Don’t Gimme No Back Talk, Sucka!

Yesterday we received news that yet another TV show is heading to the big screen. This time it’s Stephen J. Cannell’s 80’s action-comedy “The A-Team”. I pity the fool who didn’t watch this show. I was 9 years old when this was first on the air and it was one of my favorites. Even to this day the theme song is the ringtone on my cellphone, I have a Mr. T t-shirt that I often wear, and I even have this little keychain that when you press a button, it gives you choices bits of Mr. T dialog like “Quit yo’ jibba-jabba!”

Honestly I don’t know how I feel about them making this into a movie. I have many fond memories of the show from my childhood. I am also perfectly aware that it’s pretty ridiculous. Recently (within the last few years) I saw an episode where the Army finally discovered the A-Team’s secret hideout. Their big plan for capturing them was that they had to take out B.A. since he’s the really tough one. So they replaced the milkman who delivered B.A.’s milk every morning with one of their agents and put some drugs in his milk to knock him out. I’m dead serious. Actual storyline from the show.

Stephen is quoted as saying:

Not to denigrate the TV show, but nobody ever died. We drove cars off cliffs and people got out and walked away. We’re not going to do that (in the movie).

In this the tone is more dangerous … you can really die. It’s very tense and exciting.

How do you reconcile “dangerous” and “tense and exciting” with poisoned milk because the tough guy wants strong bones and teeth? The thing that made the show fun was that Mr. T was over-the-top. He was the strong one but he had all those gold chains and the mohawk. He could growl at someone and they’d run away afraid, but he drank his milk every day and was deathly afraid of flying.

Dwight Schultz before he was a neurotic engineer on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was “the crazy one”, Murdock, on “The A-Team”. His character was the Scooby Doo of the group. He was always dressing up and pretending to be other people usually in an effort to fool the bad guys. In my mind, these kind of characters don’t lend themselves to “dangerous” movies.

I think that Stephen J. Cannell should take a long look at which TV-shows-turned-movies have been successful in the last few years. The ones that have their figurative tongue firmly planted in their figurative mouth, are much more successful than the ones that take themselves seriously. Movie versions of “Charlie’s Angels”, “Starsky & Hutch”, and “The Brady Bunch” and much more enjoyable and have much larger box offices than ones like “The Mod Squad” and “Lost In Space”.