Guilty pleasures don't come more guilty than The A-Team
, television's only tongue-in-cheek drama about the exploits of renegade Vietnam vets. The primetime series' 1983 debut season, gathered here on The A-Team: Season One
, was intentionally ludicrous, encouraging viewers to enjoy sundry talents of a colorful cast and laugh off storylines perhaps sillier than those on Charlie's Angels
. Co-created by Stephen J. Cannell (Wiseguy
) and Frank Lupo (Hunter
), The A-Team
introduced Lt. Col. John "Hannibal" Smith (George Peppard), the cocksure leader of a band of fugitive American soldiers framed for a crime in Vietnam and now thriving in Los Angeles. Hiring themselves out as soldiers of fortune, Hannibal's crew--including Lt. Templeton "Face" Peck (baby-faced Tim Dunigan in the pilot, Dirk Benedict thereafter), Sgt. Bosco Albert "B.A. (for 'Bad Attitude')" Baracus (Mr. T, outfitted with his trademark gold), and, most comically, Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock (Dwight Schultz)--assist (mostly) ordinary people having a problem with bad guys. The A-Team ostensibly charges large fees, but much of the time the guys seem to be doing pro bono work for the helpless.
Season One highlights include "Children of Jamestown," starring John Saxon as a Jim Jones-like religious cult leader who captures Hannibal, Face, B.A., and first-season sidekick Amy "Triple A" Allen (Melinda Culea). While the resourceful group invents a super-weapon out of farm equipment, crazy Murdock commandeers a helicopter and dynamite. Also good is "A Small and Deadly War," featuring Dean Stockwell as one of several uncontrolled L.A. cops committing murder-for-hire. "The Out-of-Towners" takes a page from the Death Wish movie series with a story about New York City shop owners harassed by a protection racketeer (Yaphet Kotto). Hannibal and company retaliate with machine guns (no one is ever seen killed in this series) and, more effectively, public humiliation of the villain. The best thing about The A-Team is the relationship between the four offbeat heroes, who may not always like each other (B.A. usually looks as if he'd like to leave Murdock in a shallow grave) but get the job done expertly. --Tom Keogh
Heroic, daring and more than just a little colorful, The A-Team is a brave band of brothers who will stop at nothing to get the bad guys. This unforgettable series features Mr. T, one of television's most unique and popular superstars, in his most memorable role. Sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit, these four commandos escaped from a maximum-security stockade and now survive in the Los Angeles underground as soldiers of fortune. So, if you have a problem and there's no one else who can help, and if you think you can find them, maybe you can hire The A-Team. Popular with fans and critics alike, now you can enjoy the entire explosive first season of the series that The New York Times hailed "A sensational hit."