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Old June 13 2014, 11:28 PM   #76
Grant
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

First time on this thread and I must say that really enjoyed seasons 1-3 which I borrowed from my library. I had read that the later seasons went away from the espionage aspect and more organized crime.

I really hated the loss of Landau and gave up watching the show early in season 4.
Really no interest at all in seeing them fight crime.

Also really hated seeing Nimoy go from one of the classic TV characters of all time to a cypher "master of disguise"
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Old June 14 2014, 01:21 AM   #77
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

Grant wrote: View Post
I had read that the later seasons went away from the espionage aspect and more organized crime.

I really hated the loss of Landau and gave up watching the show early in season 4.
Really no interest at all in seeing them fight crime.

Actually the shift to a near-total focus on organized crime doesn't happen until season 6. And season 5 is the best in the entire series, since it frequently breaks away from the formula and challenges or deconstructs it, and even its formulaic episodes are done with a particular flair. It also makes more effort to develop the characters than the show had done since the early first season. Jim, Paris, and Barney all get Very Special Episodes focusing on their personal lives and histories. (So Paris got to be less of a cipher in season 5 than he was in season 4. We saw a fair amount of him and the others out of character, and Nimoy established a casual, laid-back, slang-speaking persona for Paris that seems to have been a deliberate contrast to Spock.)

Really, though, it never mattered much whether the bad guys were foreign agents or domestic criminals. M:I was really a heist/caper show, and the intelligence objectives were frequently just flimsy McGuffins for the caper of the week. (Something the third movie played with when it didn't even bother to define what the "Rabbit's Foot" McGuffin was.) And since the overseas and domestic episodes were shot on the same sets and backlots, often the only real difference was in whether the guest stars spoke in cheesy foreign accents or not.
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Old June 14 2014, 01:22 AM   #78
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

Well, Conan Doyle reused some of the 'Let's chat over breakfast before the post gives us a hint of a case' scenes in his Holmes stories (though I think only in the book mash-ups).
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Old June 18 2014, 08:45 PM   #79
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

Finished season 1, I did feel sorry for Steven Hill by the end, even if the side-lining of the character was mostly down to his own behaviour the whittling away of the size of his role was very odd to watch. It was fun watching the guest agents who were obviously filling in for scenes originally written for him (Richard Anderson for example).

The episode where he wears a mask of someone else for everything except the top and tail was almost brilliantly post modern on that side of things. Especially the slightly forced excuse as to why Landau couldn't do it.

Two episodes into season 2, and Peter Graves is already much better. He's walking a fine line between playing the ludicrous situations completely straight yet at the same time just bringing that hint of self awareness that makes it much more fun.

I'm mildly surprised (assuming the DVD's are in broadcast order) they didn't kick off with a strong Jim episode to sell the new lead. He had some nice bits in The Widow, but it was more a Mr. and Mrs. Landau episode. I know the show will become famous for the interchangeability of its main cast, but considering this is the first time they've done it you think there would have been a big push about getting the audience on side.

Trek felt like a stronger episode for him, and it was mildly amusing in an episode with that title to get the Star Trek Rock; the fort from Arena and Mark Leonard all together on screen.
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Old June 18 2014, 11:40 PM   #80
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

I found the recent show Leverage had strong similarities to the old Mission Impossible show.
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Old June 19 2014, 01:08 AM   #81
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
Finished season 1, I did feel sorry for Steven Hill by the end, even if the side-lining of the character was mostly down to his own behaviour the whittling away of the size of his role was very odd to watch. It was fun watching the guest agents who were obviously filling in for scenes originally written for him (Richard Anderson for example).
I figured they would've mostly just given his material to Rollin. Landau, despite being only a "special guest star," was effectively the series lead by the end of the season. The only reason it didn't stay that way was because he didn't want to commit to the series for more than a season at a time, so the producers brought in a new lead rather than just promoting Landau to the lead.

I recently rewatched the M:I movies (upon finishing the revival series), and it struck me how the so-called "Jim Phelps" that Jon Voight played in the movie was really more like Dan Briggs. Not only did he have a stern, aloof quality that was more like Briggs, but he supervised his team from the safe house rather than actually joining them on the operation, much like Briggs did in the later-filmed episodes.


