The A-Team is an action/adventure television show about a fictional group of ex-US Army commandos who are on the run from the military while working as mercenaries and helping the oppressed. more...
It ran for five seasons on the NBC television network from January 23, 1983 to March 8, 1987 with a total of ninety-eight episodes. The show has achieved cult status among some viewers. It became somewhat popular again in the 1990s when re-runs were shown in the United Kingdom.
The A-Team was one of a wide variety of successful creations from prolific television producer Stephen J. Cannell. Cannell is known for having a particular skill at capitalizing on momentary cultural trends, such as the machine guns, cartoonish violence, and joyful militarism of this series, which are now recognizable as trademarks of popular entertainment in the Reagan Era of the mid-1980s. The A-Team became emblematic of this kind of "fit-for-TV warfare" due to its depiction of highly sophisticated combat scenes, with extremely lethal weapons, wherein the participants are never killed or seriously injured. Contrary to popular belief, however, the show did feature two on-screen deaths. In the season four finale "The Sound of Thunder" General Fullbright was shot and killed, and in "The Rabbit Who Ate Las Vegas" gangster Gianni Christian was thrown from a high-rise hotel window into the swimming pool below.
The black GMC van used by the A-Team, with its characteristic red stripe and rooftop spoiler, has become an enduring pop culture icon.
During the show's final season in 1986-1987 the format was changed. The A-Team, after years on the run, were finally apprehended by the military. They are given the choice between returning to prison and executed or being assigned to a government agency run by General Hunt Stockwell and performing secret missions for the government. They choose their freedom.
Each episode of the first season began with this spoken introduction:
- "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"
Seasons two through four substituted "In 1972" for "ten years ago". The intro was dropped for the final season.
The "crime they didn't commit"
During the Vietnam War, the A-Team's Commanding Officer gave them orders to rob the Bank of Hanoi to help bring the War to an end. They succeeded in completing their mission. On returning to base, they found their Commanding Officer murdered by the Viet Cong and his headquarters burnt to the ground. Therefore no proof existed that the A-Team were acting under orders, so they were sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't actually commit.
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