Friday, October 1, 2010

I love it when a plan comes together...

Who said that?

Most people know. Even people who never watched the show OR the movie could probably guess that that is the catchphrase of John 'Hannibal' Smith, leader of the A Team.

For my generation, the A Team was something we grew up with. It was many things. One thing it was not...was good. The characters were two dimensional, the episodes were formulaic and the show has been accused of sexism...not without cause.

The plot? Find hot young woman who's in trouble. Break Murdoch out of secure mental. Turn BA's van into a tank. Get into massive shoot out in which they expend the entire remaining episode budget on ammunition...without hitting anyone. Get BA on a plane (most often by drugging him, sometimes by locking him in a cargo container). Get into second massive shootout. Defeat bad guy. Drive off into sunset...with BA's tank mysteriously having somehow turned back into a van.

Even the movie held many of the same formulaic episodes. (And somehow managed without Mr. T. Somehow.)

But...you know. It wasn't good. It wasn't deep. It certainly wasn't literature. What the A Team was was non stop, simple fun. Good, old fashioned (if somewhat violent) entertainment. Entertainment good enough that it has been continuously aired in the UK since the mid eighties. By somebody. Even the theme song...yeah, that theme song. The one that sticks in your head for days...

In short, a classic example of how it need not be quality literature to be fun. Possibly the best pure action show of all time.

So. Why did I just blather on about the A Team for paragraphs.

I wish it was for a good reason.

Last night, at the age of 69, the quirky producer of the A Team and the Rockford Files and prolific writer Stephen J. Cannell departed this life due to complications from melanoma.

I think that we have lost something...somewhere...between the 80s and now. Don't get me wrong, I love cerebral shows. But there is something that era gave us...that it would not be bad to recapture. And one of its giants has been lost.