The A-Team: Volume 1
September 23, 2003
Starring: George Peppard, Dirk Benedict, Melinda Culea, Dwight Shultz, Mr. T., Michael Ironside, Edward Lynch, Ernie Hudson, Robin Dearden, Brion James, James Hong, Paul Mantee, John Milford, Keye Luke, Dennis Franz, Joe Colligan, Lee Paterson, ,
For those of you that grew up in the eighties with shows like Knight Rider, Street Hawk and Airwolf you’ll know that there was only one T.V. show really worth watching. It was about four fugitives from justice, in a black van and it starred Mr. T. I pity the fool that missed that show.
The A-Team has recently found online cult status; with great websites such as the A-Team Resource, and that has been transformed into a series of VHS and DVD releases by the good people at Universal Playback.
Unlike other T.V. shows of that era such as Star Trek TNG or Fawlty Towers where they’re treated to series by series box sets, The A-Team is being released sporadically with one DVD release every couple of months and it containing just three episodes. This is somewhat of a mystery, as although unlike other T.V. shows The A-Team doesn’t have any kind of plot ark, it’s still nice to get each individual series together in one set. The series did change over time, for example series four was almost all out comedy whereas series five changed dramatically in tone and style. But it’s just three randomly chosen episodes at a time that we have to live with, so be it.
Volume one saw the episodes: The Taxicab Wars, The Maltese Cow and Chopping Spree. These were, by the standards of the show, better than most. The Taxicab Wars saw star guests Michael Ironside and Ernie ‘Ghostbusters’ Hudson as some small taxi firm was being driven out of business by a larger taxi firm. Sound like a familiar plot? Maybe you’ve seen that episode? Maybe you could just substitute ‘taxi firm’ with ‘fire department’ or ‘steel works’ or ‘hotel business’ because it was basically the same plot every week. That’s what made it so great, you knew where you were with The A-Team. You could come in half way through an episode and ask ‘Have The A-Team been captured and locked up in a workshop yet?’ and you’d know from the response as to how much you’d missed.
Anyway, The Taxicab Wars saw a tyrannical Michael Ironside hamming it up like he was never able to in any film to the point that even Dwight Shultz looked tame. Murdock donned a cape and mask and Mr. T threw some people one hellova far.
Oddly enough the plot to The Maltese Cow was very similar; just substitute ‘taxi firm’ with ‘restaurant business’ and you’ve pretty much got the gist of it. In this episode though Odd Job from Goldfinger makes an appearance and throws Mr. T one helluva far, naturally there were repercussions. Murdock attempts some thirties sleuth guise all the way through the episode only to have the tables turned on him at the end by B.A.
Chopping Spree was one of those of the episodes that right from the outset you knew someone was going to be in trouble. Just like the episode ‘Lease With An Option To Die’ where some thugs were trying to evict B.A.’s mother you knew they’d pay, but this time they’d stolen B.A.’s van and were going to cut it up for spare parts. I pitied those fools so much. The episode basically consists of Mr. T getting angrier and angrier as the show went on, before ultimately unleashing a gold chain clad fury on some ugly mud suckers.
In short, these are three quality A-Team episodes that, if you’re a fan of the show, you must see and own. If repetitive television isn’t your thing then you may find the similarities between the first two episodes too much to bear; but that’s what made the show so great.