About this blog

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.

This was the introduction to one of the great TV series of the eighties. The purpose of this blog is to build up the definitive episode guide to the show across its five seasons which ran from 1983 to 1987. So this isn't too much of a burden, I'm intending to watch a couple of episodes a week and given that there were around 100 episodes made during its run, this will turn into a year-long project!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Diamonds 'n' Dust s2ep1

co-starring: Albert Salmi as Jonathan Fletcher, Kirsten Meadows as Toby Griffin, Michael Halsey as Alan Scheckter, Sam Scarber as Landers
Written by Patrick Hasburgh
Directed by Ron Satlof

The team fly to South Africa to transport dynamite to a diamond mine.

A very positive start to the second season, this is an entertaining and well-written tale with a strong storyline and much to enjoy. It’s good to see the team out in the open for almost the entirety of the episode, not in Africa obviously but at least director Satlof doesn’t overdo the use of jungle stock footage. There’s a good overall balance at work here, the comedy and set-up of the first half making way for plenty of action in the second. Giving Murdock a cuddly bear called Bogie (after “African Queen” star Humphrey Bogart) is almost too silly but Schultz gets away with it, especially given a great gag after the bear has been hit in a firefight. Pulling out the stuffing, Murdock declares, “I don't think Bogie's gonna make it”.

The action follows a fairly standard pattern (initial fistfight, subsequent gun battle, final confrontation) but is well-executed and helps maintain a strong pace. There’s a rather unnecessary sequence in which BA and Face climb a rockface with dynamite strapped to their back. Why didn’t they just tie the dynamite to the bottom of the rope, all climb the rockface and then pull the dynamite up to the top?

Beyond the action, there’s plenty of strong dialogue (including a good moment between BA and Toby) as well as a noticeable sense of camaraderie among the cast that was often lacking in later seasons. The episode may well be best remembered for a scene in which Murdock poses as an English military officer and slates a store owner for not being British enough (“No kippers, no English herring bone tweed, no meat pies, no Rolls Royce petrol caps, no original pressings of Hey Jude. You sir, are a miserable excuse for a shopkeep!”).

The only one not to come out of the episode particularly well is Amy who appears so infrequently and gets so few lines, you almost forget she is in the show. Too often, Amy’s role in an episode was limited to general exposition and vague assistance, a role that could easily be filled by the client. As the season progressed, Amy’s part in proceedings became increasingly redundant and unnecessary. The writing was already on the wall in this season opener and Culea would feature in only nine further episodes before being written out and replaced by Marla Heasley who would appear in eight episodes before suffering a similar fate. 9/10.

1 comment:

  1. H.M. I'm glad you gave this ep a "9" because over on imdb.com it's among the lowest-rated A-Team episodes of the entire show!!! Seriously, it's ranked down there with "The Grey Team" and "Crystal Skull!" What's wrong with this episode? I suppose many fans did not care for an episode where the Team's job is merely to transport dynamite to a mine shaft.

    As for not pulling the dynamite up with the rope, I believe Hannibal dismissed that idea by saying something like, "one bad bounce and the lights go out," or something to that effect.

    Face and Murdock's scam to get the dynamite is probably their best-ever scam, and is certainly the one most fondly remembered (and quoted) by my friends.

    The action is solid, including a very good firefight early on. I'm not sure I agree with you about Amy. Considering how underutilized she is in other episodes, I thought it was great that in this episode she actually got to join them for the entire adventure and even carry a rifle!