Seven seasons of classic television come to blu-ray this week. You’re mission should you choose to accept it, and you know I’m going to, is to work my way through each and every mission and delight in the (re)discovery of this classic television show.
The stylish series collection box set debuts from Paramount Canada today, and there are missions of espionage, cold war confrontations, and global threats but the Impossible Mission Force has the team members to take them on.
With a shifting group of team members that changes over the course of the series, we are introduced to Dan Briggs (Steven Hill) and Jim Phelps (Peter Graves), and their incredibly talented and dedicated team – Barney Collier (Greg Morris), Rollin Hand (Martin Landau), Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain), Willy Armitage (Peter Lupus), Lisa Casey (Lynda Day George), Dana Lambert (Lesley Ann Warren) and Paris (Leonard Nimoy).
The series also features some solid guest stars, including Sam Elliott (who made twelve appearances!), Sid Haig, Lee Meriwether, John Vernon, Anthony Zerbe, Fritz Weaver, Mark Lenard, Robert Conrad, John Colicos, Donnelly Rhodes, Charles Napier, Joanna Cassidy, George Takei, and William Shatner.
While the show may not have had the enduring impact of Star Trek, which debuted the same year, it is still very smart and entertaining, and has, of course, served as a launching point for not only a second television series, spawned in the late 80s, but also a tentpole franchise starring Tom Cruise.
And not all of the episodes are going to be winners, with 171 episodes, there’s bound to be a few clunkers, but that’s 171 episodes! There was definitely an audience for the series, and who doesn’t love a good spy story with gadgets and easily definable heroes and villains?
It’s solid entertainment, reflective of the era in which it was made, while also being aware of what was going on in the world around it. The disguises and more speak to the spy genre of films playing out on other channels as well as at the cinema, while some of the storylines, though not quite on the nose, could at least circle real world issues.
It’s classic television, and it’s classic for a reason, because it has endured, and while it may not have sunk into the popular culture sub-conscience as Trek has, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognise Lalo Schifrin’s iconic theme.
I cannot wait to start exploring this collection episode by episode, and season by season. I will be documenting those adventures here and thanks to Paramount Canada, you too can accept this mission and pick up a copy of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray today.
Light the fuse…