I’m proud to say that I know the original A-Team show, and not because I was alive when it was airing (by any means). But, one night we turned our TV on and the Retro channel was playing this quirky dramady about four guys on the lamb, ex-military, helping people who couldn’t go to anybody else. To six young kids, they were modern day Robin Hoods with automatic weapons and a sexy black van. Now, everyone these days tends to remember the A-Team movie, that fell shy of the bar the show raised, but, I don’t think I will go into those details right now. For this post, I’ll just focus on why the show was so good.
One of the main reasons the show was popular, were the characters. The main characters were the four members of the Vietnam special forces team: Col. John Hannibal Smith, Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck, Capt. H. M. Murdock, and Sgt. B. A. Baracus. They had their skills, their quirks, and their signature looks that people could relate to. Hannibal was the leader and ‘father-figure’ as it were of the group. He smoked cigars, was usually on the ‘jazz’, and was a struggling actor. He led the team without any doubts as to the decisions he made; and if anything did faze him, he kept it to himself. He also had complete faith in his men, and whether or not he told that to them plainly, or masked it in loving sarcasm, he still told them.
Even though he was a rank below Murdock in the military, Face operated as Hannibal’s second-in-command. He was the scrounger of the group; ask and you shall receive. He was also their playboy, always with a girl on his arm and a smooth phrase on the tip of his tongue. He was the looks for all the girls who watched the show. He was all about appearances, being the grifter, he had to look good. He was always armed with a killer wardrobe. Face always whined about doing dangerous jobs, or ones that didn’t bring in a lot of money, but in the end, he still did the right thing.
Murdock was always the wildcard, the unpredictable contestant in every plan. He was technically committed to a psych ward right after the Vietnam War, and had been there ever since. Murdock was usually the person that was silently called upon to freak their targets out. He had his dog, Billy; he spoke to his horse, among many other things that made Murdock unique. Although, the best thing Murdock did for them was fly. He flew helicopters, planes, even a patched together glider. While singing German opera on that last one. Only a certifiably crazy person woulddo something like that. Although, Murdock was also a bit of a chameleon. He dabbled in the jobs of Hannibal, Face, and B.A. He admired Hannibal, was in awe of B.A., and loved Face. But, he was still basically the child of the family.
The last member of the team was B.A. Baracus. B.A. was the team’s sergeant in the army, but on the run, he was the driver, the mechanic, and the muscle. He was also actually the soft spot of the group. He loved children and many a kid worked their way under his thick skin. He also liked helping the elderly, and frequently got the team on their charity cases. He kept mostly to himself though while off the job, never dating or seeing any women. There were a few women on the show who had an interest in him, but his true love was always his big, black, beautiful van. And everyone heard about it if anything happened to it. Heads rolled.
On the whole, the show was a huge success, despite the best efforts of the television station. The feminists and liberals hated it, but the actors still took over the show and kept it true for the sake of their young viewers. And those young viewers have grown up now, and are thanking that show for making their childhoods memorable.
And on that note, it’s been real!