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Old January 30 2014, 12:28 AM   #137
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Andrew_Kearley wrote: View Post
I love the format, I think it lends a great sense of structure to the thing. (Fifth season is the weakest as a result, because it departs from the format too often, and ends up seeming just like everything else.)
Wow, I couldn't disagree more. To me, the fifth season is by far the best, because it so often deconstructs the formula, delves into the characters' personalities, has missions actually go wrong and genuinely challenge the characters, etc. I felt it also just generally had the strongest writing of any season overall. There isn't a single fifth-season episode that I'd call bad, though there are a couple of mediocre ones.

The way that it all snaps togther in the best episodes is an absolute wonder to behold - and to see when the villains realize that they've been had, fantastic. The cast playing it dead straight really helps to keep it all grounded too.
But too often it just played out like clockwork without any risk of failure; the only disruptions happened less than 30 seconds before a commercial break and were resolved less than 30 seconds after the break. I prefer the episodes where the plan goes wrong and the characters have to improvise. One of the standard rules of story structure is that there should be a midpoint reversal, a point where things suddenly diverge from the intended plan and the heroes suffer a series of setbacks, so that there's more at stake as things build toward the climax. M:I rarely had that except in the first and fifth seasons. Everything just played out exactly according to plan, so there was essentially no suspense.
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