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  • "Mission : impossible" is the most complex espionage series ever conceived. What makes this show so unique ? It is its storyline, its characters, its visual style and its music : a real trade mark. What I like the most is first the ritual : the tape, the dossier and the apartment briefing, then the fast-paced clips as credits, the character of Martin Landau with his masks and gimmicks, the cinematography (very quick cuts, extreme close ups as inserts, the use of special lenses, pan-and-tilt shots, upside-down camera shots, hand-held camera shots, optical zoom shots as dramatic effects), the skillful montage, and finally, the music and its various themes. The show is an impeccable and Machiavellian play. Every details are planned in advance to fool and get rid of the enemy. Each scheming is tight and shocking. I like the use of the time warp concept in "Operation Rogosh" and the role of Fritz Weaver as the paranoid Soviet Union spy trapped in a fake Russian prison which is in California. I like the tension and the suspense created by silent actions. Anyway, the whole show is about simulacrum. The devious methods of the IMF agents are always delightful and clever. Don't miss the best episodes : "The mind of Stephan Miklos", "Live bait" and "The interrogator". This tape will self-destruct in five seconds, good luck. !
  • I have got to hand it to the people behind the original Mission Impossible series. Their pilot episode was bound to hook people. Mission Impossible was a winner from the start.

    The Impossible Missions Force were a team of agents with no emotional attachments who went on secret missions usually against organized crime or rogue nations. They did not go in and use guns or fists to fight a problem-the name of the game was manipulation, deception, trickery, fraud, you name it. The agents were in fact anti-heroes who stooped to the level of the bad guys themselves. But I still loved them for it.

    It would be unfair to reveal any of the intricate details of the plots for the series but let's just say they were clever. Mission Impossible was a show that required a viewer's full attention-you simply couldn't switch onto an episode halfway through and expect to know what's going on. Mission Impossible was clever throughout it's entire run. The IMF always had a plan which had to be strictly adhered to for it to be a success. They used every mean trick in the book to bring the bad guys down and they always slipped away at the end without the bad guys ever finding out who they were. In fact, quite a few episodes involved the bad guys falling out with each other after believing the other one was out to get him when in fact it was the IMF who had set it all up.

    A clever show indeed-highly recommended.
  • One of my fondest memories of TV viewing in the late 60's and 70's, was the weekly hour of tension which Mission Impossible provided. There was the initial bewilderment of trying to work out how on earth the brief flashes of peculiar devices and tension-ridden confrontations could possibly be woven into a coherent plot. Next, there were the wonderfully mundane locations in which Peter Graves would retrieve the briefing materials and the tape which invariably dissolved in a cloud of smoke.

    After all the introduction, the remaining fifty minutes was sometimes an anti-climax. More often, it was very satisfying to see the initial vignettes fitted jigsaw-pattern into the plot. Perhaps towards the very end of the series, the plots became a little stilted or physically impossible; but invariably entertaining.

    Like most fans of the original series, I found the over-hyped film of the same name to be an facile and shallow work with no redeeming features. I would die happy seeing a film in which Martin Landau, Peter Graves, Greg Morris et al. emerge creaking from retirement to save the day, and as they so often did, drive off leaving thwarted villains to turn on each other.
  • I fondly remember back in the late sixties and early seventies anxiously awaiting and then enjoying each episode of "Mission: Impossible", from the opening montage to the final credits. As far as I know, no other show has (before or since) come up with anything as clever as the opening montage, where certain clips from that week's episode were shown as the theme song played, before the showing of the pictures of the stars of the show. It was always fun for me to try to pick out the scenes as the show progressed (they always looked more dramatic in the montage than they did in the actual episode). The shows were always well written and the cast did an excellent job of portraying a crew that were all good at their jobs and that even enjoyed their jobs, dangerous though they were.

    And the music! Lalo Schifrin's music was excellent!
  • I grew up watching this series and enjoyed it throughout its run. It was, of course, completely outrageous, but that was what made it fun. In the first years of the show, the MI team concentrated on espionage in foreign countries; later, they turned to the USA.

