Classic Mission: Impossible and 1988 Sequel Series...

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Joel_Kirk, May 7, 2014.

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I always loved it when Landau or Nimoy put on a rubber mask and it made them 30 pounds lighter and 4" shorter. :lol:
     
  2. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wondered about that myself....lol
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Then there's the one where we think that Rollin is testifying on a courtroom stand, and then he takes off the Rollin mask to reveal David Opatoshu, and is suddenly much paunchier.
     
  4. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I liked how one episode (The Town IIRC) made a point of Rollin saying he'd need some padding because the person he was doing an ad hoc impression of is heavier than he is, but the fact the mark was noticeably shorter than him was quietly ignored.
     
  5. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Other weirdness - Linda Day George (I think) had to convince the mark that she was youthening and aging (some fountain of youth formula or something?), so she wore three layers of masks - her normal face, which she dissolved to reveal an old age mask, which she dissolved to reveal her actual face. (I may have gotten that completely out of order, but you get the idea). Never mind that such an arrangement would be at least a half inch thick on her face and probably pretty stiff.

    Another ep ("Encounter"), featured Elizabeth Ashley as a mobster's wife in rehab. Linda Day George had to impersonate her for a period of at least a week, during which time we are to believe the rubber mask stayed perfect. This included numerous amorous moments smooching with her husband. It was the 60s, so who knows if she had to have sex with him off screen, or somehow avoided that for a week. We're to believe that he not only didn't notice the rubber mask while making out, but that Casey knew exactly how his wife acted in private, and that somehow Linda Day George's full figure had morphed into Ashley's shorter, slenderer body. This guy had to be REALLY stupid for this to work! :lol:
     
  6. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQkhZ6bisFc[/yt]
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The same thing happened in "The Bunker" in season 3 -- Cinnamon was thrown into a cell with the woman they had to rescue (Lee Meriwether), then took off a mask of her own face to reveal a mask of Meriwether's face underneath so that she could convince the guards Meriwether was still in the cell. And that was totally unnecessary, since "guard" Willy could've easily smuggled in the Lee Meriwether mask. I think a similar "mask of own face over mask of someone else" trick was used in Paris's magic show in "The Falcon."


    In the pilot, the masks were used fairly realistically. Rollin was brought in to impersonate someone who already looked like him, using partial appliances. Later, he wore a full-face mask of Dan Briggs, but hid his eyes behind sunglasses, and in at least some shots it really was Landau in a Steven Hill mask. (The only cheat was that when the mask came off, it had Dan's eyes and mouth instead of openings for Rollin's.) Later on, in "The Trial" (which I mentioned before), a mask impersonation could be convincing on close inspection, but the mask-wearer couldn't eat while wearing it (even though a mask could magically change your whole body). But by "Shock," an enemy agent was able to wear a mask for days on end, eat through it, sleep with it, sweat through it, and even endure electroshock therapy through it, all without the mask sustaining any damage.

    I sometimes wonder why, given the ubiquity of perfect full-face masks in the M:I world, people haven't caught on and trained their security staffs to check whether people are wearing masks. (And while they're at it, they should train their guards that if they hear a sound in one direction, they should check in the other direction because it's probably a pebble thrown as a decoy. And that if they're chasing someone and see a couple kissing, they should absolutely look closer because one of them is probably the person they're chasing.)
     
  8. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Commander Red Shirt

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    I love Mission: Impossible and it's 88-89 sequel series. It's my favorite show next to Star Trek.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^And the classic series was literally next to Star Trek, since they were filmed on adjacent soundstages! ;)
     
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:! S'truth! :)

    We saw on Mythbusters that full-face masks don't fool anybody for very long, and just look.... odd.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But I think I read that the Mythbusters have been hoping to do a followup episode that would focus more on real disguise techniques than the fantasy version. I'm hoping that happens.
     
  12. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes and there was a Season 1 episode. (Guest Starring George Takei) That used a repainted enterprise corridor for several scenes.

    Either this one or something like it.
    http://www.fightingstarships.info/files/2012/11/TMOST-photo-1a.jpg
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I remember that episode, and I'm pretty sure the corridor set was a redress of the same set they used on M:I's first season for hospital and office hallways. The elevator at the end was the same. They may have dressed it up with some surface elements of the Trek corridor set, though.

    (It's often hard to realize just how flimsy and easily changed Hollywood sets are. The substantial stuff is underneath, the wooden frameworks that give the set its shape. The visible walls and dressing are often just a thin veneer that can be swapped out quite easily. TOS sets in particular were built with "wild" walls and segments, i.e. ones that could be easily detached and rearranged. When the transporter room set was expanded in season 2, it overlapped with the corridor set behind it, so the respective walls of the two sets could be swapped out as needed depending on which set they were shooting on that day and where the camera needed to go.)
     
  14. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wouldn't wild walls need to be part of the substantial framework, rather than being part of the veneer?

    I don't disagree on the first point (see the history of the stage 9 bridge set from the TOS movies and on TNG) or the second one, mind you; I just don't see how the one follows from the other. :)
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I did sort of transition between subjects in the middle there, I guess, but they're both aspects of the same overall point, which is that the sets are less solid and more easily transformed than they look.
     
  16. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    I wondered about that when the first movie came out (actually, think I mentioned it in a review, but it's so long ago...): at the end, Tom Cruise clears himself by using video glasses to prove that Jon Voight is still alive and relay his gloaty 'confession'... but they work for (and need to convince) an organisation that uses masks to fake such things day-in-day-out.
     
  17. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Having now finished season 5, I certainly agree with Christopher's sentiment that it's the best season (well, to date for me anyway). Lots of fun, interesting episodes that use the fact the format is by now very established to cut loose and do some very nice subversions.

