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"The A-Team" A Nice Place to Visit (1983)

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Nice place to visit : small bend in the road....

9/10
Author: smith-tim from Canada
26 May 2007

As an A Team fan, this has to be one of my favorite early pieces. It does not follow the pure A Team formula but is written from a concept. Dealing with the loss of friend. There is less running around shooting and racing cars, twirling jeeps or ducking Lynch (although this is there to some degree.)

Joannna Kerns plays well as the widow of a fallen war buddy. Her loss is palpably believable but being a pro she keeps it from going over the top. There are flashbacks with voice-over done by each team member of their friend (good idea but very shortchanged by time constraints) However week the flashbacks, the voice overs added a small sense of nostalgia for time past.

It showed that the show could work and be written from a single concept without falling to pure formula. Yes, the villains are pretty standard A Team bad guys. There is Harold the gas attendant -- pure cliché. right down to his high pitched giggle> reminded me of Gabby Hayes

What I also saw in this piece was that this was one of the few shows except for the pilot or even Range Rider where Amy Allen gets to show what her role could have been. Not here is Amy the cardboard cutout shuttled in and out of scenes (without explanation) a with few lines and little to do but look to at the camera and give an expression.

The show starts with what looks like reused scenes from another episode, a car chase, but then cuts to van. Amy instead of being in the back as smiling backdrop is pretty well front and center (considering how little she has been given to do since the pilot.) She is again feisty, strong willed, edgy and not going take nonsense or put up with the guys fooling around. She makes herself part of the group as she dresses down BA by reminding him a very strong tone that eating a parking ticket in front of the cop (not shown just talked about) definitively falls under the category of starting trouble. She harangues HM about comparing tickets to food and generally comments they not best not look for trouble or trouble would find them. The team laughs a bit at her, but her character stands up to the argument and wont be put down. She acts as referee grabbing the Face and HM to keep them apart and without words her expression is simple "smarten up". A bit "mother hen" she tells them once they reach the town ...no trouble guys....no trouble...

In the diner Amy sticks a fork in the hand of one of the main bad guys (Deke Watkins played suitably nasty by Don Stroud) when he gets pushy. She gets to open a lot of dialog in this show and expresses her characters opinions of disgust at the situation where they are called the villains by the restaurant owner and told to leave. Near the end she actually uses weapons to shoot at people firing a rifle, shooting a fire extinguisher into the eyes of Harald "Gabby Hayes" the giggling gas attendant and throwing coffee at Deke.

Her whole tenure is almost angry as in "stay out of trouble guys" or you will be in jail. The point being that she is given more room and is very capable of making her stuff believable.

Okay. So this is the one of rare early regular episodes where the writers and directors got a good mix with role of Amy and the team. All that was rumored about her feeling left out does not seem to be the case here with her play in Nice Place to Visit.

Director Mcveety proved they could take the A Team build it around a concept and still keep it "ATeam".

It is a bit slower paced but maintains the humor, and A Team essentials (ie fight-scenes etc ) without having Mr T build tanks from garbage cans or letting HM wander of aimlessly with endless soliloquies from Moby Dick.

In summary this essential A TEAM with a slightly different approach that works even with some holes in the plot and really long intro. I don't think this idea was ever tried again.

The end is interesting. Rather than have Hannibal hanging off a chopper skid laughing, it cuts and holds on a shot of the grave of their friend with Murdochs voice-over "Ray had many friends" suggesting a gentle homage to Vietnam vets who were often shunned and hated because of their involvement in a very unpopular conflict.

ts

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