Demystifying The A-Team Formula


"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."
Most everyone who has been watching television since the 1980's can recognize this
introduction as the beginning of every A-Team episode. A good handful of these people
probably can even sing the theme song, which sounds as if it could be piped from the
halls of West Point. The popularity of the show when it ...

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in seeing if Hannibal's (George Peppard) plan always comes together, or was it truly
the violence that sold the show?

Compared to NBC's new experimental shows like Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere, whose
innovative use of realism sparked the Third Golden Age of Television and quality TV as
we know it; The A-Team (TAT) is just another parody of the action/adventure genre.
Or is it? The truth is The A-Team 's popularity was so brilliant because it provided
something for everyone. TAT created a new genre by mixing old ones. I intend to demystify
the formula that was exclusive t o TAT created by exploring the character personalities
and old genres that the show employed.

At the time of the premiere of The A-Team , television was going through a major
transformation. Networks were battling for ratings in a constantly decreasing market.
Innovative programs such as CBS's Cagney & Lacey were targeting the wo rk-force woman
audience by creating a woman ...

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racial level."2

On the second level Hannibal is the stereotypical Caucasian leader: elderly, white haired,
and cunning. In a sense he represents corporate America, puffing on cigars and formulating
strategies on how to get rich. Only in Smith's case he puffs on cigar s and formulates
strategies on how to get the bad guy. This is Hollywood labeling at its best.

Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Dirk Benedict) is a man of a thousand faces. "He
is the team's resident con- and ladies-man who usually ends up gathering information
for the team due to his innate charm."3

Face's second level of character identity shows that he is the stereotypical rich
fraternity guy. ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/16/2004 10:18:51 PM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3264
Pages: 12

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