Pam Am, The Playboy Club And The Death Of Creativity In Television

Pan Am PosterTwo new television programs getting big pushes this fall are ABC’s Pan Am and NBC’s The Playboy Club. ABC especially is promoting the hell out of Pan Am. Both these shows are period pieces and direct, shameless rip-offs of AMC’s Mad Men.

Mad Men was a breakthrough when it came out. A beautiful period piece set in the world of Advertising in the 50’s and 60’s. The writing is superior and the attention to detail in the show is remarkable. What is sad is once something becomes very popular, people in TV rush to copy it. So it’s no surprise to see these two new shows. Frankly I wonder what took them so long. There is such a void of creativity in television, truly great shows only come around once and awhile and most of what is out there are rip offs. CSI became popular and what did they do, replicate it several times. Same for Law and Order.

I guess it’s been this way for quite awhile though. Television goes through phases. For one period, everything is a cop drama, than a hospital one. Lately, the traditional cop drama has morphed into more of a psychic cop drama like Medium.

I predict both The Playboy Club and Pan Am will be failures. People do see through this pretty well and neither bring anything original or interesting to the party. None of the actual creativity comes from the major networks anyway. Virtually everything that is decent now comes from networks like AMC, FX, and HBO.

For the record, here are the only shows I watch these days that I think are worth watching.

Breaking Bad – I came late to this show but I’m hooked now

The Walking Dead – I have read the comic and it’s awesome. I was very worried they would mess it up, but so far the show is great.

Sons of Anarchy – How can you not love crusty Ron Perman as the head of a rough and tumble motorcycle gang?

The Daily Show – When the actual news is so insane you want to tear your hair out, this is the only thing that may keep you from completely loosing it.

I’m sure there are some shows I have missed but with three kids, I only have time for so much. Add your favorites in the comments below.