I'm mildly surprised (assuming the DVD's are in broadcast order) they didn't kick off with a strong Jim episode to sell the new lead. He had some nice bits in The Widow, but it was more a Mr. and Mrs. Landau episode. I know the show will become famous for the interchangeability of its main cast, but considering this is the first time they've done it you think there would have been a big push about getting the audience on side.
The DVDs are in broadcast order. Maybe they developed the script before they'd decided to bring in a new lead rather than making Landau the star, or before they'd cast the new lead.


Trek felt like a stronger episode for him, and it was mildly amusing in an episode with that title to get the Star Trek Rock; the fort from Arena and Mark Leonard all together on screen.
Not to mention a score by TOS composer Gerald Fried.


Davros wrote: View Post
I found the recent show Leverage had strong similarities to the old Mission Impossible show.
Oh, absolutely. As I often say, M:I was really a con-artist/heist show rather than a spy show; the spy stuff was just an excuse for the con artists and thieves to be the good guys.
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Old June 24 2014, 07:10 PM   #82
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

I thought the slave two parter was very odd. Not so much for most (all?) of the arabs being played by white actors made up (it's not a pleasant practice but of its time and one you just role with when watching globe trotting 60/70's shows, Danger Man was probably the only show of the period to really try and consistently cast actors of roughly the right ethnicity and even them muslims would usually be Alf Garnett in boot polish) but for the treatment of the Prince and especially his wife by the team.

I mean, these were people who were sympathetic to their cause who would have helped bring the slave trade to light regardless, and around the halfway point of the first episode Barney has the photographic proof they need that there are slaves in the palace.

So kidnapping the wife and forcing her into thinking she has been grabbed by slavers (complete with drugging, roughing up and psychological torment) is completely and utterly pointless, and leaves rather a bad taste in the mouth. Very odd.

I think Barney may well be my favourite character. In a series that isn't really character driven a lot of how much the leads work will be down to the actors, and despite spending a lot of time staring at bits of machinery he manages to ooze cool in pretty much everything he does.
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Old June 24 2014, 08:51 PM   #83
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
I mean, these were people who were sympathetic to their cause who would have helped bring the slave trade to light regardless, and around the halfway point of the first episode Barney has the photographic proof they need that there are slaves in the palace.

So kidnapping the wife and forcing her into thinking she has been grabbed by slavers (complete with drugging, roughing up and psychological torment) is completely and utterly pointless, and leaves rather a bad taste in the mouth. Very odd.
I wondered the same thing myself. As I said in my review, "It would’ve worked better if they’d established that Fasar was either too devoted to his brother to even consider the possibility that he was evil (a frequent M:I plot device) or too self-absorbed or dissolute to be bothered to care about the slave trade until he had a personal stake in the matter."


I think Barney may well be my favourite character. In a series that isn't really character driven a lot of how much the leads work will be down to the actors, and despite spending a lot of time staring at bits of machinery he manages to ooze cool in pretty much everything he does.
I think the same goes for his son. I once walked past Phil Morris at New York Comic-Con while he was fiddling with his name badge and trying to get it clipped onto his shirt correctly, and I thought he made even that look cool.
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Old June 25 2014, 07:52 AM   #84
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

I recommend anyone interested in MI get the Mission Impossible Dossier

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Missi...ion+impossible

Covers a ton of behind the scenes stuff on the original show, some of the new, but it ignores most of it (wisely)
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Old July 17 2014, 04:50 PM   #85
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

Just past the boxing two parter in season 3 now...

I'm really enjoying Peter Graves' performance, considering he doesn't have a lot to work with in terms of character (I can see why the show had such a high cast turn over, it must have wound up fairly frustrating for actors to have that little back story to work with), but much like Morris he really knows how to make it work.

By this stage, after three or four of them, I'm not really convinced this show does two part stories very well, they've all felt overly padded in some way and the first season prison one was the only one thus far that didn't wind up feeling as dull as dishwater.

The time spent training up Barney in the boxing one (where they fight the evil of fight rigging by... fight rigging) felt especially daft as the team already had someone on it who looks like he could handle himself in a fight in Willy. True, they needed someone who could impersonate an ex-boxer, but considering in past shows they've done things like turn Cinnamon into a world famous psychic for the week would it really have been that hard to create a fake boxing past for him?

I agree with Christopher's fun reviews on his site (anyone doing a rewatch of the show could do worse than read along with the link he provided up thread) that The Town was the best episode of season 2, nice and tense stuff and with Landau looking more interested than he had for a while.

