The A-Team: Series 2 [DVD]
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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'.
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 FetzerSee all Product description
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Yet whilst series 2 develops storylines better than the first series, the character of Amy suddenly becomes redundant overnight. There are a number of episodes in the run up to her departure where she has no more than a single line, and is seen sitting around looking unhappy whilst the other four ignore her.
Now it can be argued that the A-Team was always the four guys, that a woman wasn't needed etc. But I think that the pilot and 1st series, especially when watched back as an adult (in my case) do hint at quite a different programme than the one which materialised when the Amy (and also Tania character to some extent) left the show. Amy brought a better balance to the show and could have continued to have given it more scope.
Apparently the other male actors (especially George Peppard) hadn't wanted to have her on the show and continued to be difficult with her. Considering Melinda Culea was a stunning woman and Peppard was a notorious womaniser, all I can think of for this bullying was that Culea turned him down when he propositioned her.
When Culea was axed half way through the series, I think that the guys seem visably pleased. So if they had carried such weight in removing the female element in the show, why then did the producers see fit to bring in Tania. If the A-Team had put up with Amy for a year, they couldn't desist from showing their distain for Tania from day one, and tried their best to distance them from her and reduce her point of being their to nothing.
Filmed at a similar time, the A-Team very much reminds me of Miami Vice. And just as there was energy in the first couple of series, I think that egos (for George Peppard read Don Johnson) and overcomplicated change of directions did for the later series. This was a decent series of the A-Team, but I think it could have been better had Amy remained an integral part at this stage.
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