Monday, May 24, 2010

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

In case you haven't yet heard, the Eighties television show "The A-Team" has been made into a movie which will open on June 11th. Back in the days of my misspent youth, I was a regular viewer of the original series. And you can't deny that it had a number of things going for it.

Beginning with a great backstory:

Ten years ago (in 1972), a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team.

Followed by a great theme song:

With a great cast:

George Peppard--Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith
Dirk Benedict--Lieutenant Templeton "Face" Peck
Mr. T--Sergeant Bosco "B.A." Baracus
Dwight Schultz--Captain H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock

And some notable guest appearances:

Boy George as himself in "Cowboy George".
Isaac Hayes as C.J. Mack in "The Heart Of Rock N' Roll".
Hulk Hogan as himself in "The Trouble With Harry" and "Body Slam".
Rick James as himself in "The Heart of Rock N' Roll".
Joe Namath as TJ Bryant in Quarterback Sneek season 5 episode 4
William Perry as himself in "The Trouble With Harry".

Featuring a great catch phrase:

I love it when a plan comes together.

But in retrospect, looking back across the years, I have to admit that it was actually a pretty lousy television show. The story-lines--especially after the first season--were based on the thinnest of reeds. I know that part of the show's appeal for more mature audiences was its campy nature and willingness to laugh at itself, but that only works if the writing is smart and sharp enough not to overplay the smirking. The ridiculous non-violent violent means that heroes used to defeat their adversaries (explosions that blew people through the air but apparently never involved shrapnel, amazingly sharp shooting--often with automatic weapons held at the hip--to get people to run and hide without ever hitting anyone) started off as slightly silly and degraded into wince-inducing stupidity.

Given that the original show wasn't all that worthy to begin with, the bar for the movie should be set fairly low. Even so, I expect this latest TV to movie production from an increasingly lazy Hollywood to find no shortage of ways to disappoint.