Like many fans of early 60s fashion, culture, and aesthetic, we tuned in last night for the premiere of Pan Am in hopes that it would fill a hole in our television watching schedule left by the delay of the next Mad Men season. Unfortunately, the show left us with a feeling akin to turbulence rather than one of a magnificent jet age as we had hoped.
From obvious green-screen affects to an over-polished plot and costuming we felt more like we were being transported to a Lifetime movie of the week rather than a midcentury airport. While I'm sure the show may have its merits and can serve as a guilty pleasure for those "there's nothing on TV" moments, in our opinion it definitely seemed to miss the runway a bit.
The Playboy Club was another "let's see if we can profit from Mad Men" attempt by American television that didn't even grab our attention enough to watch the premiere. Online reviews of the show are mixed, so for some it may fill the "guilty pleasure" category for nights when even reality television can't fill the void.
One new show that has caught our attention is The Hour from the BBC. As Anglophiles who've been known to get into one too many episodes of Coronation Street simply for a dose of British-isms, we're intrigued by this little gem that may be more Mad Men of the newsage.
The problem with this one, at least for us, is access. Hopefully the fact that we live in the age of the Internet may mean we too can partake in viewing this little gem sometime in the not too distant future.
Until then, for us, it will be a steady stream of Mad Men reruns and perhaps a re-watching of some of our favorites including:
A Single Man:
This 2009 gem directed by Tom Ford is set in 1962 Southern California and stars Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.
It is brilliantly acted, provides a captivating story, and is aesthetically beautiful. If you don't find yourself saying "I want to live in that house" after seeing that midcentury modern gem on screen, I think you need to rewatch the movie!
Far From Heaven:
Alongside Dennis Quaid, Julianne Moore delivers another brilliant performance in this 2002 film set in 1950s Connecticut.
The sets and costumes are flawless, which act as a perfect counterbalance to the flawed society it is depicting.
To go in a bit of a different direction, for all you Suedeheads out there, there's 1969's Bronco Bullfrog.
You could consider this a "deep cut" compared to the other films and shows in this post. Set in London's East End, it follows the story of a couple of tough council estate-living teens, one just out from borstal, as they bounce around the city, doing small crimes, evading the police. Eric admits, it was a little tough to get through - mostly due to the heavy accents and lack of subtitles. But he enjoyed it more as a historical piece about a subculture that has fairly few films and books about it. It's a bit hard to find, but there are a few Amazon sellers offering copies.
Also to be checked out (but we haven't seen them yet):
Any suggestions from you?