The A-Team: Season One
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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."
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There was wonderful chemistry between the four main characters on the "A Team" (Hannibal, BA, Face and Murdock). They tried to add in a girl during season 1 and another girl later on, but the girls never seemed to blend very well into the "A Team" mystique which was pretty much a "guy's show". I enjoyed season 1 so much, that I ordered seasons 2 & 3 even before I was done watching all the episodes. My 10 year old son also LOVES the A Team.
This set includes the A Team pilot, "Mexican Slayride" which is basically a 1980s version of "The Magnificent Seven" where the A Team travels to help a small Mexican village fight against a despicable bully who is the head of a gang of guerrilla soldiers. The only thing lacking in "Mexican Slayride" is Dirk Benedict as "Face". All other episodes on this set are classic vintage A-Team: fighting against mobsters, biker gangs, crooked cops who run crooked prisons, and so forth.
With the late George Peppard as Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith, Mr. T as Sergeant Bosco "B.A." Baracus, Dwight Schultz as Captain "Howlin' Mad" Murdock, Dirk Benedict as Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck, and Melinda Culea as reporter Amy Amanda Allen (or "Triple A"), you've got a recipe for lots of fun. (Can you imagine these people on a commentary track? I've heard Dirk Benedict on the Battlestar Galactica audio commentary, and I've gotta say, I think he and Dwight Schultz would be a hoot to listen to.)
Since there are only the episodes themselves to enjoy, let's take a look at them:
Mexican Slayride: The two-hour pilot episode is lengthy, uneven but has some good humor (Murdock gets some great scenes). It's still hard to watch (for me) as Tim Dunigan plays Faceman instead of Dirk "Starbuck" Benedict. Whether he fits the nickname "Face" or not is beside the point; the team chemistry is all wrong. Rank: 12th of 13
Children Of Jamestown: The team is hired to rescue a girl from a crazy cult leader. This is our first glimpse of Benedict as Face, and it is a much better introduction to his character's quirks. John Saxon is a memorable guest star. Rank: 10th of 13
Pros And Cons: The team infiltrates a prison where prisoners are forced into fight-to-the-death boxing matches. This is going to sound odd for someone who loves The A-Team, but fighting/boxing episodes are not my favorites. Nonetheless, Murdock's trash bag obsession is fun to watch. Rank: 11th of 13
A Small And Deadly War: The team takes on a S.W.A.T. team turned bad. Lots of great guest acting in this one, with Dean Stockwell doing a particularly good job. If you want to see Hannibal "on the jazz", this is the episode to watch. Rank: 9th of 13
Black Day At Bad Rock: B.A. is wounded, Hannibal and Face are put in the slammer, and both the military police and a murderous biker gang are headed for town with time running out. This is my favorite Season One episode. Great humor, tongue-in-cheek action, romance with sarcasm, buddy love, 200lb cockroaches... what's not to love?? Rank: 1st of 13
The Rabbit Who Ate Las Vegas: The team gets involved in a mob power play when they go to Las Vegas to rescue a college professor. There are some great moments here (Hannibal in costume, Murdock doing a creepy version of Face), but it's probably most famous for two things: a character actually dying on-screen (okay, he might have been shot just prior), and two men surviving a deadly crash to casually ask each other "Are you okay?" This episode definitely has a wink in its eye. Rank: 5th of 13
The Out-Of-Towners: The team protects some New York shopkeepers from neighborhood thugs. This one's a classic, with every character showing his own brand of humor. Most memorable for B.A. attempting to fly and the girl choosing Murdock over Face. Rank: 2nd of 13
Holiday In The Hills: The team crashes in the mountains and battles it out with some rednecks. Meanwhile, Amy fights the military police in her own style. Another classic. (On a side note, try to enjoy the opening sequence and not watch it too much, because you'll see it several times again in later episodes.) Rank: 3rd of 13
West Coast Turnaround: The team helps a watermelon farmer from being driven out of business. The worst episode of Season One, with almost no memorable moments... aside from Billy the (invisible) dog! Rank: 13th of 13
One More Time: The U.S. government recruits the team to for a rescue mission in Borneo. This is a great hour with a taut final chapter. Rarely do we see a plan NOT come together; thanks to Murdock and Amy's unexpected arrival, the team gets out alive... barely. Rank: 6th of 13
Till Death Do Us Part: The team rescues a wealthy bride from her late father's crooked business partner. It's fun to see Face forced into marriage, but by far the most enjoyable aspect of this episode is Murdock. Dwight Schultz is clearly having a blast. Rank: 8th of 13
The Beast From The Belly Of A Boeing: The team is hired to recapture a hijacked 747. Lots of great scenes: Murdock being declared sane, B.A. going comatose, Hannibal and Face considering their "price", Murdock coaching Hannibal... It's memorable from start to finish. Rank: 4th of 13
A Nice Place To Visit: The team attends the funeral of a fellow Vietnam vet in a town controlled by a murderous family. With flashbacks to (and real footage from) Vietnam, this episode is very much a tribute to veterans, with a rather poignant ending. Rank: 7th of 13
Overall, the first season was full of great humor, perfect team chemistry (the pilot aside), and loads of memorable quotes. Critics hated it for having violence without consequence, but you can't expect realism from this show anymore than you'd expect it from a Saturday morning cartoon. Not all cartoons are Lord Of The Rings, and not all action is Glory. This is to action what Galaxy Quest is to science fiction. Relax! Enjoy it! The best thing about this show (aside from the chemistry of the leads) is that they don't ever take themselves too seriously. (Until Season Five, but that's another story...) It's definitely worth the money if you love The A-Team or just want to watch another "guilty pleasure" 80's show.