The A-Team: Reassuringly Corny

The A-Team was one of my favourite TV shows when I was growing up. It ran from 1983-87 and was based around four ex-members of US Special Forces who had been unjustly convicted of crimes in Vietnam. The team consisted of Hannibal, a former colonel who enjoyed combining safari jackets with black gloves, Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck, the world’s most handsome man, ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock the comedian and BA (‘Bad Attitude’) Barachus, the tough black guy who was afraid of flying.

Having escaped from jail, they toured America as mercenaries, living out of a black van with red stripes. The plots are very similar; small towns dominated by crooked businessmen who try to marry or have disinherited attractive young women. The A-Team put things right; the corrupt oligarchs who often control the local police are put behind bars by the episode’s end. The damsels in distress are restored to their rightful property and justice is done.

The show was quite violent in terms of the numerous explosions it employed, and the interesting array of weapons used. There is, remarkably, no blood or bruising, only the odd limp or use of a sling. Every car crash was followed by the vehicles’ inhabitants climbing out of the wreck. Only bad guys are injured and every script ends happily. This is of course entirely ludicrous. When people fire guns, lives are ruined. Nevertheless, the show wasn’t ever meant to be a reflection of real life, but feel good TV. There is a visible theme flowing through much of American TV and film in the 1970s- crime seemed to be winning while law enforcement was too feeble- but ordinary people can still put things right. The show therefore assures viewers that justice will be served and good will win in the end.

The show was corny, silly and cartoon-like; for this reason it was wonderful viewing for a six-year-old, and pretty worthwhile for a middle-aged man tripping down memory lane. Crime and disorder do seem to prosper in so many parts of the world. Rest assured, God will see that justice is done, and without the help of four high-octane mercenaries:

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25

Photo: BA bursts out of a wedding cake brandishing a machine gun, foiling an oil baron’s forced marriage to an heiress.