The A-team TV show, which made its debut on January 30th, 1983, was an immediate hit. It ran right after Super Bowl XVII, and because of this was viewed by more than 25% of the TV watching audience. The show was written by Frank Lupo, produced by Stephen Cannel and ran for five seasons on the NBC television network.
The show was based around a four-man team of ex-Vietnam Veterans, who were on the run from the military for a “crime they did not commit.” The cast consisted primarily of George Peppard as John Smith, Mr. T as B.A. Baracus, Dirk Benedict as Templeton Peck and Dwight Schultz as “Howling Mad” Murdock. It quickly became evident that the program was in for a lucrative run.
Aside from the team’s constant objective of clearing their names, the show was without a long-term plot and was criticized by some as being overly violent and sexist. Neither of these arguments was without validity either, since a typical episode contained nearly fifty acts of violence and had only two permanent female roles. In fact, Melinda Culea-one of the show’s two regular actresses-was fired in the second season after disagreements arose between her and the show’s writers.
The criticism, legitimate or not, did little if any damage to the program’s fan base, and popular catch phrases from the show ended up on a wide variety of merchandise. Among these zingers, was George Peppard’s, “I love it when a plan comes together,” which occurred in every episode and Mr. T’s “I aint gettin’ on no plane!” Not to mention “Hannibal’s on the jazz,” another unforgettable B.A. Baracus one-liner.
The program enjoyed 97 episodes and featured an array of notable guest stars. Among these were Boy George, Isaac Hayes, Rick James, Hulk Hogan and even legendary football quarterback Joe Nameth. Despite the show’s initial success, people began tuning out in the fourth season. Efforts to revamp the series were made in the fifth season when the A-team were finally apprehended by the military police and forced into indenture. But this was to no avail, and for all intents and purposes, The A-team was finished, airing its last episode on March 8th, 1987.
Nonetheless, The A-team had a long and successful run, lasting five years, five seasons and 97 episodes. One could only describe the A-team as iconic. the A-team TV show was adored by many, chastised by some and has earned its place in history as a pop-culture phenomenon.
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