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Mission: Impossible - The Complete First TV Season

4.4 out of 5 stars 809 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



With its combination of Cold War villains and James Bond-like techno-gadgets, Mission: Impossible was an instant hit when it premiered on September 17, 1966. Airing Saturday nights at 9:00 on CBS, the series was the brainchild of creator/producer Bruce Geller, whose formula for seven successful seasons included a well-chosen ensemble cast, noteworthy guest stars, and a flexible premise that inspired clever plots twists and a constant variety of "international" locations (mostly filmed on a studio backlot). This seven-disc set includes all 28 episodes of season 1, the only season to feature Steven Hill as Dan Briggs, leader of the top-secret counterintelligence team known as Impossible Missions Force (IMF). As the no-nonsense Briggs, Hill (better known for his later role on Law & Order from 1990 to 2000) began each episode by sneakily retrieving the dossier and recorded instructions (voiced throughout the entire series by uncredited actor Bob Johnson) for the IMF's latest assignment. "Your mission, should you decide to accept it" and "this recording will self-destruct in five seconds" quickly became pop-cultural catch-phrases, as Briggs routinely selected his preferred teammates based on their mastery of practical skills. With "special appearance" billing for M:I's first three seasons, Martin Landau played master-of-disguise Rollin Hand; his off-screen wife, Barbara Bain, played top-model and undercover seductress Cinnamon Carter; Greg Morris brought hip coolness (and racial diversity) to his role as electronics expert Barney Collier; and Peter Lupus played handsome hunk Willy Armitage, adding IMF muscle to Briggs' brainy strategies.

As a Desilu production based at Paramount Studios, Mission: Impossible shared guest stars, production personnel, locations, and even occasional sets with the original Star Trek. Fans of both shows will enjoy spotting these crossover details (including George Takei's appearance in "The Carriers," a first-season highlight), and this season's other stand-out episodes include the "Pilot" (featuring Wally Cox as an ace safe-cracker), "Operation Rogosh," "A Spool There Was," "Action!," "The Train," and "The Traitor." Whether they were toppling dictators, rescuing doomed prisoners, foiling despots, or framing Mafia kingpins, the IMF agents were consistently blessed with taut, well-written plots, many unfolding with minimal dialogue and highly visual schemes that demanded (and rewarded) the viewer's close attention. Although Steven Hill eventually left the series (as an Orthodox Jew, he preferred not to work on the Jewish Sabbath, as M:I required), his single season set the stage for M:I's long-term popularity, with Peter Graves (replacing Hill as "Jim Phelps") leading the IMF from 1967 to 1973. And while Paramount has again neglected to offer DVD extras with this set, the episodes look and sound just about perfect, with a parade of guest stars including Carol O'Connor, Simon Oakland, Fritz Weaver, Nehemiah Persoff, Barbara Luna, Vic Tayback, and a host of other '60s TV regulars. Your mission--and you shouldn't hesitate to accept it--is to enjoy this classic series all over again! --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • 28 episodes on seven discs
  • Digitally remastered sound and picture

Product Details

  • Actors: Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Steven Hill
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 1404 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (809 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HWZ4HU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,258 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mission: Impossible - The Complete First TV Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Lee Taylor VINE VOICE on September 6, 2006
Format: DVD Verified 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.
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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.
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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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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