The Second Season
The A-Team is a television series from the mid 80s. I never had a chance to watch the series while it aired on television, but I was able to watch re-runs. In my younger days, it was a show I really enjoyed. Still today this day, I find The A-Team pretty exciting. However, all nostalgia aside, the show just doesn't live up to modern television programming. The episodes are pretty cliched and repetitive in content.
For those who are not familiar with the series, the A-Team was a small elite military unit in the Vietnam War. They were accused of a crime they didn't commit. Of course, they were convicted of the crime and imprisoned in a maximum security jail. The A-Team being comprised of jacks-of-all-trades, the prison couldn't hold them. Now on the run, the A-Team led by Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith (George Peppard), a man who has a plan for everything, travels across the United States helping folks in need. The rest of the crew is made up of Captain "Howling Mad" Murdock (Dwight Schultz), a committed and literally lunatic pilot who can fly anything, Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Dirk Benedict), an expert conman who can get anything anywhere, and 1-800-COLLECT's Mr. T (Laurence Tureaud) as Sgt. Bosco "Bad Attitude" Baracus, a mechanical genius who wears more gold in weight than I can lift. There's also another character who wasn't part of the A-Team's military group. Amy Allen (Melinda Culea) is a news reporter who helps the A-Team by writing cover stories for her newspaper about the instances surrounding them.
Similar to the first season, season two takes a very formulaic approach, where Hannibal, B.A., Murdock, Face, and Amy run into the same problems over and over again. The only difference is the location and people, but in an abstract sense they're not so different. The A-Team repeatedly helps a small community of people who are oppressed or bullied by a group of thugs. Each episode is setup and concludes in a similar fashion. Someone representing the people being oppressed contacts the A-Team and eventually hires them. The A-Team goes to wherever they're needed and they clash with the bad guys, kick their butts, and drive them off.
Meanwhile, the military police randomly chases the A-Team back into hiding. This was actually one of the biggest changes from season one to season two. Instead of being pursued by Colonel Lynch, another Colonel named Decker took on the job of chasing the A-Team. What makes Decker really different is that he's willing to take more risks and bend the law to catch the A-Team. This makes for several situations when the A-Team get caught with their pants down. But of course, they always miraculously get out of whatever hot water they get into.
Another fairly big change to this season was less focus on two reoccurring events. Since Murdock is clinically insane, Hannibal, Face, and B.A. have to periodically break him out of the hospital. In season one there were some very inventive ways of getting him out. However season two has less focus on this. While we do get some eccentric breakouts, they don't occur as much. Similarly, in season one there was a fairly strong focus on B.A.'s fear of flying. Whenever the A-Team has to travel by plane Hannibal devises plan to drug B.A., which knocks him out long enough to fly across the country. There is less travel by air in this season, so we miss out on these unrealistic situations. I thought that was too bad, because while the events are usually played out in a very corny and cliched manner, they can still be very fun.
In a way the second season is not a whole lot better than the first season. The show is very formulaic and offers little variety in its content. Most viewers may be put off by this approach, as the show can get overly repetitive. Also, the show's very cliched and unrealistic mannerism may be a slight turn off to viewers. Needless to say, this second season release is probably best geared for the fans of the show. In small doses the show can be fun and will fill many moments of nostalgia, but in large quantities it can get boring.
This DVD release is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The quality of the picture is not bad or good; it is average and adequately fits the needs of this feature. The picture does have a noticeable grain, with compression artifacts. The poor quality is mainly due to its age and considering it is from the mid 80s, is does not look too bad. The quality is also better than the first season release, but not by much.
The audio track in this DVD release is an English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo track. The audio track isn't extremely impressive. Like the first season, it remains to be subtly flat throughout each episode. In most television shows, this isn't a huge issue as they are mostly comprised of spoken dialogue. However in this case, The A-Team contains a great deal of sound effects, i.e. gunshots, explosions, etc., which are unfortunately not detailed very well by the supplied track. There is also very little separation between left and right channels. This release is also equipped with subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
Unlike the first season release, this DVD release gets a bonus feature. There is an episode, "Brother's Keeper", from Knight Rider: Season Two included.
The A-Team is one of those television series I grew up loving and have several fond memories of. However, compared to most modern television series, it does not compare. While I did enjoy watching season two on DVD, I'm afraid the entertainment factor was not strong enough to really warrant a purchasing recommendation. The show is a bit too formulaic and unrealistic to be a real winner. The bottom line, this DVD release is great as a rental.