I was surprised though how similar to the Avengers episode Murdersville it was though, even down to the double bluff phone conversation (interesting that Cinnamon caught onto why she suddenly has a spouse and children faster than Steed does in that episode).

Not sure which came first and of course it could well be a massive coincidence (though as Emmy rivals both shows would have been aware of each other, Mission Impossible was only broadcast sporadicly in the UK until the 70's, but as The Avengers was to all intents and purposes an American show-ITV didn't actually commision any episodes after the black and white Rigg season, after that American ABC is responsible for the show's continuation- by that point I can see a willy old fox like Clemens getting sent copies of all their genre rivals from the states) but it was fun to spot.
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Old July 17 2014, 05:21 PM   #86
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
By this stage, after three or four of them, I'm not really convinced this show does two part stories very well, they've all felt overly padded in some way and the first season prison one was the only one thus far that didn't wind up feeling as dull as dishwater.
Oh, "Old Man Out" was very padded. Why did Rollin have to do a dry run of the breakout before actually breaking the guy out? He already had him out of his cell and on the roof -- why not get him out then and there? And the amount of time devoted to the circus performances was pretty much padding as well. The main thing that kept it from being dull was Mary Ann Mobley gyrating in that skimpy outfit.

Of course, the real padding in an M:I 2-parter came in the recap at the start of part 2, which typically ran 6-8 minutes. Even the 2-part episode of the 1988-9 revival had a recap that was close to 5 minutes long.


The time spent training up Barney in the boxing one (where they fight the evil of fight rigging by... fight rigging) felt especially daft as the team already had someone on it who looks like he could handle himself in a fight in Willy. True, they needed someone who could impersonate an ex-boxer, but considering in past shows they've done things like turn Cinnamon into a world famous psychic for the week would it really have been that hard to create a fake boxing past for him?
Well, I can hardly fault a 1960s TV show for designing a 2-part story to focus on its black cast member rather than one of the white ones. Wasn't the premise that Barney had to impersonate a specific boxer? So they had to use someone who was the same ethnicity as the guy he was impersonating.

What I love about that one, though, is that the guy who trains Barney is played by Robert Conrad, who was a boxer in real life, and he's called "Bobby." So maybe Conrad was playing himself!


I agree with Christopher's fun reviews on his site (anyone doing a rewatch of the show could do worse than read along with the link he provided up thread)
I appreciate the plug!


I was surprised though how similar to the Avengers episode Murdersville it was though, even down to the double bluff phone conversation (interesting that Cinnamon caught onto why she suddenly has a spouse and children faster than Steed does in that episode).

Not sure which came first and of course it could well be a massive coincidence (though as Emmy rivals both shows would have been aware of each other, Mission Impossible was only broadcast sporadicly in the UK until the 70's, but as The Avengers was to all intents and purposes an American show-ITV didn't actually commision any episodes after the black and white Rigg season, after that American ABC is responsible for the show's continuation- by that point I can see a willy old fox like Clemens getting sent copies of all their genre rivals from the states) but it was fun to spot.
Oh, that trope was already quite well-established long before either episode was made. It probably goes back centuries at least. Unfortunately I can't find that many older examples on TV Tropes, since it tends to be biased toward more modern works, but they have a few including examples from Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew books.
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Old August 16 2014, 02:07 PM   #87
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, I can hardly fault a 1960s TV show for designing a 2-part story to focus on its black cast member rather than one of the white ones. Wasn't the premise that Barney had to impersonate a specific boxer? So they had to use someone who was the same ethnicity as the guy he was impersonating.
True, but if they wanted to do a big Barney episode they could have structured it around his actual talents with technology and gadgets.

Willy, at this point, is pretty much still the regular who has had the least to do, by the end of season three I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd still had less lines than Dan Briggs managed across just the one season. A boxing story would have really fitted his physical role in the show (and probably wouldn't have taxed his more limited than his co-stars acting talents), and after all, the boxer they swapped could have just been written to look like him.

At the start of season 4, one less regular seems to have ramped up his contribution to proceedings, in the Controllers two parter he got more to do than I think he had in any two episodes prior. So hopefully that will continue.

Mind, from what I understand he was nearly written out entirely this year (and was replaced by another character for several episodes) and was only saved from the chop because it turned out the younger fans really liked him. If you're playing Mission Impossible at school it's a lot more fun to be the strong guy that the guy who stares intently at something he's building whilst sweating slightly.

I really loved the Joan Collins episode, very nicely done. Though she needs to learn to keep away from men named Jim, it's a death trap for her.

