Mad Men stars, so much to answer for, as Steven Patrick Morrissey didn't say. At a juncture, not so long ago, when every other outfitter, bar and hair salon was inviting you to dress, drink or look like Don or Betty Draper, it was perhaps inevitable that television producers would not be too far behind the curve, if not actually leading it.
So to Pan Am, then, a super kitsch Mad Men of the skies set in the golden age of air travel, when a tiny uniform infraction could ground the forward-thinking girl's perfectly natural ambitions to see the world, be ogled by businessmen and/or become an MI6 agent. Focusing on the lives and low-maintenance hairstyles of a band of four stewardesses, it stars a still teenage-looking and wildly underused Christina Ricci as purser Feisty Spice, discussing Marxism here and stabbing over-friendly passengers there.
Her crew of blue-uniformed girdle-wearers is completed by liberated Parisian Continental Spice, plus sisters Cover Girl Spice (Donna from Neighbours, you daytime fans) and Subterfuge Spice, the former having fled her own wedding to, you guessed it, 'see the world' and the latter being groomed as a spy on the grounds of her freedom of movement. Not to mention her ability to distract the enemy with her fine array of miniatures and savoury snacks.
If this all sounds faintly implausible, fear not. This really is the least of our worries. Reliant on a clunky flashback structure and hampered by a script heavy on exclamations and light on tension, Pan Am is classic style-over-content, guilty pleasure television. It appears as though it was filmed with an inch-thick of Vaseline on the lens, although the glossy look is frequently undone by period-setting effects that have more in common with a video game than a drama series. By the second episode of the opening double bill, you are willing one of the CGI sets to be crashed by the cast of Grand Theft Auto, if only for its comparatively granular characterisation.
Someone at the BBC has bought a lemon, a fact that they appear to have acknowledged by opening on a Wednesday slot short on competition before punting it to the long grass of Saturday night. Reports in the US suggest that, mercifully, Pan Am will be culled before it is allowed to gather the skittish, studenty following that it will scarcely deserve.
Christina Ricci deserves better. Don't we all?