CBS Press Release: Mission Impossible: The Original TV Series

3 Stars
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Mission Impossible: 

The Original TV Series
Arriving on DVD 
Release Date: October 6, 2015

SYNOPSIS
The original TV action drama centering on the activities of The I.M.F. (Impossible Missions Force) was a sensation from the beginning.  The inspired cast, fast-moving plots, neat gadgets, pre-recorded tapes that self-destruct – all these elements made this brilliant show one of television’s crowning achievements.

 

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Kevin Collins

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45 Comments

  1. Looks like whoever designed the package is a fan of Archer. 🙂

    Based on amazon descriptions this is a 46 disc package that contains the original series.

    The 'dynamite' package contains that content plus the revival series that ran for two seasons.

    – Walter.

  2. The original box set was great, with terrific picture quality, though the bonus disc was not playable as to them having glue on the disc. A blu ray release would have been better (and would have been nice to have seen something of the movie MISSION IMPOSSIBLE VS THE MOB (trailer or credits)

  3. The original Mission: Impossible TV series (1966-1973) was before my time, though I had some older relatives who raved about the show's excellence & quality. In the latter '80's, I did catch several episodes of this show on late-night network TV (with a sub-par picture), and liked what I saw. I was disappointed that these re-reruns weren't on more often, and hoped that at some point I could watch the whole series.

    Circa 2011, I got re-interested in the show and discovered that all 7 seasons of the original series had been released on DVD in the previous decade. So, I watched all 7 seasons – back to back. This is an amazing show – excellent acting, writing, & production quality. The show is proof that you don't need flashy special effects & high-speed car chases to be entertaining. Also, it's worth noting that on these DVD sets, the picture quality is superb, and is certainly better than it was during it's original broadcast(s).

    Some specific thoughts/comments:

    – Prior to seeing these DVD sets, I was completely unaware that the late Steven Hill (who was later on the iconic crime series Law & Order in the '90's) was the leader in the first season. In any case, I thought Hill (as Dan Briggs) did a great job, and this season's episodes were just as good as the later ones. In fact, I don't remember the Briggs episodes ever being re-run.

    Stand out episodes from S01 included:

    -The one where Briggs' friend was being black-mailed by a local mobster, and the IM Force had to intervene.

    -The episode where a villain had some valuable information he was unwilling to give up, so the IM force kidnapped him and he woke up in a "remote" castle/fortress where they could interrogate him/trick him into giving up what he knew.

  4. Part 2 of my MI TV series review:

    Peter Graves as Jim Phelps is the MI I remember, and it was great to see the opening sequence in each episode (from S2-on). "Your Mission Jim, should you decide to accept it…"

    -Barbara Bain (Cinnamon) & Martin Landau (Rollin Hand) were excellent in the first three seasons. It was nice to see how the writers/producers of the show used Rollin's disguises to great effect; though the make-up they actually used was minimal, through trick photography, etc. the "disguises" were convincing. For what it's worth, Landau & Bain were married during this time.

    – I was disappointed that Rollin & Cinnamon were absent after the third season (contractual issues?!), but Paris (Leonard Nimoy) was a good replacement for Rollin.

    -Years ago, I remember talking to someone who felt that the later seasons (approximately 4-7) weren't as good as the earlier ones because they focused more on domestic missions against organized crime (i.e.,"The Syndicate") instead of on overseas missions. However, these domestic based episodes were excellent as well, and I enjoyed watching these just as much as the earlier episodes. There are too many great episodes to list here, but several stand-outs included:

    – The episode where they convinced that old gangster (played by a young Bill Shatner) that he had traveled back in time by knocking him out and putting make-up on him so he looked younger; the IM force also had to recreate a neighborhood from the '40's to convince the gangster that he was in the past. Brilliant!

    – The episode where they convinced the bad guy that he was in the future, after a devastating war had occurred – this was all so they could get valuable information from him.

    – The episode where they convinced that gangster that he was in "Shangri-la" where no-one got sick, hurt, or aged because they all drank a "special" water.

    I also enjoyed the episodes that were "off-the-cuff", and not official "Missions", i.e. the episode where Jim Phelps was on vacation in his old home town, and got unexpectedly pulled in to solve a crime.

