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Mission: Impossible - The Fourth TV Season
DVD | Box Set
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The head of the "Impossible Missions Force," a top-secret government group of operatives, starts a tape recorder and finds out about his latest assignment. Throughout most of the series, they would have to stop some petty dictator or powerful bad guy from whatever evil plot they had against the U.S. or Democracy in general. The elaborate use of electronic gadgetry, masters of disguise and detailed plans that require split-second timing made this tv show an "on the edge of your seater"!
Foil the invasion of a democratic country? No problem. Rescue members of a royal family from their would-be usurper? Piece of cake. Replace the irreplaceable Martin Landau and thrice-Emmy-winner Barbara Bain, who departed Mission after its third season? Now thats impossible! But in this classic series fourth season, the veteran and rookie members of the Impossible Mission Force still put on a good show. The most prominent new addition to the IMF dossier is Leonard Nimoy as Paris, magician and master of disguise. Lee "Catwoman" Meriwether appears in several episodes as Tracey. Other guest stars make less of an impression; Alexandra Hay makes her only appearance on the show in the season opener as Lynn, who, in the course of an elaborate plot to shatter an alliance between two would-be dictators is caught, strip-searched, and thrown into prison (she disappears mid-episode and is never seen again; viewers never do get to see her sprung). An unintentionally hilarious moment that would have made Mad magazine proud comes in the three-parter, "The Falcon," in which IMF leader Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) dossier of agents at his disposal includes the eponymous trained animal! Lending Mission: Impossible its international intrigue are the villains from such exotic sounding countries as Nueva Tierra. Great character actors, including John "Dean Wormer" Vernon, Harold Gould and Pernell Roberts portray accented bad guys to the hilt. Each bafflingly complex mission unfolds precisely to plan. Everything must go like clockwork, and usually does, even a lame bit in "The Falcon" in which strongman Willy (Peter Lupus) disguised as a peasant, delays a priest from a coronation by transporting him via horse-driven cart in a roundabout route. Like the previous seasons "The Exchange," one mission hits closer to home. In "Death Squad" electronics expert Barney (Greg Morris) is arrested by a brutal and corrupt police chief who also happens to be the brother of the man who was killed while attacking Barneys girlfriend (Cicely Tyson, by the way). Mission: Impossible has yet to self-destruct, but this season doesnt exactly deliver on Pariss promise to his audience to deliver "excitement you havent seen before." We have seen this before, but watching the IMF in episode after episode pull off the impossible is still smart and suspenseful fun. --Donald Liebenson
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