"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."
Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Sharlto Copely star as a group of Iraq War veterans hunted by the military for a crime they didn't commit in The A-Team, in theaters today. It looks like terrific summer popcorn fun, but Blu-ray Bob still pities the fool that doesn't remember the hit '80s show on which it was based. Television's The A-Team also features a group of four soldiers of fortune on the lam: Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith (George Peppard) is the leader with the unorthodox methods, H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdoch (Dwight Schultz) is the group's legally insane pilot, Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Dirk Benedict) scores the teams vehicles and other handy items, and Bosco Albert B.A. "Bad Attitude" Baracus (Mr. T) provides the team's muscle as its mechanic. Guest stars during the show's run included Boy George, Hulk Hogan, Rick James, Joe Namath, Isaac Hayes and even Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
In what is not at all a coincidence, Universal just released The A-Team: The Complete Series in a big van-shaped case with Mr. T behind the wheel. The show's 98 episodes are spread out over 25 DVDs (don't hold your breath for Blu-ray—early '80s shows were mostly shot on videotape with mono soundtracks and wouldn't benefit from a transition to high definition). If you already own the individual seasons, though, this set doesn't offer much new in the way of bonus materials. There's an "'80s TV Flashback" that has been included on other TV-on-DVD titles that features a trippy look at popular shows of the day like Gimme a Break, Simon and Simon and Miami Vice. There is a 12-minute interview with creator Stephen J. Cannell called "Rumors of Soldiers of Fortune" filmed during the show's fifth and final season that proves to be the only reflection on the show made by someone involved in its making. Was Mr. T—who declined a cameo appearance in the new film—too busy making those 1-800-Collect ads to drop in for an interview or some commentaries for this box set that his likeness is driving? Pity.