Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Classic TV (?) : The A-Team (1983)

Some say it was a cartoon brought to life, because no one really got hurt. However, The A-Team, which turned 30 in January, was escapist fun, even though it did overstay its welcome.

As the opening narrative tells us, 4 men were wrongly convicted by a military court in 1972, and promptly escaped. The military is still after them 11 years later, which calls into question the statute of limitations on the charges against the men now known as the A-Team. The dogged, relentless pursuit by the military recalls The Fugitive 2 decades earlier, but the soldiers are made to look like buffoons.

So it seemed only appropriate that, not long after winning his first WWF (now WWE) title, Hulk Hogan made 2 appearances on the show, with some of the other grapplers getting some shine time as well in cameos. Culture Club, particularly frontman Boy George, appeared in another story. There were the requisite paperback novels either adapting episodes or with all-new stories. Marvel Comics got in on the act with a 3-issue miniseries.

Mr. T ("Rocky III") was spun off into a Saturday morning series bearing his name but with no link to The A-Team. It lasted 3 seasons itself. The 2010 feature film, with Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, & Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, tried to recapture the spirit of the series, but failed.

Here's the open everyone knows:

Rating: B+.


magicdog said...

Loved watching this back in the day! Dad & I would watch it along with the rest of the prime time lineup - "Riptide" and "Remington Steele"! We popped a bowl of popcorn and laughed at how all these vehicles would get tossed around but no one was ever hurt or killed! I started to wonder if Stephen J. Cannell meant it as a joke to the viewers.

As for the statute of limitations on the crime the A-Team was accused of, you must remember this was a military court and military justice. It operates very differently from civilian courts. You could be prosecuted for adultery and fraternization after all!

The cinematic reboot I thought was decent, it tried to capture the spirit of the old series.

I always liked in the opening credits how Templeton Peck (Dirk Benedict) views a Cylon with a "That looks familiar" look!

hobbyfan said...

The scene with Peck and the Cylon is what we call an inside joke, so, yeah, Cannell was having fun with the audience.

I neglect to mention that they overstayed their welcome by being renewed for a 5th season, and adding Robert Vaughn to the mix, basically tweaking the format of the show. It did allow for a tribute to Man From UNCLE when David McCallum guest starred as a villain, but when they moved it to Fridays, that was a killer.