    Another good episode like this was the one when Jim & Barney were on vacation in an foreign country; Barney got involved with a local artist, and ended up being framed for the death of her jealous boyfriend –

    Spoiler: SPOILER
  5. So I’m watching some Mission Impossible – original TV series. The show always had some outrageous aspects – peel-off masks, tapes that self destructed. But the episode I watched tonight (S2 “The Seal”) had the most far fetched thing in the entire run of the series (or the films).

    They trained a cat

    to fetch

    on command

  6. I guess there is little chance of this coming out on Blu-Ray. First, the series was on Netflix, then it moved to Amazon, now it's on CBS Access. If this came out on Blu, I would not have to put up with this nonsense.

  7. Despite any kind of "stretching of credulity" and/or "suspension of disbelief" that occurred in the original M:I TV show, I still find it excellent, and definitely one of my top 10 favorite TV series of all time.

    To add to my previous post(s) about this, I also found it innovative that in the opening theme song/credits of the show, they would almost always show scenes of the forthcoming episode – without any real "spoilers". It was almost like watching a mini-trailer for the episode, all contained within the opening credits – very clever.

  8. David Weicker

    So I’m watching some Mission Impossible – original TV series. The show always had some outrageous aspects – peel-off masks, tapes that self destructed. But the episode I watched tonight (S2 “The Seal”) had the most far fetched thing in the entire run of the series (or the films).

    They trained a cat

    to fetch

    on command

    A favorite guilty-pleasure episode of mine. I agree that it stretches credulity to think that a cat could be trained to do anything, much less fetch a valuable piece of jade.

    Always wondered why Barney didn't just invent some sort of remote-controlled gadget to do the fetching.

    Rusty the cat, AKA Rhubarb AKA Orangey, had a long career in films and television. This was one of his last performances, as he was something like 14 years old at the time.

  9. The Drifter

    To add to my previous post(s) about this, I also found it innovative that in the opening theme song/credits of the show, they would almost always show scenes of the forthcoming episode – without any real "spoilers". It was almost like watching a mini-trailer for the episode, all contained within the opening credits – very clever.

    It is, and I wonder how many others have employed that technique.

  10. Gary Seven

    I guess there is little chance of this coming out on Blu-Ray. First, the series was on Netflix, then it moved to Amazon, now it's on CBS Access. If this came out on Blu, I would not have to put up with this nonsense.

    They had plenty of opportunities to. Show has a full set of 1080p masters just sitting on shelves.

  11. Gary Seven

    I assume the HD masters are for streaming. While the DVDs are pretty good, this series does look and sound better in HD. It's a bummer as it is a grail for me (one of the few I have left).

    I didn't understand when I asked– now, everything seems to be quite clear; still, I wish Blus had come out.

  12. bmasters9

    If they had all those chances, why wasn't it done?

    The sad truth is the CBS/Paramount was slow to embrace Blu-ray, and when they did, we were both in a recession and the general audience had already chosen to adopt streaming as their preferred vehicle for HD content. The market wasn’t there. CBS also drastically overpriced what they did put out on Blu which further harmed sales. (A single season of I Love Lucy on Blu has a retail price of over $100 at a time when the complete series on DVD was going for $50.)

    CBS lost a fortune on their I Love Lucy releases and their Star Trek: The Next Generation releases. (The last season of TNG only ended up selling something like a thousand copies for them.) They never finished Lucy, and it’s a miracle they finished TNG.

    CBS has a lot of complete series DVD sets out now that sell for well under $100, many for under $50. That’s great for us collectors but it’s bad for the industry. It devalues the product so that the remaining collectors are conditioned not to pay more than that, and it shows that the market for those titles is so small that it left the studio with no choice but to liquidate the inventory at bargain basement pricing.

    I understand the business economics of it but it frustrates me as a fan because CBS has a ton of great stuff in their library that they haven’t figured out how to market.

  13. Josh Steinberg

    (A single season of I Love Lucy on Blu has a retail price of over $100 at a time when the complete series on DVD was going for $50.)

    That's not the only thing that had outrageous prices for single seasonal releases– the individual gos of Star Trek: Voyager also had that kind of high prices (as did others of the Trek family, IIRC); I remember when I was at the Best Buy in Greenville and saw those sticker prices, and I thought that such a price would be good for the all-in-one, but not for a single go.

