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!

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Say Uncle Affair s5ep6

Co-starring: David McCallum as Ivan Trigorin, James Saito as Kwai Li, Judith Ledford as Carla, Toni Attell as Reynolds, Eric Goldner as Borofsky
Written by Terry D Nelson
Directed by Eric Goldner

The team have to rescue General Stockwell when he is kidnapped by a former associate.

One of the better entries in the season, this is a well-plotted and very enjoyable episode that gets Stockwell more involved than simply assigning the mission and appearing for updates and a final debrief.

What is interesting is that the team’s motivation for rescuing Stockwell is not saving him but saving their pardon. Otherwise, as Frankie says, “we’ll be fugitives”. To which BA remarks, “you make me nostalgic”, something echoed among many fans not impressed by season five.

Initially the episode looks like an exercise in gimmick casting with the appearance of McCallum (Vaughan’s co-star from ‘The Man from UNCLE’). Unlike season four guest star episodes though, attention has been paid to the script and not just the casting.

There are occasional in-jokes and stylistic references to the ‘UNCLE’. The show is divided into acts and there are sixties-style scene transitions but these just add to entertainment value. The dialogue is a cut above as well, such as the exchange when an embassy henchman confronts Hannibal, “We have diplomatic immunity”, “Not from me!”

In terms of plotting, the episode is mainly made up of a series of infiltrations as the team attempt to track down Stockwell. The result is a very rapid-fire story that incorporates many great scenes, particularly the break-in to the Chinese Embassy and Murdock’s Frank Sinatra impersonation to get into a mental hospital. The latter shows off Schultz’s singing and performance skills and delivers the comic highlight.

It’s good to see Vaughan and McCallum go head-to-head in their scenes but all in service of the plot, there being no attempt to marginalize the team to make the most of the guest star as happened in season four. The final battle is a little clumsy but caps things off sufficiently well, concluding one of the most purely enjoyable of the season five individual episodes. 8/10

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