Adventure in the Skies, ABC, Sunday Nights

What’s it about? I started out with fourteen shows, but last night I added a fifteenth – this fun, retro cocktail about the flight crew of Pan Am’s newest clipper jet adventuring through clear skies in 1963 – and I wanted to be sure to put it where it deserves to go, which is right in this slot after Revenge. I will say it was nice to see a show with a plane that didn’t deem it necessary to have devastating crash. All the drama came from within our erstwhile flight crew. There’s spy intrigue, a missing girlfriend, a steamy affair gone bad, and a lost and lonely young stewardess, and, with all that, we pretty much never leave the confines of that pressurized cabin. And it’s such a pretty cabin. So much space!

On the Holiday Special Scale: 9 out of 10. The wonderful thing about this show is that, any given week, it can be set anywhere in the world at a time that was extraordinarily intriguing. This show is getting a lot of comparisons to Mad Man, which, of course, it looks like, but you have to keep in mind that, while the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are gorgeous, they’re not going anywhere. The characters on Pan-Am have a gorgeous office, but when they open the door and walk outside, they open the door to another world. This show has already shown us a willingness to globe-trot. It’s shown us Cuba, New York, Rome and London, and all of those looked pretty convincing. The last show to be this temporally adventurous was Lost, and goodness I love making that comparison.

That being so, who knows where this show’s holidays will be set? I know when they will be set, and I find that fascinating in its own right. But that means I definitely want to see this show’s take on Thanksgiving in 1963. How will the flight crew celebrate Thanksgiving in Cairo? Or Rio? How about Christmas making an emergency run to a still-in-its-infancy Vietnam War for Christmas? This is how shows draw you in and keep you around. Pan Am will be a big hit riding on this promise alone. If it squanders that and sticks to closely to headquarters, expect people to get restless and catch another
flight.

On the Stupid Advertisement Scale: 7 out of 10. This pilot was exceptional – adventurous, sparkly, engrossing, even intriguing. Even the score, full of blasting horns is noteworthy for it’s quality. It completely took me by surprise. I thought I’d liked The Playboy Club pilot well enough, but this pilot showed me how much more potential there was that NBC had already squandered. That being said, there were times during this pilot where I was confused. There were some less than interesting transitions here, and I had trouble keeping my interest up between breaks. But this show really came together in its last ten minutes, and I think it only builds on the promise from here. That kind of promise keeps me coming back after ad breaks. It makes me think that I’ve found that “it” I described in my first post! Fingers crossed.

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