  14. Gary Seven

    I guess there is little chance of this coming out on Blu-Ray. First, the series was on Netflix, then it moved to Amazon, now it's on CBS Access. If this came out on Blu, I would not have to put up with this nonsense.

    If you want to own it in HD, you needn't rely on subscription services, it is after all available for purchase at iTunes and Vudu in all its HD glory. I picked up the entire series for $10 per season during a sale that was a tie-in to promote one of the Tom Cruise movies.

  15. And the thing is, Trek has always sold well, but the Trek audience just isn’t the same as almost any other audience. Which means that no studio should look at a season of Voyager selling for $100 and take away that all shows will do that. CBS was greedy and dumb to think that.

    And then another factor when Voyager sold for $100 was that there was no other way to see it. When TOS and TNG came out on VHS, it was $20 an episode, so $100 for a season was still a bargain compared to past prices. But once streaming came out with $10 a month or less to watch anything, that was the end of the $100 season set market being viable.

    CBS was extraordinarily, irresponsibly slow in recognizing this change.

  16. Josh Steinberg

    And then another factor when Voyager sold for $100 was that there was no other way to see it.

    In that sense, I can see some justification– at the time, the only real way to see it, IIRC, was on UPN or Fox or other independent stations (that, or get insanely priced releases).

  17. bmasters9

    It is, and I wonder how many others have employed that technique.

    I Spy, for one, also had snippets from the upcoming episode playing during the credits, one year before Mission: Impossible hit the airwaves (although M: I has by far the better theme song!)

  18. Jeff Flugel

    I Spy, for one, also had snippets from the upcoming episode playing during the credits, one year before Mission: Impossible hit the airwaves (though it must be said, M:I did it in a more exciting manner, with a better theme tune).

    And the picture quality on the O-R CBS M:I releases was nothing short of stunning (far better than I Spy, as well)!

  19. I have not seen the original tv series in a very long time but I remember it being very good. But I honestly have to wonder why this series did not get a Blu-ray release and only a dvd release? Anyone know the source that this show was mastered from? If it was tape then I could understand the dvd only choice and I would go ahead and purchase it even though I do not support dvd anymore. But if the source is film then it should have received a Blu-ray release. So who here has this box set and how is the picture quality even though it is only 480p?

  20. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, the original series was film-based and easily remastered in 1080p HD. Those 1080p masters were used for the existing DVDs and they look great – for DVDs. The Hi-def episodes on Amazon of course, look a bit better, but the DVDs aren't horrible unless you're trying to blow them up onto 50-foot screens. (I exaggerate!)

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was resurrected in the late 80s on ABC with Peter Graves reprising his role as Jim Phelps. Those episodes were filmed and then composited onto videotape for broadcast, so the DVDs of those are all we're ever going to get – and they look fairly miserable.

    I'm thankful that we got what we got for this series. While the HD versions are on Amazon, I tend to stream those when I want to see one, but I also know that the moment they get pulled from the current availability, my DVDs will serve nicely.

    CBS takes a lot of flak for its pricing policies in those Blu-ray instances. But I think they were trying to properly figure out the real price point that would work. Once they determined that the market wasn't all that eager to spend on Blu-rays for favorites, they simply closed up that shop. I think we'd all do much the same in their place.

  21. I hope they don’t screw it up like they did the dynamite stick version from several years ago. They converted the early episodes (and maybe all of them??) into widescreen 1.77 AR. Had I known that I might not have purchased the set.

  22. Harry-N

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, the original series was film-based and easily remastered in 1080p HD. Those 1080p masters were used for the existing DVDs and they look great – for DVDs. The Hi-def episodes on Amazon of course, look a bit better, but the DVDs aren't horrible unless you're trying to blow them up onto 50-foot screens. (I exaggerate!)

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was resurrected in the late 80s on ABC with Peter Graves reprising his role as Jim Phelps. Those episodes were filmed and then composited onto videotape for broadcast, so the DVDs of those are all we're ever going to get – and they look fairly miserable.

    Agree with all of this. The existing DVD's of the original M:I series are fantastic – some of the best PQ I've seen for an old show. Though I may upgrade to Blu if this series ever gets remastered for this format (less & less likely each day, as physical media becomes less popular), I'm still very satisfied with these DVD's.

