'Mission: Impossible - The Second TV Season'
(Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, et al / 7-Disc DVD / NR / (1966) 2007 / Paramount Home Entertainment)
Overview: The classic Impossible Missions Force lineup made its debut in Mission: Impossible's sophomore season (1967-1968), which is preserved in this essential set for classic TV fans. Gone was Steven Hill as Dan Briggs, and in his place the supremely confident and smooth Peter Graves as new team leader Jim Phelps, whom most viewers identify with the series. Carrying out the missions assigned from a pre-recorded voice on the self-destroying tape recorder was magician and master of disguise Rollin Hand (Martin Landau, who moved up from guest star to regular cast member with this season), top model Cinnamon Carter (Landau's real-life spouse Barbara Bain, who won three Emmys for her work on the show), electronics genius Barney Collier (Greg Morris), and all-purpose strong man Willie Armitage (body builder-turned-actor Peter Lupus).
DVD Verdict: At last, the much anticipated second season of Mission Impossible. This is where Peter Graves takes over from Stephen Hill as Jim Phelps. Although Mr. Hill did a fine job, I would venture to say that most of us who remember the series place Mr. Graves as the head of the MI force.
For those of you who think of MI based on the Tom Cruise movies, this is entirely different (and much, much better). The television series is NOT comprised of a bunch of "flash/bang" scenes slapped together in a two-hour film clip designed to make a buck. The TV series was an intelligent attempt (which succeeded for the most part) in portraying a highly specialized and trained group of individuals working for a top secret government department who got missions which were otherwise; well, impossible. They would accomplish this through a meticulous and clever plan, which in most instances involved conning the enemy involved. There were few car chases or gun battles in these episodes (unless the MI force planned them in advance), yet each installment was captivating as we would watch the plot unwind and the bad guy get his just dues.
Yes, we know that by the end of the hour the IM force is going to be successful in its mission each time - but what is so fascinating is how they do it (we are privy to only part of the plan each time at the beginning of the show). The plots often have more twists than a pretzel and are believable (with a couple of exceptions).
Very few of the installments were "losers", which made the TV series well above average overall. The program lasted for seven seasons and outlasted all of the other "spy programs" (such as `The Man from U.N.C.L.E', `I Spy', `Get Smart', etc) during the 1960's spy program craze.
If you haven't yet seen the original television program, do yourself a great favor and try one of the two sets soon available (Season One is available right now). Sit back in your favorite chair with your friends or family and prepare to be delighted. I'll bet you'll find the episodes are like Lays Potato Chips - can't watch just one! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1), but doesn't come with any Special Features.