October 5, 2011  ·  culture  ·  style

'60s-Themed Shows, We Hardly Knew Ye

With Mad Men apparently taking a year off to line up more blatant product placement opportunities, this seemed like a golden opportunity for network TV to leap into the void of what is apparently perceived to be an audience for anything with a thin veneer of 1960s crap laid atop it. The problem with The Playboy Club and Pan Am is that while a style-over-substance approach can succeed as a guilty pleasure—and both fall into this category with dialogue roughly on par with that of The Love Boat—the style isn't all that impressive either. Let's face it, the novelty of weak lapels and flaccid neckties wears off in a hurry, so if you aren't prepared to dig deeper into the richness of the era's automobiles, furniture and media, you're in trouble. The Playboy Club was visually remarkable primarily for how completely un-racy it turned out to be. Pan Am gave us two brief moments of eye candy in its first episode: Christina Ricci undressing in a taxicab and a glimpse of a Rome street lined with classic Fiats. Both combined for about 10 seconds of screen time in a 60-minute program.

The Playboy Club was croaked after just three episodes. The death watch is on for Pan Am.

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