418 of 468 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
When Mission: Impossible, the movie came out, I was expecting a big studio update of the classic TV show. What I got was yet another Tom Cruise star vehicle where he preens and postures and seizes the spotlight at the expense of everyone else in the film. To say I was disappointed is an understatment -- I was incensed! The IMF team killed off? Jim Phelps a bad guy? You've got to be kidding me! The TV series' concept of an elite covert operations team working together to save the United States from enemies, both foreign and domestic, was bastardized so Tom Cruise could flash his 1000 watt smile and save the day all by himself. I was so angry, I vowed to never see the film again or any possible sequels. It's a vow I've kept to this day and will continue to keep.
I'm sure that Mr. Cruise and his represtatives had something to do with the delay in releasing the original series on DVD. Thankfully, now that Paramount has shown old Tom the door, we can now see the series that started it all. Peter Graves' Jim Phelps is missing from the first season (Steven Hill of Law and Order plays Dan Briggs, the leader of the IMF during the first season). But Martin Landau as Rollin Hand, Barbara Bain as Cinnamon Carter, Greg Morris as Barney Collier and Peter Lupus as Willy Armitage are all present. Unlike most of the spy stories from the 1960's (and unlike the Tom Cruise film series), Mission:Impossible, the TV series, took a more cerebral approach to its stories. There's no James Bond in these stories -- just a team of agents who covertly depose all types of dictators, terrorists and traitors without leaving any evidence of their involvement. Just as Columbo turned the TV detective genre on its ear so did Mission:Impossible turn the spy genre on its ear.
Here's hoping that those who only know Mission:Impossible from the films have a look for themselves. I daresay they'll realize that the TV series is vastly superior to the film series and that the complete absence of Tom Cruise is a very, very good thing.
118 of 129 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
What can be said about this show except release of the series on dvd is overly long overdue. It is true that this volume will take many by surprise since Peter Graves as Jim Phelps is not a character. Look for Steven Hill, who many may remember from Law and Order a few seasons ago. The show improved with age but this is still to good to pass. Enjoy this show if you watched in the day or if you were not around when it was on. Look for lots of great guest stars, but watch for soon tightly wound suspenseful plots. This is the original and still best.
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2006
I have been waiting for years for this series to come out on DVD. This show was to secret agents what CSI is to crime drama and House is to medical mystery. Granted, the plots are a lot more fantastic than what you might see today; but stylistically, there are vague similarities, such as storylines that are plot-driven as opposed to character driven. You know very little about the personal lives of the members of the IMF team, save that they are not above vicious and sometimes even brutal tactics to bring down their foes -- so much so that the viewing audience often felt sorry for the villain of the week because the IMF messed them over so badly. Granted, the dialogue is a bit stagy, but the series is still years ahead of its time. A word of warning to those expecting Peter Graves in this collection: His character, Jim Phelps, did not appear until the second season, brought in to replace first season lead Steven Hill; but since this is a plot driven show, chances are, you won't miss Phelps. Martin Landau as Rollin Hand more than makes up for his absence. Besides, the first season episodes are some of the best of the entire run. And the subject matter has suddenly become topical and current with all the world unrest today. Sometimes it's hard to believe the show is a product of the sixties. In the pilot episode, for example, the IMF has to stop an "unfriendly foreign power" from attaining a nuclear weapon(sound familiar?)and a dictator who bears an eerie passing appearance to Saddam Hussein (actually Martin Landau in heavy makeup). One wishes there were a real IMF today . . . P.S. Ethan Hunt doesn't appear ANYWHERE! And for those of you who have only been exposed to the Tom Cruise fare, I urge you to give the original series a try. Please, see what the first and the best Mission: Impossible is all about.
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Those of you somewhat familiar with this classic television series may note that the title of this review is different than they remember. That is because, in this, the first season, the head of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) was played by Steven Hill in the role of Dan Briggs, whereas in all the subsequent seasons, Peter Graves as Jim Phelps was the leader. Hill gives a different flavor to the role, less physical but more cerebral.
This first season is also different than the following ones because like most series, the show was finding its bearings. Whereas most adventure shows in the 1960's were expected to have a generous helping of car chases, fist fights and gun shootouts, MI creator Bruce Geller wanted a different type of show, one that is plot oriented (as opposed to "action oriented" or "character oriented") and which requires the viewer to pay attention and think as several different threads of the story which are occurring simultaneously are drawn together at the end. Thus, we see in the first season some episodes do have the car chases and shootouts, and we do see some banter between the characters, but these things were quickly phased out as the show settled into its familiar, unique format that lasted seven seasons, as the entire program focuses on the IMF's elaborate
plans to stop some evildoer.
