The A-Team

From Academic Kids

The A-Team is an action/adventure television show about a fictional group of ex-US Army commandos who are on the run from the military while working as mercenaries and helping the oppressed. It ran for five seasons from January 23, 1983 to March 8, 1987 with a total of ninety-eight episodes. The show has achieved cult status among some viewers.

The A-Team. Clockwise from top: , , , . Image copyright, usage restricted.
The A-Team. Clockwise from top: Dwight Schultz, Mr. T, George Peppard, Dirk Benedict. Image copyright, usage restricted.

The A-Team was one of a wide variety of successful creations from prolific television producer Stephen J. Cannell. Cannell is known for having a particular skill at capitalizing on momentary cultural trends, such as the machine guns, cartoonish violence, and joyful militarism of this series, which are now recognizable as trademarks of popular entertainment in the mid-1980s. The A-Team became somewhat emblematic of this kind of "fit-for-TV warfare" due to its depiction of highly sophisticated combat scenes, with extremely lethal weapons, wherein the participants are never killed or seriously injured. Contrary to popular belief, however, the show did feature two on-screen deaths. In the series four finale "The Sound of Thunder" General Fullbright was shot and killed, and in "The Rabbit Who Ate Las Vegas" gangster Gianni Christian was thrown from a high-rise hotel window into the swimming pool below. The black GMC van with its characteristic red stripe used by the A-Team has become an enduring pop-culture icon.

During the show's final season in 1986-1987 the format was changed. The A-Team, after years on the run, were finally apprehended by the military. They are given the choice between going to prison or being assigned to a government agency run by General Hunt Stockwell and performing secret missions for the government. They choose their freedom.

Each episode of the first season began with this spoken introduction:

"Ten years ago 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"

Seasons two through four substituted "In 1972" for "ten years ago". The intro was dropped for the final season.

Cast

  • George Peppard as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith
    • The leader of the A-Team distinguished by his cigar smoking, disguises, and his catch-phrase, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
  • Dirk Benedict as Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck
    • Suave, smooth-talking, loves the ladies. He served as the team's con man, arranging for supplies, equipment, and sensitive information by various methods of trickery. Tim Dunigan played this role in the pilot episode.
  • Mr. T as Sgt. Bosco Albert "Bad Attitude" Baracus aka B. A. Baracus
    • Despite his reputed attitude, a nice guy at heart. He is most upset by Murdock and routinely informed him, "You crazy, fool!" He suffers an intense fear of flying, especially when the plane in question is flown by Murdock.
  • Dwight Schultz as Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock
    • The best chopper pilot of the Vietnam war, Murdock is somewhat insane. Although he was their pilot on the Hanoi bank raid, he was technically not part of the A-Team and so not tried by the military. Though interned at a psychiatric hospital he routinely escaped to accompany the A-Team. He was discharged permanently in the fifth season.
  • Melinda Culea as Amy Amanda "Triple A" Allen
    • Amy was an intrepid reporter who joined the team in its pilot episode. She was written out of the show in the middle of the second season, as a result of a conflict between Ms. Culea and the production team. She played a vital role in the early episodes, but the writers apparently had a hard time finding meaningful things for her to do as the series progressed.
  • Marla Heasley as Tawnia Baker
    • Short-lived replacement for Amy during 1984
  • Robert Vaughn as General Hunt Stockwell
    • The A-Team's boss during the final season. He blackmailed the team into working top-secret government missions in return for their eventual pardon.
  • Eddie Velez as Frankie "Dishpan" Santana
    • Puerto Rican special-effects expert who helps the A-Team during the final season.

External links

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