Season 4 is shaping up nicely thus far, the first four episodes were at the very least fun and the two parter was the first double length episode that really worked.

Though considering what a big part of the show Landau was, it's amazing there's no attempt to ease Nimoy in with a decent introduction. I can see why they wouldn't necessarily have explained where Landau went or given his replacement a "Joins the team" episode, but I would have expected them to make sure the first one that went out really sold the character as hard as possible.

Instead, I suspect if you were a casual viewer who didn't really pay any attention to these things, you'd be hard pressed to notice they'd changed actors.
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Old August 16 2014, 03:45 PM   #88
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
True, but if they wanted to do a big Barney episode they could have structured it around his actual talents with technology and gadgets.
Maybe Greg Morris wanted to do something different, to show he could do more than just crawl around in tunnels and fiddle with tools. Or, heck, maybe the network thought female viewers wanted to see him take his shirt off more.


Willy, at this point, is pretty much still the regular who has had the least to do, by the end of season three I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd still had less lines than Dan Briggs managed across just the one season. A boxing story would have really fitted his physical role in the show (and probably wouldn't have taxed his more limited than his co-stars acting talents), and after all, the boxer they swapped could have just been written to look like him.
Maybe -- and female viewers would certainly have wanted to see him take his shirt off more. But maybe the producers didn't feel he could carry a lead role like that.



Mind, from what I understand he was nearly written out entirely this year (and was replaced by another character for several episodes) and was only saved from the chop because it turned out the younger fans really liked him.
That was in season 5, not 4. They pretty much alternated between Willy and a young Sam Elliott as Dr. Doug Roberts, with two episodes in which both appeared. But Elliott at that age wasn't that much better an actor than Lupus, and was absolutely awful at doing foreign accents, even by M:I's standards.


Though considering what a big part of the show Landau was, it's amazing there's no attempt to ease Nimoy in with a decent introduction. I can see why they wouldn't necessarily have explained where Landau went or given his replacement a "Joins the team" episode, but I would have expected them to make sure the first one that went out really sold the character as hard as possible.
It was '60s TV. There was no guarantee that the first episode shot would be the first episode aired. They had to be made so that they could air in any order. (Although when Barbara Anderson temporarily replaced Lynda Day George in season 7, they did give her an intro episode. But it was the mid-70s by then and TV was starting to get a touch more continuity-based. Season 7 is not just the only one -- until 1988 -- that bothers to give a new character an origin story, but the only one that actually has callbacks to earlier episodes.)


Instead, I suspect if you were a casual viewer who didn't really pay any attention to these things, you'd be hard pressed to notice they'd changed actors.
Which was probably exactly what they were counting on.
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Old August 17 2014, 07:39 PM   #89
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

I started watching Mission: Impossible some months back as a kind of casual, lazy thing to watch.

I've always been curious because it was my grandfather's (RIP) favorite show.

I'm still not quite done with Season 1, but I found the premise quite interesting and I'm enjoying it.

"Discovering" Martin Landau in the show has been a big plus, because I really like his character. Steven Hill is enjoyable. After a while, it gets repetitive that Hill keeps choosing the same IMF agents for every mission. But I do like the case photo for the guest star IMF agents.

I'm actually quite curious to see Leonard Nimoy in the show. Nimoy said in his autobiography that he sometimes forgets he was even in the show. I guess he found it too easy or something.
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Old August 17 2014, 09:17 PM   #90
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Re: Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

EnriqueH wrote: View Post
After a while, it gets repetitive that Hill keeps choosing the same IMF agents for every mission. But I do like the case photo for the guest star IMF agents.
The team composition actually varies a lot more in season 1 than in later seasons. They actually dropped the dossier scenes in season 3 since the cast was locked in by that point, but then brought them back in season 4 when they had a different female agent every week.


I'm actually quite curious to see Leonard Nimoy in the show. Nimoy said in his autobiography that he sometimes forgets he was even in the show. I guess he found it too easy or something.
His first season wasn't too challenging, beyond being a chance to show off the various accents and character parts he could do. But his second -- the fifth -- gave him more characterization and emotion to work with, since there was more exploration of the team's real personalities that year. But I guess it wasn't enough for him. Anyway, he wasn't quite as good in the role as Landau had been.


Hey, I just had an idea. If they ever reboot M:I for television, you know who should play the master-of-disguise role? Tatiana Maslany. Nobody could do it better.
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