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Pure essence of Action TV
on 3 December 2006
Any fans who saw Justin Lee Collins'programe "Bring Back The A Team" on Channel 4 this year, would no doubt have found it pretty damn interesting to hear how personalities clashed on the set of this classic series - namely George Peppard (Hannibal) and his alledged ego problems with other cast members. However, it's great to see that none of the off camera disbutes showed through at all in the programe. You really do believe that these guys are a solid team who can pretty much handle anything! THe A Team is just top banana - for several reasons. Firstly, unlike many shows that were on TV at the time, it doesn't really follow any particular fashion trend. And this makes it almost timeless. Look at others of the same genre now - Knight Rider, Airwolf etc - and unfortunately, you spend more time giggling at the outragous hair styles and dodgey leather jackets than actually enjoying the show. THe A Team is a bit different though - sometimes you could almost be convinced that it was filmed in the nineties or even more recently. Often the only giveaway is the massive hair styles and mandatory 80's make-up of the damsels in distress who hire the team.
Secondly, the show is essentially based around four brilliantly developed characters. Hannibal, BA, Face and Murdock are simply impossible to replace in their roles, and some of the writing is wickedly humourous (particularly many of Face and Murdocks scenes together). Episodes like "Cup a Joe" and "The Big Squeeze" are fine examples of the team at their best - fistfights like only the A Team could carry off, gunplay that demolishes everything in sight plus sureal comedic performances mainly from Murdock. I think to make a movie of the A Team would be a sad mistake. These guys ARE the A Team!
Most importantly, one big improvement on this seasons boxed set, compared to the previous two, is the re-insertion of the pre-opening title teaser sequences. You know, where you get thirty seconds of a person in trouble, a meaningfull line from Hannibal, a crazy few words from Murdock mixed with a couple of punches and finished off with a big explosion and another quick line from one of the team. I particularly enjoyed Face's "They don't make the bad guys like they used to, do they?" line at the beginning of "skins". I was hugely disappointed to find these sequences missing on seasons one and two. But here, the package is complete. I was about 13 when these episodes first appeared and even I find it quite incredible that they hold together so well, more than twenty years on. Shows like this just do not exist nowadays, so enjoy. Close certain parts of your brain down to avoid plot holes, and unrealisic situations or outcomes, and just enjoy. The makers of this series must surely have loved it when a plan came together.