Well, it started all out over here when it had almost ended in the US. In 1987 a division of the ARD network called WWF decided to buy and show 26 episodes of a show considered very violent. They said they had picked out some of the less violent eps. (e.g. they showed Holiday in the Hills, In Plane Sight, Champ, Til Death do us part etc.) I wonder what criteria they had.
The synchronization was quite o.k. - besides what they made of the intro... This is the German text that was shown with those first 26 eps:
Vor einigen Jahren wurden 4 Männer einer militärischen Spezialeinheit für ein Verbrechen verurteilt, das sie nicht begangen hatten. Sie brachen aus dem Gefängnis aus und tauchten in Los Angeles unter. Seitdem werden sie von der Militärpolizei gejagt, aber sie helfen anderen, die in Not sind.
Sie wollen nicht so ganz ernst genommen werden, aber ihre Gegner müssen sie ernst nehmen. Also, wenn Sie mal ein Problem haben und nicht mehr weiter wissen, warum suchen sie nicht das A-TEAM. The translation was not SO bad, but I still don´t understand why they added the underlined sentence. Which would mean: They don´t want to be taken seriously, but their enemies have to take them seriously.
The very first up I ever saw was "Till Death do us part" (which is still one of my all-time favorites) and I immediately became a fan. The 26 eps went by and the network refused to buy some other eps because they were way too brutal and violent. So nothing happened until 1989, when RTL bought the whole series containing the 26 WWF episodes. I was enthusiastic about it, really. I didn´t know what was to come...They synchronized all new eps and they did it with a German pronounced "A". It sounds awful - really. And the rest is even worse. (I should´ve known better as they´d already given a Bavarian accent to Apollo in their synchronization of Battlestar Galactica.)
The merchandising of the series over here was literally non-existent. They managed to publish one book containing an episode guide and some nice pics as well as the Soundtrack CD (both Edel Company). Besides that few toy shops offered some of the small die-cast ERTL cars. And that´s it. I am still amazed to see what is/was available in other countries.
At least we have a fan club over here called "The A-TEAM FAN SOCIETY" which is still around. Have a look at The A-Team Fan Society if you are interested.