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!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Grey Team s5ep12

Co-starring: Lew Ayres as Bernie Greene, John McLiam as George Nemcheck, Michael Shannon as Randy Anderson, Tony Steedman as Saroff, Moya Kordich as Paula Anderson
Written by Tom Blomquist
Directed by Michael O’Herlihy

The team look for a girl who has run away with a briefcase containing military secrets.

There were a lot of below-par episodes during the run of the show and some which were downright dreadful. Having watched every episode of every season for this blog, I think this horrible mess is the show’s nadir.

As bad as previous episodes may have got, they always had some enjoyable elements. Here, though, it is difficult to identify anything that makes it worth sitting through this one. There is a modicum of humour in Murdock’s relationship with a Russian spy but even that comes across as a poorer version of his spy persona from ‘The Spy Who Mugged Me’.

One of the key problems is that as much attention is given to the residents of a retirement home (where the runaway girl is hiding out) as it is to the main team. This often reduces the main cast to playing supporting roles in their own show (a similar situation occurred when the dreadful ‘Body Slam’ became the BA & Hulk Hogan show).

The team are split up for most of the story and although Face & Hannibal make a reasonable team, BA and Frankie do not. Lew Ayres is a good actor but he isn’t given much to do and Kordich (as the teenage runaway) is hardly an asset, delivering her dialogue in a voice that manages to be both croaky and whiny at the same time.

Any episode in which there is a scene of elderly people doing aerobics was never going to be a classic but it gets worse, particularly the repetition of a truly awful song about never being too old. It really is appalling and the number of times it keeps coming back will have you reaching for the remote control.

A chase sequence with an old person driving a bus (accompanied by that awful song) and one car jump stunt (that doesn’t make any sense) is the sum total of the show’s action. By the end, it becomes clear that the episode is unique by A-Team standards. It’s one without any highlights at all.

Although not the final episode broadcast, this was intended to be the show’s last episode. This is not actually dealt with until the closing scene, unless you count Murdock wearing a ‘Fini’ T-shirt throughout. In this last scene, Frankie is dragged off to leave the four original members of the team thinking about what’s going to happen to them when Stockwell’s missions are complete. It’s not a bad scene by any means and suggests they would carry on fighting against villains and mobsters as they did before.

Only this reasonable final scene stops me from awarding the episode one out of ten. It really is that bad. I’ll defend season five against many of the criticisms but you can’t defend the indefensible. You would expect so much more from the final A-Team episode but we can at least be thankful that the delay in broadcasting ‘Without Reservations’ means that is considered to be the final episode and is a more worthy sign-off for the show. 2/10

1 comment:

  1. For my money, this is the worst episode as well. Easily.

    No matter how formulaic or tired the previous entries got, there was always something to recommend. The closest we get here is that final scene. The writing isn't particularly memorable- and almost feels ad-libbed- but you can tell the cast recognized the poignancy of the moment while shooting it.

    Too bad nothing can be said of the rest.

    The general idea of contrasting the team with an older version of themselves isn't that bad, but the episode fails to do anything with it. Season four's "Mission of Peace" actually came much closer to making it work- complete with Face getting upstaged in the scam department.

    However, what truly sinks this episode is the generic theme song that plays whenever the seniors go into action. It has the effect of making the whole thing feel like one of those cheesy Mentos commercials that used to air in the 90s.