    Although I loved Peter Graves in the show, I think Steven Hill brought an air of mystery to his character. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the original cast of Hill, Landau, Bain, Morris, and Lupus. Bain was ahead of her time, an older woman playing a glamor girl. Lupus, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a few years ago, played a character of few words - in fact, people used to have contests counting his lines. He was quoted as saying if he ended up in one more tight space with Greg Morris, he was going to wind up engaged! This was a show where the cast changes seemed to work pretty well, Graves, Leonard Nimoy, and Linda Day George especially.

    I have so many favorite episodes. One was Cinnamon's involvement with Eric Braedon in the days when he was Hans Gundegast, the psychic one about the bees, the William Shatner back in time episode, the episode with Robert Conrad - there were so many. Later on in the show, the missions would go wrong and Graves or one of the others would have to improvise - that was great.

    As far as I'm concerned, the movies had nothing to do with this show. Very disappointing what they did with the Jim Phelps character. He was furious, and I don't blame him. Some things are sacred!
  • I am 57 years old. I purchased the season one DVD set of MI when it came out and have season 2 ordered upon release. After all these years, MI is just as great as I remember it. I have purchased other TV series I enjoyed as a kid, but upon watching them, although they brought back wonderful memories, I did not experience the same excitement I felt 40 years ago.

    Not so with Mission Impossible. Every episode is just as exciting as I remembered it. Even my grown children, who grew up in the "action every second" generation, love this series. It is indeed a "thinking person's" series.

    How are they going to trick the villain? How will they break the person out of prison? How does Dan Briggs/Jim Phelps out think their counter part from the enemy side? This show was about using your brains, not your brawn.

    And which red blooded teen wasn't in love with Barbara Bain? Like many young men, I developed a huge crush on her.

    When I retire, I know I'll be watching this series over and over many times. I am already doing that now.

    If you haven't tried this series, try it. You will enjoy it!
  • Classic televison, which was inspired by Jules Dassin's spoof of his own French masterpiece, Rififi, from the mid 1960s. One of its best elements were the famous guest stars that appeared in the show, which added more interest to the already interesting storylines. Unlike the film adaptations, Mission:Impossible(1966) is an excellent crafted tv show that was ahead of its time in some areas of special effects. My favorite actors from the show were Leonard Nimoy, Martin Landau, and Peter Graves.
  • M:I is probably my favorite tv show; at least the only one I will consistantly watch reruns of. I never play the Hill versus Graves game as each actor brought unique characteristics to the show. The same with Martin Landau as Rollin Hand and Leonard Nimoy as Paris. I will say that though Linda Day George and Lesley Anne Warren are good actresses, they never measured up to Barbara Bain for talent and sheer class. I think my favorite episodes are "A Cube of Sugar", "The Seal" (with the cat as an integral part of the plan, "The Heir Apparent" and "The Mind of Stefan Miklos". It's very hard to pick favorites though, because each episode has its' own quirks and charms.

    What made M:I stand out is that it depended not on gimmicks and special effects but on the talent and believability of the actors. The props and makeup were also believable. I think that's why the movies don't measure up to the original series. Add in the ridiculous plot line that Jim Phelps could ever be the bad guy and they've completely lost it. The second movie would have been alright if it hadn't been a Mission: Impossible knock-off. The writers and producers forgot that there was an M:I team, not a single player.

