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, 18 February 2011

The Heart of Rock 'n' Roll s4ep6

Co-starring: Issac Hayes as CJ Mack, Rick James as Himself, Ji-Tu Cumbuka as Gravedigger, James Avery, Eileen Barnett as Devon Paige, Peter Haskell as Warden Crichton
Written by Frank Lupo
Directed by Tony Mordente

The team help an ex-convict who is under threat because of his knowledge of a robbery gang operating from inside the prison.

The ratings for the A-Team gradually declined during the course of season three, not enough to warrant cancelling the show but enough to give the network some cause for concern. A revamp the likes of which we got in season five was deemed unnecessary but as is often the case on struggling TV shows, the decision was made to try to boost ratings by using guest stars playing themselves.

This episode is the first of four this season to feature a guest star appearing as himself and is certainly not something of which writer and show co-creator Lupo should be proud. The story is an afterthought here, something that passes the time between the musical numbers that take up more than a third of the running time. Admittedly, ‘Superfreak’ is a great song but I’d prefer a proper plot to a series of mimed music performances.

In a largely forgettable episode, the one notable scene has Hannibal posing as an elderly shop owner to provoke a robbery for reasons that aren’t worth going into. The gang of robbers are understandably caught out by Murdock hiding in the safe and Hannibal’s walking stick gun.

We move inside the prison in the second half but this has none of the invention of the season one classic ‘Pros and Cons’. Whatever intrigue there may have been in the initial plot completely dissipates and the appeal of the episode ultimately hangs on how you feel about the music. If you’re not keen, then the one-dimensional story is not going to hold your attention and is hardly touched upon in the predominantly musical second half.

If you like the music you may be more forgiving but for me, this was the A-Team’s emptiest outing to date. If it was a blip you could write it off to network interference but there were too many episodes as bad as this one in what was the show's weakest season. 3/10

1 comment:

  1. I give this one a pass solely because of Isaac Hayes. He has a genuine screen presence and, unlike Rick James, Hulk Hogan or Boy George, actually looks like he fits into the A-Team's world. It's just too bad he wasn't given a better script.

    I'm also surprised that Hayes- who'd actually done some acting- was forced to co-star with Rick James. Yeah, "Super Freak" is a great song, but it was already several years old when the episode aired. Was "Glow" really that much of a mainstream hit to warrant James' inclusion? It's not even that believable that his character would be old friends with the team.

    Thankfully, the music in the second half is pretty strong, with tracks like "Super Freak", "Jailhouse Rock", and "Steamroller Blues". The latter playing over the construction montage was a particularly nice touch.