If ridiculous banter, goofball plots, and many, many, many explosions sounds like the recipe for a perfect TV show to you--you must already be a fan of The A-Team
. Each of these Vietnam vets on the lam had his specialty: Hannibal (cigar-chomping George Peppard, a long way from Breakfast at Tiffany's
) is the cocksure master planner; Faceman (Dirk Benedict of the original Battlestar Galactica) is the smooth-talking con artist; the pilot with a screw loose is Murdock (Dwight Schultz, later to appear on Star Trek: Voyager); and B.A. Baracus (the charismatic and gold-encrusted Mr. T, Rocky III) is both mechanic and muscle. During the series' five year run, each of these eccentrics cultivated their own rabid fan-base as they threw punches, fired thousand of bullets, tossed hand grenades to and fro, and flipped speeding cars--all without killing or even really hurting anyone, which only adds to the show's willful silliness. (A warning for fans of reporter/sidekick Amy Allen, played by Melinda Culea: After being given nothing to do for a dozen or so testosterone-heavy episodes of the second season, Culea either quit or was fired.)
Only during the 1980s could this peculiar blend of lefty politics and military fetishism have thrived. Though supposedly mercenaries-for-hire, the A-Team usually finds itself defending the downtrodden and helpless out of sheer cussedness. In the second season they helped abused migrant workers form a union--which, naturally, required transmogrifying farm equipment into a cabbage-shooting cannon. Other underdogs included the disenfranchised heir to an African diamond mine; an independent cab company being squeezed by big business; and a pacifist commune harassed by bigots. The last of these prompted Hannibal to muse ponderously on the unappreciated role of the soldier, who fights so others don't have to--after which Murdock and B.A. began punching each other over a bag of pecans. Self-aware and self-mocking, The A-Team pushed the TV action/adventure genre to laughable extremes. --Bret Fetzer
All 23 episodes from the second series, featuring the avenging soldiers of fortune out to clear their name of a crime they didn't commit, and help those who need them most. In this series, the A-Team track down a missing person in Ecuador, try to stop a gang of wild horse rustlers while evading capture by the army, and help a group of migrant workers who are being forced to work as slave labour. Episodes are: 'Diamonds 'n' Dust'; 'Recipe For Heavy Bread'; 'The Only Church in Town'; 'Bad Time on the Border'; 'When You Comin' Back, Range Rider? (Part 1)'; 'When You Comin' Back, Range Rider? (Part 2)'; 'The Taxicab Wars'; 'Labor Pains'; 'There's Always a Catch'; 'Water, Water Everywhere'; 'Steel'; 'The White Ballot'; 'The Maltese Cow'; 'In Plane Sight'; 'The Battle of Bel-Air'; 'Say It With Bullets'; 'Pure-Dee Poison'; 'It's a Desert Out There'; 'Chopping Spree'; 'Harder Than It Looks'; 'Deadly Maneuvers'; 'Semi-Friendly Persuasion' and 'Curtain Call'.
Television producer Stephen J. Cannell (Hunter, Wiseguy, 21 Jump StreetThe A-Team
. A group of Vietnam veterans falsely accused of a crime during the last days of the conflict, the A-Team was made up of cigar-chomping leader Hannibal (George Peppard), tough guy B.A. Baracus (Mr. T), suave con man Face (Dirk Benedict), and paranoid pilot Murdock (Dwight Schultz). The team survived through employment as soldiers of fortune, humiliating their foes, and standing up for the little guy.