The crew of ABC’s Pan Am will have a different man in the cockpit as the series launches this fall. Mike Vogel (Cloverfield, She’s Out of My League) will take over the role of "Dean" from actor Jonah Lotan – who played the character in the pilot.
Though the network did not give any definitive reason for recasting the role, one explanation could be Vogel’s rising profile. In addition to the two aforementioned films, the actor also had a role in last year’s indie-hit Blue Valentine and was in consideration to wield the shield for this summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
Of course the role of Cap went to Chris Evans, meaning Vogel would have to settle for wings on his lapel, instead of his helmet. There is a silver lining, however, as the actor gets set to fly the friendly skies with Pan Am leading ladies Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner (The Aviator, Going the Distance) and Margot Robbie (Neighbours).
Because Lotan is not well-known to American audiences, and due to the fact that the show focuses primarily on Ricci and her fellow stewardesses, the transition from Lotan to Vogel was expected to be rather painless. However, with Vogel now on board, the role is reportedly being rewritten to have a larger impact on the series – meaning more screen time for Captain Dean.
Pan Am joins NBC’s The Playboy Club as the two retro-themed shows looking to imitate AMC’s highly-praised Mad Men. Viewers of each program will be immediately reminded of Matthew Weiner’s vision of the 1960s, but thankfully for Pan Am and The Playboy Club, recent events at AMC mean the shadow of Mad Men won’t loom again until 2012 – which could give both shows ample chance to gain a somewhat unbiased audience.
For what it’s worth, Pan Am has been described as "A fun, sexy period adventure that’s part Catch Me If You Can, part Mad Men, and part Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." That last bit about Confessions of a Dangerous Mind should have everyone intrigued.
Take a look for yourself in the trailer below:
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Pan Am’s biggest assets may be snagging Ricci and avoiding controversy. In comparison, The Playboy Club has Amber Heard (Zombieland, Drive Angry 3D) and David Krumholtz (Serenity, Numb3rs) as the biggest names in its cast.
Meanwhile, even before a single episode has aired, the NBC program’s association with the Playboy brand – and a reported nudity clause in the actors and actresses’ contracts – has elicited complaints and threats of boycotts against some NBC affiliates that plan to air the program. One affiliate went so far as to refuse to air the program altogether – prompting this response from the network:"The content of The Playboy Club will be consistent with broadcast network standards and the show will carry an appropriate rating."
Of course it’s too soon to tell how the Playboy situation will work out in terms of ratings (for either show), but with each premiering in just over a month, there’s little time to adjust for further controversy.
On the other hand, if Pan Am and The Playboy Club prove to be half as successful as Mad Men, television audiences may be looking at slew of period dramas in the near future.
Pan Am will air Sunday nights @10pm on ABC this fall.