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HTF DVD REVIEW: Mission Impossible: The Sixth TV Season

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

Matt Hough

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Posted April 16 2009 - 03:27 PM

Mission Impossible: The Sixth TV Season
Directed by Paul Krasny et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1971-1972
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1119 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, 2.0 mono English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
MSRP: $ 54.99

Release Date: April 28, 2009
Review Date: April 16, 2009

The Series


The 1971-1972 season found Mission Impossible back on familiar territory. For the entire season, the show stuck to its tried-and-true formula obviously trying desperately hard to reverse the ratings slide the show had begun to experience the previous season. Though returning to its roots didn’t help turn the tide, the show did turn out a mostly entertaining season of episodes.

Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) is still the leader of the IM force, and electronics expert Barney Collier (Greg Morris) and team muscle Willy Armitage (Peter Lupus) are also still performing their duties with their customary expertise. (When a person with medical expertise is needed for the team, Sam Elliott’s Doug Robert is drafted for service, but he was not used to any great extent during this season.) Leonard Nimoy left the series at the end of season five along with one season wonder Lesley Ann Warren, and Nimoy was not replaced. (Occasional free lancers are jobbed in when an extra man is needed on a mission.) However, as the resident woman-of-many-faces, Lynda Day George makes a wonderful addition to the cast as Casey, youthful and glamorous and yet mature enough to fit right in with the rest of the team. Additionally, Greg Morris is given much more to do this season, and it resulted in an Emmy nomination for him as Best Supporting Actor.

All of the episodes this season revolve around Phelps receiving a tape recorded message in an isolated location describing the potentially hazardous mission followed by an explanation of the preparations various team members have made to get the mission underway. Unlike the previous season, there were no one-shots that didn’t involve instructions from a recorded voice. All of the stories take place in the United States this season, too (situations where "conventional law enforcement agencies" were ineffectual), so there were no Latin American dictators or Cold War-tempered excursions outside our borders. Though there were three instances where team members were discovered and their lives placed in jeopardy (including a ludicrous episode where Jim contracts amnesia), the missions still went through to completion. After all, it was the premise’s familiar formula that always generated the best episodes in all of the previous seasons.

And the show’s reputation still guaranteed it a stellar list of guest stars. Among the great ones who made appearances this season are Peter Brown, Tom Bosley, Harold Stone, William Shatner, Leonard Frey, Donald Moffat, Christopher Stone, Robert Mandan, Gerald O’Loughlin, Joe Don Baker, Billy Dee Williams, William Smith, Elizabeth Ashley, Fritz Weaver, Jeremy Slate, Kevin McCarthy, William Windom, Ed Flanders, Alex Rocco, Steve Forrest, Tyne Daly, Ron Masak, Christopher George, Rafer Johnson, Herb Edelman, Richard Jaeckel, Anthony Zerbe, James Gregory, Bradford Dillman, Warren Stevens, Daniel J. Travanti, Geoffrey Lewis, James Sikking, Georg Stanford Brown, Robert Colbert, Lou Antonio, Norman Alden, Jack Cassidy, Bert Convy, Jon Cypher, and Sharon Acker.

Here is the list of the season’s twenty-two episodes contained on six discs in the set:

1 - Blind
2 - Encore
3 - The Tram (plot requiring split-second timing was my favorite of the season)
4 - Mindbend
5 - Shape-Up
6 - The Miracle
7 - Encounter
8 - Underwater
9 - Invasion
10 - Blues
11 - The Visitors
12 - Nerves
13 - Run for the Money
14 - The Connection
15 - The Bride
16 - Stone Pillow
17 - Image
18 - Committed
19 - Bag Woman
20 - Double Dead
21 - Casino
22 - Trapped

Video Quality


The program’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio is faithfully adhered to in these new transfers. Overall, color is strong, flesh tones are appealing, and sharpness is laudable except in cases where soft focus is used on select cast members for their close-ups. Stock footage continues to look abysmal, and there are age related white specks to be seen off and on but not to any great extent. Without anamorphic enhancement, there is moiré present and some of the plaid jackets for the gentlemen flash, but otherwise, the encoding is solid. Each episode has been divided into six chapters.

Audio Quality


A Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track has been repurposed for this release, and while the surrounds don’t get consistent use and the subwoofer isn't really utilized, there are occasional ambient sounds to be heard in the rears, and the music has some nice expanse with the additional channels. (The original mono track is also provided.) It’s truly great to hear that iconic Mission Impossible theme in a surround encoding.

Special Features


Apart from trailers for Mannix, Perry Mason, Hawaii Five-O, and Nash Bridges, there are no bonus features with this set.

In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)

Mission Impossible only lasted one more season in its original run after the episodes contained in this sixth season set, but there are certainly enough entertaining, action-filled stories to please both fans of the show and those who may not be familiar with the show’s later seasons.

Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   WaveCrest



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Posted April 17 2009 - 10:12 AM

Enjoyed this review but also disappointed with it as well. I thought the ratings for the original Mission: Impossible TV series went up overall for the fifth season and went up slightly higher for the sixth season (source: The Official Mission: Impossible Dossier book). I've watched the first three seasons and the first two episodes from the fourth season so far, and have found the episodes which break from the formula have been as successful as the episodes with the normal format.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 17 2009 - 03:33 PM

The show was never able to capture the overall popularity of its second season (where it ranked #11 for the season) in any of its subsequent seasons. Fluctuations from one year to the next after that wildly successful second season might have occurred, but the show was never able to reenter the top thirty shows list after season two. That's all I meant. And, my opinion is purely subjective. I admired that they tried to break from the norm in some shows in previous seasons, but the fact that they didn't alter the routine for any shows in season six only demonstrates they felt their bread and butter was sticking to the formula that audiences seemed to enjoy.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   WaveCrest



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Posted April 18 2009 - 10:42 AM

Season five was more erratic because of the several 'personal' episodes in the first quarter or half of the season, but these were reduced. I think "Cat's Paw" was a personal episode, but after that they didn't do any more until "Kidnap" in season seven. But that was more of a sequel to "Casino". I don't know if people from the US and Canada can view the movie/TV show clips on Play.com, but there is a clip from the season six episode "The Tram" on the website's page for Mission: Impossible: The Sixth Season. I'm guessing it's from the teaser, shown before the montage of clips from the episode.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   stardvd555



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Posted May 17 2009 - 02:51 PM

Bag Woman

The Sopranos Seasons 1-6 DVD Boxset

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