My favorite episodes from this season are "Operation Rogosz" and "The Frame". The first is a story unfortunately quite relevant to today, in which an international terrorist tries to release lethal bacteriological agents into the Los Angeles water supply. The other is about a plan by the IMF to eliminate a powerful Mafia boss (note how the word "mafia" is never used for
"political correctness" reasons, but rather "the Syndicate" or "organized crime") by making it seem that he was cheating on his partners in crime. Neither of these episodes have any "action" of the type I described above, but they are both riveting with outstanding acting and directing (director Leonard J Horn was particularly effective in "Operation Rogosz") and intricate stories.
I do have some reservations about certain premises of the show, for example, although I have no expectation about the stories being "realistic", I do find situations where an IMF team member (usually Rollin Hand played by Martin Landau) impersonates somebody by wearing a mask looking like that person to be beyond the realm of credibility. Also, whereas in some episodes, the IMF is able to overthow dictatorial goverments, stop or prevent wars and the such, and so when their entire weight is used to stop one man (as in "The Frame") it sort of makes you feel sorry for the poor guy since he doesn't stand a chance against them (in later seasons, as a result of the unpopularity of America's war in Vietnam, it became "politically incorrect" for the IMF to interfere in foreign countries so most of the stories became modified forms of the IMF removing some Mafia figure and this became stale after a while).
This show has become a classic and will be remembered far into the future, just as Sherlock Holmes has. I hope more seasons will be brought out in the future on DVD.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2006
To this day, no TV series has demanded as much attention from the viewer. Instead of dumbing us down, this show insisted that we heighten our senses. The basic structure of a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE episode as they are now remembered was still forming in the first season with various plot styles being tested. This super-sophisticated series got better and better throughout the second and third seasons, but expect great things from this daring, ground-breaking, successful, and popular first year. One reviewer has written that the episodes seem dated with 1960's-style TV production. On the contrary, these "mini motion pictures" pushed television filming to new heights of artistic and technical sophistication. The frequent rapid-fire cutting/editing resulted in most episodes containing double the number of shots found in any other TV series episodes. The intricate plots cannot be followed by those numbed by today's "think-it-for-you" method of storytelling. The meaning of certain events as they occur throughout the episodes will be lost to "viewers" who don't relish the requirement of complete concentration. These factors are a large part of what makes MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE great. The show is a rare opportunity to be more deeply involved in your entertainment than you probably ever have before.
What makes this DVD set all the more a discovered holy grail is that the picture and sound quality are absolutely superb. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE could never have looked this good, even when it was new in the sixties. And you have the option of listening in original mono or remastered 5.1 stereo! Wow, that opening music is awesome, being one of the greatest of all TV themes. Another reviewer has complained about the lack of bonuses in the set. The episodes ARE the features. They were and still are a wonderful bonus gift in this world of entertainment sameness. Sure, no series is more deserving of study and documentation as this one, but the episodes stand alone as supreme quality product. Extras would be greatly appreciated, but are not necessary, as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE on DVD is indeed an awesome, super-cool, long-awaited, much anticipated revealing of a long-lost holy grail.
Good luck viewer...
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2006
I whole heartedly agree with Michael K. Beusch's review. There are only two TV shows I made efforts to record on VCR to watch later: Mission Impossible and America's Funniest Home Videos.
The movie Mission Impossible was a major let down, I really really disliked it and gave the disk away; no place for it in my collection. Where was the team work? Where was the awesome plot? Why did it seem the movie was just an excuse to make one person look cool?
Why did it take so long for this awesome TV show to be released on DVD? It should have been one of the first! I can't believe all the junk TV shows that have been compiled on DVD but no MI!
The TV series was about teamwork, and, one of the best methods for "winning": using the enemies weaknesses against them. This strategy seems totally lost today; today it's just more "might makes right"...use bigger bombs and guns than the bad guys, no effort to understand the bad guys' perspectives and what makes them tick. But I guess I should add that I'm not much of a movie goer or TV watcher any more...go Internet! Too many TV shows today are mainly about close-ups on people's faces, boring.
I found very few holes in the plots that seemed illogical, I admit that the disguises or vocal impersonations were sometimes "too real" but maybe I could overlook it due to when I grew up. I only saw the shows as re-runs decades later, and I think we all know (or at least pretend to know) how much technology, surgery, etc... has advanced since the 1960's, as well as the fact impersonations (via comedy) are much more prevalent these days.