    All in all, Mission: Impossible set the standard for all other series of this sort, and few have come close to the bar, and none have surpassed it.
  • Not counting Lucy's own I Love Lucy, Desilu had the 2 best shows of the 60's "Mission" & "Star Trek". Both shows in their own style kept you coming back for more each week. When Lucille Ball sold Desilu to Paramount in the 60's there could not have been anyone in the Paramount board room who could have envisioned the amount of money they would make from these 2 TV icons. Certainly the steal of the century for Paramount. Now if Paramount would only release "Mission" on DVD, that would make it complete. And as an aside to the reviewer who stated that Greg Morris was the only actor to be on the show from start to end, Peter Lupus was also on from start to end.
  • Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to forget what Tom Cruise and John Woo made of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE with their movies and watch this intelligent and entertaining TV series instead. It's (even after more than 30 years) the best show of its kind. The stories are complex, very exciting and the music score... Well, who doesn't love that wonderful theme written by Lalo Schifrin. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim!
  • Dan Briggs20 January 2001
    I used to think Star Trek:TOS was the best show ever made, but I now think M:I is. No other show makes me Think like M:I does. Briggs, Phelps, Hand, Carter, Armitage and the ever present Collier were the back bone of the show, among others. Episodes such as "Operation Rogosh", " The Photographer", " The Exchange", "The Town" and " The Carriers" are some of the best written in TV history. Subtle subversion and the art of the con are two of the trademarks of this explosive series that proved that spies need not be Maxwell Smart, James Bond or John Steed to be effective; Although each is in their own way.I think of M:I as a thinking man's " Gaslight". If you think TV shows are written for morons, Watch "The Mind Of Stephan Miklos" and get back to me if you can understand the plot.
  • The original Mission Impossible was covert operations with class and saddle suspense. The writing, directing, and acting where nothing less that outstanding. Tom Cruise could and should take lesions from the original cast and crew.

    Bang-bang, shoot them up action it wasn't. The series showed the "slip in- manipulate, and slip out. JOB DONE role of special covert operations teams and there members, BUT of course our government would never have special covert operations teams like the I.M.F. would they after all the government disavows any knowledge of there actions.

    The show took place in the middle of the cold war that was actually heating up at the time and showed how the United States gained access to foreign intelligence.

    The technology is vintage late 1960s to early 1970s and those of us who can still remember that time will like take pleasure in seeing items that are only a memory now.
  • I have fond memories as a child of desperately awaited another re-run on Mission: Impossible to fill my Summer days. While a few episodes were little on the long-winded side, most of them were cleverly constructed mysteries. The actors always had to come up with new accents, characters, and mannerisms for each of their undercover roles, which added immense variety to the show. If the US can lay claim to something "James Bondian" it is indeed M:I. Lots of creative ideas and technique found their way into this show and I hope the entire series sees DVD release. However, I'm not some fanboy who can't stand change. I personally felt the movie was nowhere near as bad as the majority of reviews did. The plot kinda mirrored the complexity of the TV show, although making Jim Phelps a villain was a strange twist. Regardless, the TV series was a magnificent combination of good writing and excellent actors. You'll never see anything like this again witht he current state of network TV "pretty boy" pap. The attempt at ressurecting the series in the 80's was a bad idea, though. The new cast and "MacGuyver" style plots showed how the concept just didn't hold up to writers trying to spin it into modern times to furiously.
  • Oh how i remember as a kid in the 60s and 70s on Sunday nights for 9 pm to come so i could post myself in front of the TV and get ready for the opening sequence of "Mission: Impossible" --- the quavering flute as the lit match ignites the wick and then the music gradually increases in tempo as the sequences of the show are montaged, and then the actors are shown....i literally lived and breathed "Mission: Impossible" -- i loved the plots of the stories and how the IMF team maneuvered amongst the villains, sometimes pitting them one against the other, the master of disguise Rollin Hand (played by Martin Landau), the femme fatale of Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain and Landau's wife in real life), the electronic genius of Barney Collier (Greg Morris -- who to me was SO fine!), the calm, levelheaded, don't-let-em-see-you-sweat Jim Phelps (Peter Graves, James Arness'["Gunsmoke"] brother) and Peter Lupus (Willy) these guys worked in perfect harmony with each other to outwit the villains and it was such a high for me to see them all reunite in an odd location getting in the IMF truck and speed off into the sunset...

