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!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The A-Team is Coming The A-Team is Coming s4ep14

Co-starring: William Smith as Dimitri Shastovich, Gene Scherer as Mikhail Padavich, John Considine as Leon, Daryl Anderson as Bertka, David Kagen as Willis, Curt Lowens as Ambassador, Jack Ging as General Fulbright
Written by Steve Beers
Directed by David Hemmings

The A-Team are asked to help stop the theft of a American laser weapon by a renegade Russian Colonel intent on starting World War Three.

Series creator Cannell was often accused of writing over-talky scripts which were heavy on pace and light on action. However, none of Cannell’s episodes were as lethargic or had as much clumsy exposition as this woefully drab entry into season four. Writer Beers had been associate producer on the show since the middle of season three but this was his only script. He should have stuck to his day job (though he didn’t get the chance as this was the last episode he was involved with).

Matters actually get off to a fairly bright start as the Team help a Russian ballet dancer defect (or so they think). Face does a Bond-style quick change and there’s a good chase sequence as the team escape from the theatre. Curiously, BA doesn’t seem to have been present for the shooting of the early stages. He doesn’t appear at all in the ballet breakout and then in the subsequent hotel scene, he appears only in a couple of inserts with his double standing in for a few back-of-head shots.

It’s all downhill from here as the Murdock poses as an out-of-control glider pilot so the team can gain access to the Russian embassy. Once they’re on the inside, absolutely nothing of interest happens at all. It happens slowly as well. Even Murdock is very subdued in an episode that is pretty much humour-free.

Yet another building infiltration soon follows with Face and Murdock gaining access on the pretence of a gas leak. We get a bit of gunplay and BA and Hannibal jumping through a skylight but then we move on again. At this rate, it doesn’t take long to not care who is involved with what and why. The episode is typified by a couple of scenes in which characters explain a lot of uninteresting background information while driving in cars

A ticking clock is used to countdown the time remaining until, er, something and though the trick may have worked in ‘Battle of Bel Air’, nothing can help the lethargic pace here. Given that the episode is built around the possible outbreak of World War three, it should be filled with tension rather than tedium.

The final battle is decent enough but it’s hardly worth sitting through the rest of the episode for a few explosions. Just as you start to feel relieved that it’s all over, another story thread begins but at least there isn’t much time left conclude matters. It all adds up to another season four dud, proving that it didn’t take the presence of guest stars to produce some real dross. 4/10

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