Mission Impossible - Season 6
Still being seen on Saturday nights -- albeit in a later time slot -- Mission: Impossible entered its sixth season with hopes that its ever-diminishing ratings (brought about by the defection of its two most popular regulars, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain) would take an upward turn. In this spirit, the series offers some of its best-ever episodes during season six, notably "Encore, in which the IMF team literally recreates the year 1937 on a Hollywood backlot in order to convince an aging gangster (William Shatner) that he has gone back in time, thus coercing him to confess to a long-unsolved crime; "The Visitors, wherein the team stages a disturbingly realistic extraterrestrial invasion to expose the mob connections of a powerful media mogul (Steve Forrest); and "Invasion, with Kevin McCarthy as a traitor who is hoodwinked into believing that the United States has become a military dictatorship. Of the familiar series regulars, Peter Graves still heads the cast as IMF leader Jim Phelps, Greg Morris continues to essay the role of electronics whiz Barney Collier, and Peter Lupus remains on hand as muscle-man Willie Armitage. Missing this season are Lesley Ann Warren as the team's versatile female member Dana Lambert, replaced by Lynda Day George as Lisa Casey; and Leonard Nimoy as master of disguise Paris, replaced by nobody. Although the six-year-old Mission: Impossible easily out-rated its NBC and ABC competition -- Saturday Night at the Movies and The Persuaders, respectively -- the series was still a far cry from its 11th place ratings peak during the series' third season.