    1995 (a good 36 years later)...Tom Cruise plays in the movie version of "Mission: Impossible"....WHY? if anyone who is old enough to know about the MI series, the IMF were all a part of a TEAM, each person contributing to the success of the mission...yet "Mr Scientology-who-thinks-psychiatry-isn't-a-science-Tom Cruise" goes it alone and i have read here on the IMDb message boards that Greg Morris (one of the original MI actors) walked off the MI movie set saying to wit "this is a disgrace" --- i agree. and then to have the nerve to follow up with "Mission: Impossible 2"????? wtf? both were duds and should have self-destructed too! "your mission -- should you decide to accept it --- is to pray a box set of the original series can be purchased somewhere and never watch the movie versions of this classic espionage series ever again... if after viewing the classic series any viewer becomes happy and/or highly interested, the Secretary will disavow any of your actions...and Tom Cruise should self-destruct within ten seconds.....good luck...."
  • I could watch this show 24hrs a day!!! All of the episodes were well done(168). Mission Impossible was such a great show to watch, it was so full of action & suspense, it kept me glued to my couch. Peter Graves was excellent in the role of Jim Phelps, along with the other cast members over the 7seasons that it ran. The late Greg Morris who played Barney was the only cast member to be in all 7seasons. (Graves was in 6) Greg Morris walked out of the Mission Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise after the first 40mins calling it Blasphemy!!! I agree with you Greg, it was a real disapointment to show. Why make Jim Phelps the bad guy? I was glad that 6 laser discs were released from the show. Now that DVD is here I hope that all of the shows will come out soon on this great format. Mission Impossible is the best show Ever!!
  • To all the "younguns" out there, please take note: this show has NOTHING to do with the Tom Cruise movies! This was a thinking man's show--complete with intricate plots, action and decent acting. The movies, in contrast, are designed for dumb people--people who don't care that the action and stunts make no sense or don't fit into the general plot. And, people who don't mind that the hero from the TV series is now the villain! Avoid the movies like the plague and seek out the series! They are on video but have not been shown on TV for quite a long time. Perhaps Paramount Studios is keeping them under wraps, as they would show up the recent crap they have packaged as "Mission: Impossible".

    Now on to the show. The quality of the programs is not uniform. Early on, the baddies were mostly communist nations with funny made up names- -and the episodes were amazing. Later, however, the network pushed the folks at Paramount to make shows that were less anti-Soviet and instead they began making episodes involving criminals...which usually were poor compared to the older ones. Still, a poor "Mission: Impossible" is still enjoyable!
  • The recent films starring Tom Cruise are in clear and present violation of the series canon. According to the canon, the mission is what matters most; all the films apparently make it seem that one member of the team is the real focus. That was not the way it was in the series when the networks originally transmitted it; Cruise has no business attempting to make it seem as though that should be the way it should be in any of the films. It is nothing more than an ugly reflection of his egotism that he and his conspiratrix, Paula Wagner, have deliberately made all the films center around him and his activities rather than around the missions. The series was deliberately intended NOT to make major celebrities of any of its cast members; the films have done so too often.

    Call for the series to be released to home video, but avoid, and keep everyone else away from, the films at all costs.

    --Parker Gabriel
  • Growing up in the 60s and 70s makes me feel rather smug about certain things. I really DO think I live in the best times for a lot of things. Mission: Impossible was one of those things.

    How many kids watched this and dreamed of participating in one of these IMF missions when we grew up! They were so were planned. No stone in any possible angle was left unturned. Of course, as a kid, we didn't realize that these were carefully scripted to delight the most complicated recesses of our minds! The IMF teams may have changed a bit through the years, but the utter fascination with their ploys never let up.

    Of course, at the center of this was the impossibly wonderful LALO SCHIFRIN theme! Ever since I can remember high school bands have kept this in their repertoire.

    It really is kind of sad that the whole IMF thing transformed itself into the Tom Cruise vehicle it has. Sure, it's an homage of sorts. But I challenge any of you to compare the original with the Cruise aberrations (sorry, I meant "franchises"....) One of the finer things about this series was the utter prestige of the guest list who visited us in our homes weekly. Where are there any actors like these nowadays? I dare say they are nowhere. Actors of this caliber are no longer sought after. They can hardly make a living while abominations like Tom Cruise wallow in the wild excesses of the most unimaginable luxuries.

    Why do I have anything against Tom Cruise? Probably like everyone else I am rather tired of the guy and his bombastic publicity machine or is it machines? He also practically runs the whole phony cult nowadays doesn't he? Anyway, enough of my rants!

    M:I (1966) remains to this day one of the most engaging, intelligent programs every conceived and produced.

