The A-Team - An 80's Mega Show
The Decade With An Attitude
I think the 80’s was so popular because it embodied a sort of bad-boy persona. From leather jackets to fist-fights, this decade just oozed an easy-going and cool take on life. Like any trend, the media plays a big part in shaping the norms of society. But on TV, one show in particular helped flesh out this tough-guy attitude – The A-Team.
I used to plead with my parents to allow me to stay up late enough to watch it. As homework for writing this, I actually watched a few episodes on Amazon to refresh my memory and I’m happy to report that many of the episodes still hold up. Without much further ado, here is The A-Team – An 80’s mega show.
The A-Team tells the story of four war veterans who are accused of a crime that they did not commit. While the war veterans are on the run from the law they operate as soldiers of fortune, as the opening narration goes, ‘if you have a problem and no-one else can help and you can find them, maybe you can hire, The A-Team. Watch it in the video below.
The show ran from 1983 to 1987, chalking up a mere 97 episodes before it was rather dishonorably pulled from the network.
The Cartoonish Side
The A-Team was very action-packed, with several scenes of shooting, explosions and the like. However, a lot of people describe the violence as somewhat cartoonish, since The A-Team never killed anyone and very rarely was anyone seriously injured.
This cartoonish violence was received both in a good and bad way by the show’s viewers. In my case, I was happy that the violence was mostly play-play because otherwise, my parents would not have let me watch it.
Other viewers, however, found the concept ridiculous because it lacked any sense of realism. Perhaps they were concerned that huge explosions, big fights scenes and epic car chases would cause younger generations to believe that this type of violence was okay and couldn’t really hurt people.
Regardless of where you stand, this cartoonish violence was one of the reasons for the success and popularity of The A-Team because it allowed for the show to air during prime time viewing slots.
The Realistic Side Of The Series
The A-Team, although for the most part light and fun escapism, did also touch on some serious themes which included some emotional scenes. Let’s not forget, the 4 characters are war veterans and during the course of the series, we get to see the effects of war on their lives.
These moments were touching because they open our eyes to the realities of war and how destructive it can be. At the end of the day, war is rarely a good thing and even though the action looks cool, fun and sometimes intense, no one should ever really want it.
The A-Team had a stellar cast of misfits and no other character mix could have caused so much comedic conflict as well as heartfelt bromance.
Hannibal, with his fat cigar and signature line, ‘I love it when a plan comes together’, lead the crew. Face, the suave and smooth talking pretty boy, the poster of whom was pinned up on the bedroom wall of teenage girls the world over, including that of my sister.
Howling Mad Murdock was the crazy one who was always good for a few laughs. He spends much of the series dodging official doctors who want him back in the loony bin.
The forth character and for me, the one who stood out the most was Mr. T who played BA Baracus. The BA stands for Bad Attitude. When he wasn’t flinging henchman around like rag dolls, his attitude was ever present, usually directed at Howling Mad Murdock who used to bring out the worst in him. BA took the world by storm with his trash talking mouth and iconic tough-guy persona.
The first couple of seasons of The A-Team delivered very promising ratings. In fact, according to the Nielsen ratings, the show was one of the most popular in America for a good few years.
Before long, merchandise for the show started popping up in stores. Toys, snacks, trading cards, action figures, and a whole lot of other merch started appearing not only in the US but internationally as well. I, for one, had all the action figures.
The popularity of the show was also translated into other forms of media consumption. The A-Team started appearing in comics, magazines, and books as well. I think it’s safe to say that The A-Team was the world’s first mega-show and the huge variety of merchandise that followed in its wake only served to prove this.
The Untimely End
The A-Team garnered very good reviews for the first few seasons and it seemed that the show could do no wrong. But after season 3, the ratings took a bit of a dive.
This was perhaps due to the fact that critics and viewers started to complain about the repetitive storylines which lacked creativity and originality. This was making the show rather predictable which is the ugly cousin of the ‘jumping the shark’ phenomenon that other shows suffer.
The fourth season dropped the show out of the top 10 and marked the beginning of the end.
Ratings continued to fall and eventually, The A-Team called it quits. This was devastating for kids like me who lacked any understanding of sophisticated storytelling and just wanted to see fist-fights, explosions and BA’s outbursts at Murdock.
The Take Away
Even though it didn’t surpass the 100 episode mark, The A-Team was a great and influential series. The action-packed scenes gave birth to several other shows that also proved popular. Perhaps it was bit cartoonish but behind the silly and mindless moments are a few lessons that my inner 8-year-old self took away from the show.
You don’t have to have big numbers to make a difference. It showed me that just 4 guys doing the right thing can have a huge impact on the lives of others.
Friendship and loyalty stand supreme. Regardless of the bickering and infighting, the characters always backed each other op. In times of difficulty, your friends can make or break you.
Conflict is rarely a good thing. War is very destructive and even when it’s over, the war in your mind still rages on.
A Mega Show For The Ages
The A-Team movie was released in 2010 and I rushed off to watch it. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it for me. You can’t resurrect a classic show without the characters that made it awesome. Thankfully, as far as I know, they haven’t tried to remake the series in modern times like MacGyver and Knight Rider have suffered.
The A-Team was indeed an 80’s mega show that helped define the decade by imprinting itself in our hearts and minds. I can still see my younger self huddled on the sofa with my 5 family members utterly entranced by the gripping action scenes and funny dialogue. For all those nostalgic moments, I cherish the show.
The A-Team Gift Ideas
There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.
With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.
Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