Series / Black Sheep Squadron

In World War II, Marine Corps Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington commanded a squadron of fighter pilots. They were a collection of misfits and screwballs who became the terrors of the South Pacific. They were known as The Black Sheep.
(Baa Baa Black Sheep opening theme)

An American television series following the exploits of the US Marine Corps fighter squadron VMF-214, based on the fictional island of Vella La Cava. The show lasted from September, 1976 to September, 1978, with a total of 37 episodes in two seasons. When not in combat, the members of the squad could often be found getting in trouble in and around base.

The show was originally called Baa Baa Black Sheep. For its second season this was was changed to Black Sheep Squadron in an attempt to boost ratings, as network execs thought it was being mistaken for a kids' show, and that's the title advertised when it's in syndication.

Black Trope Squadron:

  • Ace Pilot
  • A Father to His Men: Pappy Boyington
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Varying accents and levels of Japanese proficiency. Most of the actors were American-born and some were of Chinese or Korean descent.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: Lieutenant Commander Delmonte in the pilot.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Movie star Rod Towers telling a reporter "I need to change my drawers."
  • Butt-Monkey: TJ Wiley.
  • The Cameo: The Real Life Greg Boyington was given a cameo in one episode.
  • Captain Obvious: "What are you flying?" "AN AIRPLANE, YOU IDIOT!!"
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Boyington and Micklin
  • Catch-Phrase
    • "Hey Boyington!"
    • "College boys!"
  • Celebrity Star: Peter Frampton
  • Child Soldier: Jeb Pruitt
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
    • James "Jim" Gutterman just disappeared between seasons 1 and 2.
    • Bob Anderson as well early in the second season
  • Cigar Chomper: Micklin, except when he's asleep.
  • Conflicted Loyalties: American-born Japanese pilot Tenyu Araki.
  • Cool Pet
    • Meatball, the bull terrier
    • Spaghetti, the captured Japanese talking crow
  • Cool Plane: The squadron flies Corsairs which in Real Life were the terror of the Pacific and looked suspiciously like bats.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: makes for pretty action shots. Subverted with the landing gear malfunctioning on TJ's plane, a barrel roll or flying upside down was the only way he could get the landing gear to retract.
  • Fanservice: Midway through the second season a medical facility was located on the island and several nurses, billed in the opening credits as "Pappy's Lambs," became a regular part of the stories.
  • Friendly Enemy: Harachi
  • Go-Karting with Bowser
    • Pappy and Harachi
    • Pappy and Micklin
    • Ping-pong with Rocky Araki
  • Hospital Hottie: The Lambs
  • Grease Monkey: Hutch and Micklin
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: Boyington
  • Japanese Ranguage: Harachi: "Hey Boiintaan! Where you hidiin? Come up and pray!" "You drraahnk! You prane no fry. I sink you chicken! I get you on ground."
  • Jerk Ass: Micklin
  • Not So Different: The Japanese. They are shown in rather compassionate way.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Double Subverted by Col. Thomas Lard, who at first appears to be a by-the-book career officer and in the odds with Boyington, but who is secretly supportive to Boyington
  • Put on a Bus
    • Popular character John "Hutch" Hutchinson was killed off in the episode "Last One for Hutch".
    • Pappy's first love interest, nurse Captain Dottie Dixon, was killed in "Fighting Angels" to make room for the new forbidden fruit, the much younger nurse Lt. Samantha Greene (one of Pappy's Lambs). And to dramatically give Greg back his golden cross.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Hand-picked by Boyington himself
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: Very much so. Actually the way the war is shown is like something between a drunken frat boys' club and beach holiday.
  • Sitting Duck: Lampshaded in one episode by the narrator while discussing how a new pilot was both very good and very foolish. While the airfield is being strafed, he jumps into a plane and somehow manages to out-turn a Zero and shoot him down while taking off. That is to say, the Narrator lampshaded the trope, explaining it as why most pilots don't try to take off while actively being strafed, and averted by the pilot, who manages to succeed despite it.
  • Sky Face: In an episode the young mechanic gets killed (during an air raid?) and at the end of the episode we see a still shot of him in the sky.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The minor-key quote from the Whiffenpoof Song sung by an noncomedic offkey male chorus. These poor little lambs will kill you.
  • The Squad
  • Squad Nickname: VMF-214 "The Black Sheep".
  • Stock Footage: Actual WWII air combat footage, including archived footage of ''German'' warbirds. TPTB figured nobody would notice.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: There was a USMC fighter squadron nick named the Black Sheep and it was led by Major Greg Boyington, and the true part ends there! The Real Life Boyington, a technical advisor for the show, called it "fiction based on reality", and noted that his show counterpart was the only real life character, with the rest being created for the show.
  • Weapons Understudies: Modified T-6 Texan for the A 6 M Zeros, of which very few surviving craft exist.
  • Worthy Opponent: Tomio Harachi
  • You Look Familiar: Japanese characters were played by an unvarying group of Asian actors.