    The new DVD release is a wonderful, welcome trip back into that fascinating world of espionage and international Cold War politics. I cannot wait for the entire run to be released!
  • A great series full of original, inspired ideas. Recite "This tape will self-destruct etc..." and instantly everybody will be able to tell you where that line came from. Usually at the end of each episode you got to enjoy the bad guys realization that he has been out-done by the skillful planning of the I.M.F team. Not surprising that this series was so good since it came at a time when Herb Solow at Desilu studios had a big hand in production affairs..his other other responsibility was another legendary series ...Star Trek. The new film version "starring?" Tom Cruise was a huge disappointment. I hear that original series cast member Greg Morris called the new film "blasphemy". Right on Greg !! I wish Greg that it was possible to turn back time and have you and Peter, Martin, Barbara, Leonard and all , here to give us more truly great entertainment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mission: Impossible is a television series that was created and initially produced by Bruce Geller. It chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). In the first season, the team is led by Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill; Jim Phelps, played by Peter Graves, takes charge for the remaining seasons.The other casts includes Barbara Bain,Barbara Anderson,Greg Morris,Peter Lupus,Martin Landau,Leonard Nimoy,Lesley Ann Warren,Sam Elliott and Lynda Day George.A hallmark of the series shows Briggs or Phelps receiving his instructions on a recording that then self-destructs, followed by the theme music composed by Lalo Schifrin.The series aired on the CBS network from September 1966 to March 1973.

    The series follows the exploits of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a small team of secret agents used for covert missions against dictators, evil organizations and (primarily in later episodes) crime lords. On occasion, the IMF also mounts unsanctioned, private missions on behalf of its members.The identities of the organization that oversees the IMF and the government it works for are never revealed. Only rare cryptic bits of information are ever provided during the life of the series, such as in the third season mission "Nicole", where the IMF leader states that his instructions come from "Division Seven"

    The TV show was a classic and it should have lasted longer than 7 season had it maintained its format of covert missions against dictators and evil organizations in foreign countries.But instead in the later seasons,it started to focus on gangsters and crime organization.This made the IMF just a regular police team which diminished the show somehow.But nevertheless,it will be one show that will be missed and it is just sad that even the revival of the TV series and Tom Cruise's film does not live up to it despite of the show being dated in terms of the technology used by the IMF.In summary,the original remains the best.
  • While not my favorite spy series from the 1960s and early 1970s, Mission Impossible is certainly on the Top Ten list. Ranking a bit below I Spy, The Saint, Danger Man, and The Persuaders, MI nonetheless deserves a place at the table, especially the Bain/Landau episodes. Like all the great spy/thriller dramas from the 1960s, MI excelled with its storyline. The producers, writers, and directors knew the value of constantly advancing the story, a skill in short supply for current TV fare, as anyone who has watched 24 over the past few seasons can testify. Mix in an acting ensemble capable of top level performances, instead of cartoon caricatures, and you had, in MI, a rare and wonderful treat for TV.

    Two other things, however, deserve mention. First, I personally found the first year with Steven Hill to be my favorite. While I liked the Peter Graves episodes, somehow, he will always be "the new guy" in my book. Maybe it's because the entire MI experience is impressed on my memory by context. Namely, I remember how during that first season, following the weekly visit my parents took to see my grandparents, my father would then race back across town just in time for us all to tune in. I seem to remember that was on Saturdays--early. We never had that experience with subsequent years, as, I believe, MI moved to late Sundays in 1967.

    Second, there is the issue of the set design and costuming. Granted, this is only something I've become sensitive too since the initial run of the series back in the 1960s. But the studio shoots, the sometimes too artificial set designs, and the generic uniforms used for East bloc guards and soldiers cause the series to suffer a bit, especially in comparison to the exotic locations of the other great American spy drama from the Sixties, I Spy.

