In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.
Are you humming the theme song yet? If not, that’s a shame.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I pity you, fool.
The A-Team was one of several 80’s action shows I watched as a kid and it remains one of my all-time favorites. It’s the best cotton candy for my brain ever.
The set-up was just as simple as the intro suggested. The team was comprised of the plan-making, wise-cracking, disguise-loving Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard); the smooth, charming, sometimes unsure, always a ladies man Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Dirk Benedict); the tough on the outside, soft on the inside (well, sometimes) Sgt. B.A. Baracus (Mr. T); and the ever crazy, same outfit wearing (read the shirts!) pilot Captain H.M. “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock. In the first and second seasons they were joined by Amy Allen (Melinda Culea) and Tawnia Baker (Marla Heasley), respectively, and chased throughout most of the series run by first Colonel Lynch (William Lucking) and then Colonel Decker (Lance LeGault). In the fifth season they attempted to reinvent the show by changing the premise somewhat. They added Frankie Santana (Eddie Velez) to the team and forced them into working for the vexing General Hunt Stockwell (Robert Vaughn).
The show is probably best known for the iconic build scenes (montages of them building something out of nothing; my favorite was the cabbage cannon), the gunfights in which no one was killed, and the car chases in which at least one car would flip wildly, land on its top, and the dazed occupents crawl from the car hardly scratched. Oh, and the explosions. Sometimes the storylines were a little out there, particularly in season four, but it was all in good fun.
With all the action, it’s easy to miss the dialogue, which as far as I’m concered, is where it’s at. These guys had some great, funny lines. This show gets the credit for my all-time favorite insult: “Your mother works on street corners and you’re so ugly, flies won’t land on you.” The show as a whole is incredibly quotable.
Also, if you’re in the mood for a show to jolt you out of your safe, politically correct world, this will do you. The early to mid-80’s weren’t nearly as sensitive (and you might feel bad for laughing).
The guest cast on this show was fantastic. Great stunt casting during season four. Boy George and Hulk Hogan. You can’t get bigger and more 80’s than that. But even the more low key guests were fab. Richard Moll, Alan Fudge, Red West, James Hong, Keye Luke, John Saxon, Dana Elcar, Dennis Franz, Markie Post, Alan Autry, Wings Hauser, and Claudia Christian, just to name a few.
Most of the kids my age loved BA, as they loved Mr. T. I loved him, too, but my heart belonged to (and still belongs to) Murdock. He was funny. He was crazy. He wore Chuck Taylors. He flew helicopters. He was the coolest of the cool in my eyes. To this day there’s still a little part of me that wants to be him.
I’ll settle for owning the entire series on DVD.
Side note: When I first heard about them making an A-Team moving, I was not on board. It was going to be far too difficult in my mind to recreate those characters and that chemistry. I had no interest in seeing it.
However, after several favorable reviews from friends, I was persuaded to see the finished product in the theater. I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it. It was fun like the show. It kept a lot of the show’s canon. And the new actors made the characters their own without completely alienating them from the originals.
I just wish the original cast could have played bigger roles.