, Bridget, Colette, Laura, and Kate go sightseeing, but KGB agents interpret Laura's innocent photography as an espionage attempt and detain her and Bridget for interrogation. The crew's Soviet hosts cancel the trip and insist they return to the United States, leaving Laura and Bridget behind. Kate discovers that Captain Broyles smuggles liquor into the Soviet Union, and asks him to bribe an influential Kremlin official, whom she contacts via the double agent, to free Laura and Bridget. Her plan works, and Laura and Bridget are freed. On the flight back to New York, Dean tells Colette, who found one of his cufflinks in Bridget's suitcase, of his affair with Bridget. Colette is heartbroken but Bridget is hopeful of a reunion with Dean. Meanwhile, Maggie, who has more time off due to Bridget's return, agrees to be Congressman Rawlings' date at a party for his supporters, which include Ted and Amanda. Rawlings is determined to find out who wrote the Village Voice article about him. Maggie insults one of Rawlings' largest donors during a heated argument, and he realizes she wrote the article and breaks up with her. At the same time, Ted proposes to Amanda and she accepts. Later, Amanda finds Maggie crying and comforts her, but then completely surprises her by kissing her on the lips.|
|12||"New Frontiers"||John Fortenberry||Jessica Ramos & Scott Erik Summer||3.74||1.2||January 22, 2012||PA-113|
|Maggie tells Ted why she has reservations about him marrying Amanda after Amanda tells Ted about her encounter with Maggie. When Ted later confronts Amanda, she tells him that she feels more comfortable around women and asks for an open marriage. Dean pines for Colette, who reveals she has asked for a transfer to the Hong Kong hub. On a flight to Rome, Colette befriends a handsome, mysterious man named Omar (Piter Marek) and agrees to show him around the city. Meanwhile, Dean is accosted by local customs officials who are looking for a smuggler. Dean points out Omar, who turns out to be a runaway prince from Wahran. Kate needs to learn how to pickpocket for her next mission—stealing a microfilm from a diplomat. Laura is shocked to discover that the Life magazine photographer, Graham, sold the nude photos he took of her to a gallery, where they are displayed and are eventually bought by Andy Warhol, who is interested in meeting Laura. Dean realizes that Broyles, who was on the flight to Rome, was responsible for smugging cigarettes and punches him during a party. At the end, everyone's lives are interrupted when they learn about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.|
|13||"Romance Languages"||John Coles||Moira Walley-Beckett||2.57||0.7||February 12, 2012||PA-107|
|The Clipper Majestic crew fly to Rome but Dean has decided to end his relationship with Ginny, who is still the mistress of a Pan Am executive. She tells Dean she loves him, but he says her love is not real. Ginny is devastated when Dean ends their relationship. Meanwhile, Colette is put in charge of looking after a precocious and unescorted 12-year-old boy named Charlie, who develops a crush on her. Kate is still deeply in love with Niko, the handsome Yugoslavian diplomat that she had been ordered to turn toward U.S. interests. Niko tells Kate he cannot go to Rome with her. When Kate arrives in Rome, a strange man pushes her to the ground and tells her to stay away from Niko. Laura spends her time in Rome trying to convince everyone, especially herself, that she is not a child because of the Life magazine article about her and her argument with the photographer. Laura and Kate talk about their first sexual experiences and experiencing the world in Rome, and when Laura returns to New York, she does not sleep with the photographer but allows him to take photographs of her naked. Ginny tells Colette that one of her colleagues revealed Ginny's affair with Dean, and Colette works out that it was Maggie, whom she confronts after they return to New York. Colette does not tell Dean because he has told told her that he did not want to know what they said.
Note: The narrative of this episode takes place between "The Genuine Article" and "Truth or Dare". "Romance Languages" had originally been scheduled to air on November 6, 2011 (one week after "The Genuine Article"), but ABC instead aired "Truth or Dare" on that date. ABC aired "Romance Languages" three months later, opposite the Grammy Awards, with no in-story explanation for the out-of-order action.
|14||"1964"||Andrew Bernstein||Nick Thiel||3.77||1.2||February 19, 2012||PA-114|
|On New Year's Eve, Dean is grounded pending an investigation into the incident in Haiti. Broyles convinces Maggie to smuggle some jewels through customs for him. She insists on going with Broyles to meet his contacts and learns they are going to cheat him when they start speaking in Portuguese and she understands them. Maggie later returns and negotiates a fair price for the jewels. Dean is about to be fired when Broyles arrives to speak up for him and present an endorsement from Juan Trippe that Maggie obtained. As a result, Dean's punishment is reduced to a six-month suspension. Omar asks Colette for permission to formally court her but is forced to withdraw his suit when a background check reveals that, unknown to her, her parents were Jewish and were killed at Dachau. Colette also learns that she has a younger brother who was given up for adoption. In New York, Kate is contacted by an injured Richard, who reveals a double agent is trying to obtain the microfilm. However, Anderson then tells Kate that Richard is the double agent and Kate has to figure out which of them to trust. Amanda asks Laura to be Ted's mistress but she refuses. Ted breaks off his engagement, goes to see Laura, tells her he loves her, and they kiss. Later, Amanda tells Ted she is pregnant. As the episode draws to a close, the entire crew of the Clipper Majestic celebrate the New Year watching the Times Square ball drop from Ted's apartment. Colette reconciles with Dean and they share a kiss at the stroke of midnight.|
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, a comment from Karine Vanasse about the future of Pan Am, and its absence from the mid-season schedule started media speculation that the series had been canceled by ABC. 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 is 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, is one of the show's executive producers and is credited as the series developer; she researched for the series at the Pan Am Historical Foundation and at Pan Am's 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 features 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.
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 magazine's 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.
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 CTV's 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 RTÉ 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. 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 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.
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 don't think Pan Am really knows what kind of show it wants to be just yet. But I also don't think that's 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 it's 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 show's 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 Ricci's 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 world's 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...
The series premiere attracted 11.06 million viewers, but viewership declined thereafter. The second episode attracted 7.76 million, and by the sixth episode, ratings were less than half of the show's premiere. By the season's 12th episode, audiences had fallen to 3.74 million.
Following ABC's announcement of its mid-season schedule in November 2011, TV by the Numbers called Pan Am "defacto canceled", given its ratings and the fact that ABC had ordered only one further episode. A tweet by cast member Karine Vanasse ("Well, we received THE call, #PanAm is only coming back for one more episode after Christmas. But up to the end, we'll give it our all !") appeared to confirm the cancellation, though weeks later Vanasse told The Hollywood Reporter "what I was saying is that we would come back to shoot one more episode after Christmas." In a Los Angeles Times interview published just before the season finale, showrunner Steven Maeda said that Pan Am has a "good upscale core of viewers" both live and DVR; the season finale, "tie[s] up some loose ends but ... also add[s] some new threads in there to explore later. But, should [the show] not get picked up, it's a sendoff to the show viewers will be happy with."
Awards and accolades
In 2012, the show's cinematographer, John Lindley, earned a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in One-Hour Episodic/Pilot Television by the American Society of Cinematographers. Pan Am's 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 d'Or TV awards, beating Martina Cole's The Runaway and The Jury.
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