    Finally, about Bain and Landau. There was a tremendous amount of buzz about this couple while the series aired. Barbara Bain, in particular, exemplified an allure that is timeless. What a disappointment, then, when, after leaving MI, they finally re-appeared together on TV in the dreadful Space: 1999. Both had faded as stars. But worse, both let their reputations suffer by placing themselves under the direction of one of the worst schlock profiteers in TV at the time, Gerry Anderson. Thus, what a joy it is to see them both on DVD editions of Mission Impossible, in their prime, when it seemed they would conquer television as thoroughly as any couple in its, then, relatively short history.
  • I have watched Mission Impossible since I was a child. I used to watch it with my parents and had no idea what was going on. As an adult, when I watch the reruns, I regret that we no longer have such shows on television. Mission demanded the audience's full attention, and that attracted people with some intellect. The manipulation, teamwork, ingenuity were all central to the show. You never heard any of them nag, never talked about their personal life, or need to provided eye candy such as violence; explosives and other visual but empty effects to keep the audience glued to the screen. The agents were rarely vulnerable, weak and always in control (most of the time). More importantly, all of them were always professional. How many cop shows do you see like that today? Mission used skill. It forced the audience to be patient. It assumed that the viewer does not have ADHD and can patiently watch a well written movie. A broader question arises when viewing the show.... has the viewing audience gotten dumber, or are networks insulting our intelligence by feeding us TV junk food; fast, flashy, cookie cutter junk?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have complained so bitterly in other IMDb venues about the recent Tom Cruise film versions of this franchise, I thought it was time to add my comments about the REAL "Mission: Impossible." Everyone knows the premise of the show, or they wouldn't be reading this, so I won't re-hash the details. After nearly forty years, I can vividly remember sitting in my living room at 7:30 on a Saturday night in September of 1966, by chance watching the local CBS affiliate. I had no idea what to expect when I saw a disembodied hand, holding a match, light a fast-burning fuse. What followed was a collage of previews for the coming sixty-minute adventure. So superb was the plotting, dialog, and characterization, I was hooked for the next seven years! This series was such an intellectual exercise, it was like watching a fast-paced chess match, if you can imagine such a thing. Three of my favorite episodes come immediately to mind. "The Mind Of Stefan Miklos" was Peter Graves' personal favorite, and mine. It was the the true epitome of this series. To the uninitiated, it may have appeared confusing, but this was quality television. Unlike so many current television shows and movies, this episode, and the entire series, credited viewers with having a brain. If you were paying attention, you could actually follow the supremely intricate plotting. Next was "The Glass Cage" with guest villain Lloyd Bochner as the warden of a high-tech Iron Curtain prison. IMF scammed Bochner's character into releasing a high-profile prisoner after convincingly planting false evidence of mistaken identity. Finally, there was "Doomsday" with Alf Kjellin as the incumbent "baddie" auctioning off a stolen atomic weapon to the highest bidder. IMF cleverly rendered the weapon inert just as the Kjellin was being paid for his now-useless goods. I can name at least five other episodes that are, far and above, superior to the three big-screen versions recently released. Perhaps Paramount is listening. For the next big-screen venture, I suggest a retro-cold-war plot set in the 1950's or 1960's when IMF was first formed, tied to contemporary headlines like the Suez Crisis, Berlin Wall, or Cuban Missile Crisis complete with Peter Graves or Martin Landau look-alike actors. Any others suggestions out there?
  • As someone pointed out, this was one of the few dramatic series that didn't rely on violence or gun play. The main hook was the fact that the crew often used very elaborate plans to bring either a dictatorship or a mob boss to justice. Though I never really saw any of show's from the first season when Steven Hill was the lead, Peter Graves will always be the consummate leader of the Impossible Missions Force. Also, the supporting cast always had a great chemistry and when one member left the producers always made sure to find someone that was just the right fit. This show will always go down as probably the greatest spy series in the history of television.
  • This was a groundbreaking series, brilliantly crafted, written and acted. Nowhere does it clunk along uncomfortably and after 40 years it's still a sharp, clever watch. I'm sorry they were allowed to call the Tom Cruise movies after it, because they have nothing to do with the original series and shouldn't be allowed to ride on the back of it. This was truly the birth of edge-of-the-chair television! Steven Hill was excellent as Dan Briggs in the first series, but I'm given to understand could not adjust his religious beliefs to successfully accommodate filming schedules, and Peter Graves, as his replacement, has gone on to be the famous face of the series. The team of Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris and Peter Lupus were, for my money, the best, and to them should go the honours for creating such a memorable programme.
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