I never felt sorry for the "bad guys", since the show's authors usually made it clear they were up to no good, doing things to others they wouldn't want done to themselves, and like I said, the Mission Impossible team usually used the bad guy's weaknesses against him, sometimes directly, sometimes via his cronies. So they were just accelerating his downfall.
It's been too many years since I dusted off a VHS tape to watch a show, but I HUGELY look forward to collecting/watching every show they made. I just hope they release all of them and not a chopped up "best of", like some music band trying to stretch the one good album they made across 5 or 6 "greatest hits" albums. I'm not sure I've seen every episode, but I never saw one I didn't like.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
You can now toss out any & all VHS and laserdisc recordings of this -- Paramount has done the DVDs of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE absolutely right!
They didn't exaggerate when they said the picture and sound would be "enhanced." It is! Absolutely NO edits, NO time-compression ... just a beautiful set. Nice artwork, too.
It appears this set is being under-marketed (none of my local retailers is advertising it, and some aren't even carrying it.) If you're on the fence about buying this, trust me: it doesn't disappoint.
One more thing: Did I mention how good the episodes themselves are? It's fascinating to see Steven Hill have either a large role, a smaller role, or (in one episode) not appear at all.
Bring on the next six seasons!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2006
Yes!!I was extremely excited when I saw that the MI tv series was finally going to be released on dvd.I've been waiting for a long time for them to come out.Although,I don't really remember the episodes that I used to watch back in the day,I can only say that it was a well thought out show,with great plots and stories.For those people who never saw the tv series,they will enjoy it today as much as us "older people" enjoyed watching it many years ago.I think that they will find it to be very entertaining.The tv series was way ahead of its time.Not like the early James Bond movies versus the more up to date movies with all of the stunts and special fx.I think the tv show is still relevant today.The show had excellent writing.The MI movies captured very little of the original plot structure of the tv series,except for the opening scene of the first movie.that scene was what the tv series was all about,a lot of deception going on.I will buy every one of the sets as soon as they are released.Thank you paramount.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I had just gotten out of the service in the fall of 1966 and was living in Los Angeles. I was 23. I went to a friend's house to "hang" and we saw the second episode, "Operation Rogosh" on TV. I was hooked! I got glued to my TV every week. So when Amazon had this set available I bought it and was not disappointed. I keep watching the episodes over and over, and I'm 63 now! The quality is excellent, and the content has more twists and turns than a corkscrew. This, along with the original Star Trek, shows what the TV medium is really capable of. My mom told me that she had to stop watching MI because she was always at the edge of her seat and it made her "nervous"! The movies with Tom Cruise are pale imitations. This is more clever and intellectual and doesn't have to use explosive special effects to entertain. The acting is excellent; Steven Hill (Dan Briggs) went on to play Adam Schiff in "Law and Order" many years later. Do yourself a favor. Buy the set. Highly recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2007
My dad loved MI so I grew up watching the re-runs on tv. I just thought all the gadgets were cool. Gradually I appreciated the intricacies of their plans. I too was disappointed when the movies came out. Sure they were nifty action movies and I did enjoy them, but as others have pointed out it wasn't a team, it was a solo project for Tom Cruise. It simply wasn't Mission: Impossible.
I was thrilled when I saw that the tv show was coming out on dvd and I went out and tracked down a copy asap after it came out. I could hardly wait to pop one in when I got home and settled in for a long evening of retro television that probably wasn't going to be as good as I remembered it to be.
Boy was I wrong. The show was at least as good as I remembered and probably better since I could appreciate the plots better than when I was a kid. The biggest surprise was the effect it had on my own children. I fired it up and slowly they all wandered in and sat down totally transfixed. The most telling moment was when we got to the end of a disc and the final episode on that disc was a "to be continued". My 14 year old son literally leaped off the couch to grab the next disc and put it in.
Sure, the gizmos are a little dated. Sure, *everyone* smokes. Sure, the fight choreography is pure William Shatner. But the series holds up. Even 40 years later it is still just as engaging as it was when it was new. In some cases the stories are even more relevant now than even ten years ago. The political climate has swung back to an "us vs them" state, only with terrorists playing the bad guys instead of the soviets. The performances (except the fist fights ;-) and the writing lift this series above its original time period and make it totally worth watching.
If this show can transfix kids 14, 12, 8, and 3 years old all at the same time, it *has* to be worth owning.