Mission Impossible - Season 1
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Mission Impossible - Season 1

Director: Allen Miner, Bernard Kowalski, Charles R. Rondeau, Harry Harris

Cast: Allen Miner, Bernard Kowalski, Charles R. Rondeau, Harry Harris

     
 
Back in the laserdisc era, Bruce Geller's series Mission: Impossible showed up on a very limited basis, six episodes on three discs (if memory serves). Paramount has now released the entire first season of the series, 28 episodes, in a seven-DVD set, packaged in four narrow cases in a slipcase. Each single-sided disc is programmed with four episodes. Each show

Overview

Back in the laserdisc era, Bruce Geller's series Mission: Impossible showed up on a very limited basis, six episodes on three discs (if memory serves). Paramount has now released the entire first season of the series, 28 episodes, in a seven-DVD set, packaged in four narrow cases in a slipcase. Each single-sided disc is programmed with four episodes. Each show has been given a half-dozen chapter-markers corresponding with the main sections of the program, plus the opening and closing credits. The programs themselves were among the most interesting in the long run of the series, because they were still working out the basic formula of the series and its variations, and figuring out what would and could work within a television series budget of the period (and yielding amazing results). Additionally, the casting was triply intriguing -- not just for having Steven Hill, a much more interesting actor than Peter Graves, who succeeded him, as the team leader, but also the unusually strong guest stars for the period, working in uncharacteristic roles. The pilot featured Wally Cox (then one of the top actors on television) in an Emmy-caliber performance as a safe-cracker required for the mission at hand, while the episode offers Albert Paulsen -- who most often portrayed villains -- in a sympathetic and totally neurotic role, as a failed performer who gets a chance at redemption through the mission at hand; these characterizations are all somewhat more complex than viewers would find in later seasons of the series, in which it slipped into its formula a little too easily and smoothly for anything too creative on a performing level. The series itself was extremely important in the history of Desilu Studios, where it was produced. The latter organization had proved itself with half-hour sitcoms and become extremely profitable specializing in that area. But when Desilu went into producing hour-long programs in color, starting with Star Trek and then Mission: Impossible, no one believed they could pull it off, and they did, creating a pair of the most enduring "franchise" series in the history of the medium, although ironically, at the time Mission: Impossible was considered a far more successful and important series. They were successful enough to attract the attention of Paramount, which bought out Desilu midway through the run of both series and ended up reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in rewards -- just from those two series -- from the purchase. The film-to-video transfers are brilliant -- every pore on the characters' faces resolves in the close-ups, and everyone and everything looks razor sharp. The full-screen (1.33-to-1) image is beautifully balanced in terms of color and contrast, and the sound is high in volume and well detailed. It's also a tribute to Barbara Bain's beauty and performing skills that placed under such close visual scrutiny, she is 100 percent convincing in her part (she was feared to be the weak link in the cast when the series was going into production, most notably by Lucille Ball, who owned Desilu Studios, where the series was produced). One heartily wishes that there were some extras to top off the excellence of the presentation here -- Bain, her ex-husband Martin Landau, Steven Hill, and Peter Lupus were all still with us at the time of this release, and were all still active. But just having these episodes -- which, because of the different casting, have been shown far less often in syndication than the later seasons' shows were -- is gift enough. Each disc opens automatically to an easy-to-use multi-layered menu that is surprisingly simple to maneuver through.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Although it provided fodder for dozens of comedy sketches and eventually became a parody of itself, this high-adventure series got off to a good start with gripping, surprisingly complex yarns of Cold War intrigue. Mission: Impossible premiered in 1966 with a largely unknown cast but, by virtue of its unusually clever scripts and exotic settings, became an early example of "destination TV": a show around which people actually arranged their schedules. Steven Hill portrayed Dan Briggs, head of the IMF (Impossible Missions Taskforce), a top-secret private agency engaged by the government to carry out dangerous assignments too hot to be handled by American military or law-enforcement agencies. His team -- chosen at the beginning of each adventure in a little ritual that became one of the show's trademarks -- included actor and makeup genius Rollin Hand (Martin Landau), actress Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain, then Landau's real-life wife), technical wizard Barney Collier (Greg Morris), and strongman Willy Armitage (Peter Lupus). The IMF's various missions taxed the ingenuity of the writers, who almost always rose to the challenge of providing exhaustively detailed capers that kept home viewers riveted to their seats. Among the best shows of the 28-episode first season are "A Spool There Was," a Landau-Bain tour de force that finds Rollin and Cinnamon going it alone to recover a crucially important wire recording; "The Traitor," in which the IMF discredits an American defector and whisks him out of enemy territory before he can impart top-secret information; and "Action!," which finds Dan and the team sabotaging the efforts of an Iron Curtain filmmaker who has been manipulating footage of American troops in his movie about wartime atrocities.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/05/2006
UPC:
0097360384529
Rating:
NR
Source:
Paramount
Region Code:
1
Time:
23:24:00

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steven Hill Actor,Dan Briggs
Greg Morris Barney Collier
Barbara Bain Cinammon Carter,Cinnamon Carter
Barbara Luna Elena Maria Del Barra
Peter Lupus Willy Armitage
Barry Atwater Dr. Carlos Enero
Ken Renard Assistant Manager
Martin Landau Rollin Hand
Abraham Sofaer Thomas De Cuarto
Albert Paulsen Joseph Barrish
Ben Hammer Callao

Technical Credits
Allen Miner Director
Bernard Kowalski Director
Charles R. Rondeau Director
Harry Harris Director
Herschel Daugherty Director
Joseph Pevney Director
Lee H. Katzin Director
Leonard Horn Director
Lewis Allen Director
Marc Daniels Director
Michael O'Herlihy Director
Ralph Senensky Director
Richard Benedict Director
Robert Douglas Director
Sherman Marks Director
Tom Gries Director

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