Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall TV – More 60’s

John McFetridge

We may have to wait until January for our Mad Men fix, but there are at least a couple of other TV shows starting this fall that will take us back to the 60’s; The Playboy Club and Pan Am. Interestingly, both are sort of crime fiction.

The Playboy Club is described as, “the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, “CSI: Miami”) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, “Zombieland”), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family.”

Just when we’re told that period drama AND mob stories are out of fashion, we get both in one show.

I think the timing is just off for me. When I turned eighteen (late 70’s) the Playboy club seemed so old fashioned and phony. Far from the “door to all my fantasies,” it seemed like the place where has-been comedians made bad jokes about women who clearly didn’t want to be there.

Over the summer I managed to get my hands on the pilot script for Pan Am and right away I saw where with good CGI it’ll have some fantastic looking scenes; there’s a helicopter ride across Manhattan, scenes in European cities and even a Cuban rescue. There’s a lot packed into the pilot episode (at least the script), including a spy story.

Likely both shows will have scenes of women being measured and weighed and being reprimanded if they’re too “heavy.” I know Pan Am has such a scene in the script (and I think I’ve seen it in the promos, “Are you wearing your girdle?”) and it might be impossible for The Playboy Club to avoid.

This all seems like a kind of candy-coated nostalgia, but who knows, maybe both shows will be terrific. What I like to take from this is, don’t take advice about what’s ‘in’ seriously and just write what you want – period, mob, spy, whatever.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I am really looking forward to both shows. I have never been one to go along with the masses or what's in. Big fan of Madmen, but was a bit disapointed with last season. I remember thinking during season 1 of MM that it is only a matter of time until some similiar type of show(s)started hitting the small screen. I was also a big fan of "Life on Mars", but that didn't last very long.

John McFetridge said...

I'd like to see more 70's shows. I watched Swingtown for the soundtrack and set direction (and sex, but sadly there just wasn't enough) and I also would have liked to have seen Life on Mars last a little longer.

It doesn't seem to change things at the networks here in Canada, I've pitched a 50's show (Levittown) and a 60's show (Revolution about the KGB in Montreal) and I'm always told that period shows don't get big enough audiences.

I don't care, I'm going to keep pitching them, ha ha.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I also am partial to the 70's era. Stick to your guns. Sooner or later, someone is going to "get it". Isn't it ironic that most of the really, really great crime movies are all period pieces with huge staying power over the years.

pattinase (abbott) said...

If the major networks are doing this, I am dubious. If it's AMC or FX, I have hopes.

Steve Weddle said...

Agree that it'll be "candy-coated nostalgia" if it's on network.

They should just stick to doing cops and lawyers dramas and hot chick/fat guy comedies.