Several years ago, Yahoo polled 1,000 TV viewers and asked them what classic show they’d like to see revived.

The surprise winner was a program that had ended its run nearly 20 years earlier, and was probably best known for one of it stars, a Mohawked black man wearing enough jewelry to pay off the national debt whose favorite catchphrase was the iconic “I pity the fool!”

Yep, Mr. T and “The A-Team” remained favorites long after their supposed sell-by dates, which is a major reason why, after almost a decade in development, a big-screen version of the series opens Friday. And, as “A-Team” director Joe Carnahan told the Los Angeles Times, this is not “the easy, breezy Cover Girl version of ‘The A-Team.’ We’re not making an homage to ‘The A-Team.’ We’re taking the base story of four guys wrongfully convicted of a crime. That’s the point of departure.”

So what else is new? When it comes to source material, Hollywood has been looking to TV since the boob tube became a mass medium. The Oscar-winning 1955 film “Marty” was based on a TV drama, as was the classic 1957 film “12 Angry Men.” From “Maverick” to “The X-Files,” “The Untouchables” to “The Twilight Zone,” the film industry has continued to raid TV for ideas.

But given the number of truly awful TV adaptations, the journey from small to large screen can be perilous. “You have to look at the movie as a reinvention,” says “A-Team” producer Jules Daly. “If you think you have to replicate the show, you’re going to lose. And sometimes the cheesier the show, it gives you more to go with. You embrace the cheese, or find what was solid within.”

“If something has been a series already, there are a certain number of elements that people got to know each week, so you have to know what people tuned in for, and keep those elements going,” says veteran screenwriter Steven E. de Souza (“Die Hard,” “The Flintstones”).

For “A-Team” director Carnahan, that filtering process wasn’t especially difficult, although the film has updated certain aspects of the series. In the original, which ran from 1983 to 1987, George Peppard (John “Hannibal” Smith), Dirk Benedict (“Face” Peck), Dwight Schultz (“Howlin’ Mad” Murdock) and the inimitable Mr. T (B.A. Baracus) starred as Vietnam-era Army Special Forces soldiers who were ordered to rob the bank of Hanoi as a means to end the war. But the officer who issued the order was later murdered, so those in the A-Team were branded as criminals and sent to prison. They eventually escaped, and took on jobs as soldiers of fortune while running from the military.

In the new version, which features Liam Neeson as Hannibal, Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover”) as Face, Sharlto Copley (“District 9”) as Murdock and mixed martial arts fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as B.A., the men are Iraq War covert operatives framed for a crime they didn’t commit. They escape from a military prison and try to find out who took them down.

In addition to the major characters, a few of the program’s old touchstones remain, such as when team leader Hannibal Smith utters his classic line, “I love it when a plan comes together.” But other aspects, like the Iraq war timeframe, have been updated. No longer in the mix is B.A.’s bejeweled accessorizing, nor does he utter, “I pity the fool.” And certifiable wild man “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock has also been reconfigured.

“It’s more technically (with Murdock),” says Daly. “Whatever they were doing then was more physical. Now the stakes are much higher, like they’re flying a tank in the air, and he’s operating everything. Joe amped him up to a ‘realer’ person.”

No matter how the film plays out, however, fans of the show will be able to wallow in a double dose of “A-Team” nostalgia. The 25-disc complete series on DVD hit stores last Tuesday, packaged in a replica of the van the boys traveled in.

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