    I am also a fan of the short-lived & underrated 1988-1990 resurrected M:I series; this is one of those "if you blink, you'll miss it" shows, since I think even some fans of the original may not even remember there was an updated series. I won't call this a re-boot because it's actually a de-facto "sequel" to the original series. Nice continuity with the original by having Peter Graves reprise his role as Jim Phelps, and having Grant Collier as one of the new characters. In the context of the show, Grant was Barney Collier's son…and was played by Phil Morris, who was Greg Morris' son in real life.

    I remember seeing this on TV in my late teens, and really enjoying it; at that point, I hadn't seen much of the original show – so was happy to at least be able to watch a newer version with updated tech. (as of the late '80's, of course). Also, I did find the stories & acting to be well-done.

    The only complaint(s) I had/have with the newer series is that, as stated above, the PQ on the DVD's is garbage. It suffers the same fate as a lot of '80's shows that were transferred to tape, unfortunately. It's ironic that the original M:I DVD's have much better PQ than the much later show.

  23. I found that the newer version of the show in the late 80s really dumbed down the show for modern audiences. Instead of putting the plans into place and letting the viewers figure out what the team was doing, they would have to go through a detailed explanation of the plan so that the idiot crowd could understand it.

    As we all know, the IMF is really a pseudonym for the CIA. A show celebrating the interference of our government in the affairs of sovereign nations. Too bad they never showed how the CIA got involved in our own government's affairs.

  24. Neil Brock

    I found that the newer version of the show in the late 80s really dumbed down the show for modern audiences. Instead of putting the plans into place and letting the viewers figure out what the team was doing, they would have to go through a detailed explanation of the plan so that the idiot crowd could understand it.

    It's been almost a decade since I've re-watched the 1988-1990 M:I series. However, you're right – I do seem to remember that the show had more exposition than the original version.

    That being said, I still felt that this re-booted series was fantastic. Not nearly as great as the original (of course), but still interesting & well-done. And, I would definitely like to see this remastered to HD – though I think this is probably impossible at this point.

  25. The Drifter

    It's been almost a decade since I've re-watched the 1988-1990 M:I series. However, you're right – I do seem to remember that the show had more exposition than the original version.

    The original series had already started to dumb it down by season 5. Season's 6 and 7 even went so far as to set up the story with "The Syndicate" before Jim Phelps received his mission. The audience had already seen the target of the IMF and the whole backstory, making the tape scene superfluous. You now had two scenes to figure out the plot. To me, the 88' series was better than many of the the stories in the 70's.

    The Drifter

    Nice continuity with the original by having Peter Graves reprise his role as Jim Phelps, and having Grant Collier as one of the new characters.

    Don't forget that Lynda Day George and Greg Morris appeared as their characters Casey and Barney on the 88' show. And Bob Johnson once again provided the voice giving the IMF their mission every week.

  26. "Dumbing down" was basically Bruce Lansbury's contribution to Mission. Instead of the secret crusaders against international injustice that the IMF were durring Stanley Kalis's and Paul Playdon's runs, Lansbury felt the IMF should be more focused on domestic issues. IE: Gangster of the Week represented by the anonymous Syndicate.

  27. Part of that was budget cutting. Trying to show a new foreign country every week was expensive, and they'd used the Paramount lot over and over again already.

    I preferred the earlier seasons.

    The 88-89 series used Australian locations giving the show a fresher look, even if it was "dumbed down" a bit.

  28. Harry-N

    Part of that was budget cutting. Trying to show a new foreign country every week was expensive, and they'd used the Paramount lot over and over again already.

    I preferred the earlier seasons.

    The 88-89 series used Australian locations giving the show a fresher look, even if it was "dumbed down" a bit.

    Yes, I also preferred the earlier seasons of the original M:I, but I understand that budgetary reasons dictated that the later seasons had to be set in the U.S. And, as I said earlier – I did like the whole series, even the later seasons. Any episode of the original M:I (either an earlier season or a later one) was better than most other TV shows out there – i.e. any shows that came out before, during, or after the original series' run.

    Yes, the '88-'90 series was filmed in Australia to cut costs, and I found this setting visually interesting & unique. I also felt it made the show stand out more (for the better) than it would have if it had been filmed in the U.S./Canada.

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