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!

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Bells of St Mary's s3ep11

co-starring: Robert Desiderio as Dave Luna, Reginald Dorsey as Billy Ray King, Michael Alldredge as Colonel Twill, Deborah Lacey as Charlotte King, Joseph Wiseman as Zeke Westerland
Written by Stephen J Cannell
Directed by Dennis Donnelly

The team help a girl pop group who are being pressured into signing a contract with a corrupt record company.

Considering Cannell co-created the series, it is surprising how many of his episodes are rather flat and forgettable affairs. True, he wrote the classic ‘The Taxicab Wars’ but he also wrote a lot of indifferent episodes including ‘Recipe for Heavy Bread’, ‘The Big Squeeze’ and this very moderate entry in season three.

Things actually get off to a reasonable start, there being good comedy mileage from the distraction that the girl band causes the team. The girls are certainly easy on the eye and there’s a funny scene in which the team discuss the rule about not romancing clients (Face: “Rules are meant to be broken”. Hannibal: “Noses are also meant to be broken”).

Unfortunately though, much of the running time is taken up with scenes that fail to spark into life and often don't make a great deal of sense. There’s a football-playing subplot thrown in for no real reason and uninteresting story points and a decided lack of invention weigh the whole thing down. Wiseman makes for an unremarkable main villain and appears too late into the episode to make much of an impression.

The action that there is doesn't amount to much and is seemingly thrown in at random, such as when the team leaves the record company building. Face memorably jumps onto the roof of the van at one point but the final action scene appears from nowhere and is disappointingly short, under-played to such an extent that you may not even realise that it is the end.

Thankfully, there is enough humour in the episode to save the day and prevent it from being something of a washout. Murdock admires and looks up to BA throughout and BA compliments him in return, a clever idea that leads to a number of funny scenes. It’s also good to see Hannibal briefly using a variation on his Johhny B guise from season two’s ‘Chopping Spree’ when he poses as the band’s manager.

Things are wrapped up with an amusing final sequence on the football field but this is one to file under disappointing. And am I the only one who thinks that Hannibal ultimately wanting to date girls young enough to be his grand-daughter is somewhat uncomfortable to watch? 6/10

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