    However, I do generally find that when a show reaches the point where the format breaking outside the box episodes are the best it's usually a sign it's running out of steam and the creators don't know what to do with the "Regular" episodes anymore. That's not such a problem here as there's barely any run of the mill shows this season, but continuing to do a format breaking show close to every week is a hard thing to keep up, so it'll be interesting to see how well the ordinary mission episodes fare next season.

    After a strong start, I also thought Lesley Warren kind of faded towards the end of the season as well, I don't know if she'd decided/been told she was going and lost her enthusiasm but her character winds up being much less memorable. It'll be interesting to see how merging the disguise expert with the female seductress will work in season 6.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Trust me, this is where it peaks. The last two seasons of the original go back to formula for the most part. And the '88 revival series is of inconsistent quality; the first season is generally mediocre, and while the second season initially gets more ambitious and character-driven in a way similar to season 5, it then deteriorates profoundly and ends up as bad as M:I ever got.
     
  19. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So season 6...

    I suppose the first thing to mention is the William Shatner episode and how we only just missed a reunion between him and Nimoey (I wonder if they'd have thrown some cute references in? We do get a "He's dead Jim" later in the season...).

    The odd thing about this episode is that, even more so than the ones around it, the script felt like a hold over from the previous season that had been thinly rewritten to accommodate the shrinking regular cast. You could see the stuff Nimoy would have done- not just the mask work but it's very easy to imagine how he'd have done the old man in the cell or Shatner's hairdresser as well.

    It's also a sign of how increasingly bonkers the stings are in season six: Regression to the 1930's, aliens, "You're a secret Siamese twin". You get the feeling Jim much be getting a bit bored and is trying to stretch himself by pulling of the most ludicrous ideas possible.

    Overall, the season isn't as good as the 5th, mainly due to being far more "Ordinary" and basically feeling more like a cop show than a spy one.

    However, there were some advantages to the new format. The almost complete absence of foreign locations may have been down to reduced budgets but being able to do most of the year out on location rather than seeing the same old backlot streets over and over again actually made the show feel a bit more lush ironically. Like the filmed episodes of The Avengers they seem to have twigged that making your own country look good is easier than trying to recreate foreign ones on a tight budget and schedule.

    I think the only obvious uses of the Paramount backlot (bar the Shatner episode which is mostly set on an actual backlot) came towards the end of the season, where presumably time and money running out made going for the easy option of using the New York street the best option.

    The most bizarre episode location wise for me was the one based around the cable car (though the episode title has it as a tram, is that what they're called in the States?). Just because it looks like the same cable car from the Roddy McDowell episode of Columbo that must have been done around the same time as this. Some of the shots are even basically identical (presumably because of there being a limited number of ways to film out the window of a cable car rather than because of the use of any stock footage in one of them).

    Basically, that cable car/tram is cursed so don't got for a ride on it (assuming it's still there).

    The other advantage this year means the absence of Nimoy means lots more for Barney and Willy to do. Indeed, I think Willy got more lines here than he did in the previous five seasons combined, we even got a proper Willy episode at last. Albeit one he spends most of his time tied to a table sweating and moaning in, they obviously weren't about to stretch his acting talents.

    Greg Morris remains hugely impressive, after six years of basically doing the same thing every week you'd forgive him if his performance suggested he was bored or complacent, but he's clearly having such a ball still it makes his every scene huge fun, especially now he's getting to do wacky disguises (I'm wondering if his hair will ever make it to full 70's afro, it's been slowly creeping up over the course of the show but still hasn't quite made it yet).

    Phelps is similarly still giving his all (and I think is bringing a lot more of the deadpan humour that will define the second half of his career to things), even if he doesn't get quite as much chance to show off by being the straight man of the team.

    Cassey is perfectly fine, though making the disguise expert the woman is a bit of a problem when most of the gangs they need to infiltrate are a full on sausage fest. It means there's only a few episodes where she gets to go the mask thing (I think Christopher's suggestion on his site that they wanted to keep her pretty face unblemished sounds likely as well) and it's almost always girlfriends and wife's she has to substitute for rather than any of the big villains. The Guest Disguise Man of the week doing what Paris and Rollin would have previously is a recurring thing this year and it's a bit of a shame as, for the most part, she winds up feeling no more of a master of disguise than Cinnamon did.

    The villains are a bit bland this year as well, I think Jack Cassidy (who looked like he'd wandered in from the episode of Columbo where he's a tux wearing magician) was the only real standout with that wonderful ever so slightly smarm he brings to things.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, it bugged me how many episodes they did that were about trying to convince skeptics of supernatural phenomena. That's getting it backward. It's easier to get someone to go along with a con if it reinforces their existing beliefs and prejudices. Try to sell them something that goes against their preconceptions and they'll be resistant. But if you're telling them what they already want to believe, then they'll participate in fooling themselves.

    The Shatner episode was particularly bizarre. It makes sense to try to convince someone that they've been in a coma and it's years in the future, as they did a couple of times, but trying to convince someone that he's in the past? How could anyone fall for that? He'd know instantly that something was wrong.


    Just wait until you get to season 7. The location work becomes much more impressive, notably in the introductory tape scenes, which were filmed at various landmarks and photogenic locations around San Francisco (which is apparently where Jim lives now, even though it always seemed to be LA before and he's in the same apartment set). There's also an episode, "Speed," that was filmed on location in San Francisco.

    That was a classic example of an episode written around an interesting location. Another example in season 7 is "Two Thousand," which was written to take advantage of the ruins of a building damaged in a 1971 earthquake.


    Although it makes more sense to bring in different impersonators who are physical matches for the people you want to double, rather than having one person double everybody.