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Synopsis: In this all-new series, Peter Graves reprises his role as Jim Phelps, the brilliant and charismatic leader of the Impossible Mission force. Summoned out of retirement, Phelps organizes a new team of I.M.F. agents in order to carry out dangerous and complex assignments.
This is the first season of the second Mission Impossible TV series, which aired from 1988-1990. The first series aired from 1966 to 1973 Mission Impossible: Seasons 1-7. Only the Jim Phelps character (Peter Graves) carried forward from the first series to the second.
Pros: Both series are must-haves for die-hard fans of the Mission Impossible formula. The music, the tech gadgets, the challenge and excitement of outfoxing the bad guys in a seemingly impossible timeframe - all are consistent, and supplement the excellent continuity provided by Peter Graves. So, why only two stars?
Cons: Video quality is heart-breakingly poor. In contrast with the first series, which is sharp with nicely saturated colours, this second-series DVD set looks like it was dubbed from a VHS tape, and a rough one at that. Colours are washed-out. Images are fuzzy, to the point that face recognition for even moderately distant figures is impossible. Details are soft and ghosted, and bright spots are horizontally smeared. Ironically, the distribution credits at the beginning of each DVD are sharp as a tack. For whatever reason,a decision was made to skimp on the transfer process, and it does a great disservice to the excellence of the series content, and to those of us who had hoped to obtain this re-issue for our enjoyment and collections.
We can only hope that the studio revisits this effort, and sees fit to provide a properly dubbed version. If they do, I'll be in line for the upgrade.
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I love this series, but have never been able to find it before now !!! Thanks, amazon , for having so many hard to find titles , what a selection to choose from. Had my DVD within 2 days. Very happy !!!
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153 of 157 people found the following review helpful
The Only TV Series Revival Worth SeeingSept. 15 2011
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The 1980's marked the beginning of the period when the concept of the weekly adventure/drama television series that started in the 1950's began to be exhausted so television producers came up with the idea of redoing popular old series in a more modern venue. Among those that appeared were old favorites of mine like Star Trek, Columbo and later the Rockford Files in a more restricted "TV movie" format. In my opinion those three revivals were sadly far below the original series in quality, even though the last two had the original stars. Rockford and Columbo, although they had highly charismatic stars as actors, failed in the revival because the actors had visibly aged and had less energy to put into their roles in addition to the fact that they knew the series could not be made without them. Fortunately, the revival of Mission: Impossible in 1988 is a whole different story. Peter Graves is back in the role of Jim Phelps as head of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force). Graves did not have the "charismatic" image that the other two had and, as a consequence, we see his steady hand in the role which molds the rest of the team, all of whom are new actors. I can say that this revival series, unlike all the others, remains true to the outstanding original series. The other actors all hold their own with the original stars of the series. The one possible exception was the original woman on the team, played by Terry Markwell, who was weaker in the role, but fortunately she was replaced by Jane Badler who is a more versatile actress. Thaao Penghlis is fine in the role originally filled by Martin Landau and later by Leonard Nimoy as the impersonator and language expert of the team. Tony Hamilton has a much wider range as an actor playing the role of "strong man" originally portrayed by Peter Lupus. Finally Phil Morris, the son of Greg Morris who played technical genius Barney Collier is actually a much better actor than his father in fulfilling the same role on the IMF team.
One interesting aspect of the revival series that could have been a weakness actuallly turns into a strong point was the fact that there was a writer's strike when filming began of the revival series, so several scripts taken from the original series were simply remade with the new cast and with some minor changes. I found the new, more modern interpretation using different directors of the old stories very interesting, and not at all simply a boring rehash of the original. For example, the first episode of the revival is based on the original episode "The Killer" and it is superior to the original. In the original, Leonard Nimoy seemed to be distracted and did not put in a very good performance, but Thaao Penghlis, in the same role is outstanding. I would say the same about John De Lancie who is "the killer" and is more memorable than Robert Conrad was in the original.
As the season progressed new scripts were introduced and, facing the problem that all long-running series face with the challenge of coming up with fresh material there was slippage in the quality of the series. Therefore, for someone who is new to the whole Mission: Impossible concept, I would recommend starting with the original series, particularly seaons 1-5, but this 1988 season is a worthy follow-on and I would recommend it to fans of the original series.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
the picture quality is FINE.Dec 9 2011
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so, at long last the 1988-1990 revival of mission impossible comes to DVD...
i've been waiting for this for a very, very long time. i used to tape the show when it originally aired on ABC and i practically wore out those VHS copies by the mid nineties. then in around 2003 or 04, someone began offering VHS rips burned to DVD-R, so i picked up the whole series and was able to watch it straight through, tracking fuzz lines and half-edited out commercials and all.
now, just like airwolf and the late 80s columbo murder mysteries, i've got another fix of my favorite nostalgia television series on DVD.
people are going on and on about the picture quality. yes, like most shows of the mid eighties to mid nineties, the mission impossible revival was shot on film but EDITED on video (just like star trek TNG). thus often the only masters that have survived to the present are video tape.
i've seen horrible video masters and this ain't it (airwolf season 4 ouch!). as another reviewer noted, it looks exactly like it would have aired. and having watched these episodes over and over again (with commercials!) on my own VHS copies and then later DVD-R rips, now having the shows as they were originally shown is a blessing.
i don't have a CRT standard def television, so i can't comment, but on my oppo BD player + panasonic plasma display, mission impossible 1988 looks bigger and better than i remember.
as for the show, yes peter graves is older and slower, yes the budget is lower and yes it was shot in australia. however many of the stories are quite good and internationally set, and the gadgets are quite fun. best of all is the MUSIC. i think the version of the opening theme for this show is far superior to the original. if you're a die-hard fan of the original 60s/70s show, then yes, this is going to seem like a cheap, almost soap-opera xerox copy of your beloved classic.
but for me, this was the show i grew up with. bring on the 89-90 season!
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Strike Season ProductionNov. 6 2011
Gerry M. Allen
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Faced with a potentially lengthy writers strike in 1988, several producer groups decided to revive old shows where they already owned the rights. Mission Impossible fared better than most of these attempts, due to the use of original series plots and Peter Graves. Graves reprised his role as Jim Phelps with an all-new team only faintly resembling the previous group. His on-screen presence, and better writing, carried the show. It ran up against the Cosby Show and ratings eventually plunged. Note that this is only the 19 episodes from 1988. The 1989 episodes (16) have yet to be released.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
And this is the end result folks......Dec 28 2011
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Having been a longtime fan of the revived version of "Mission: Impossible", I have waited YEARS for this series to be released on DVD and now that it's here all I can say is......
To infer that this is a basic barebones DVD release would be a MASSIVE understatement. No bonus features, behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, promos or audio commentaries is something I can live without - begrudgingly. Many television shows that are over twenty years old have little supplementary material for fans to fawn over sadly enough. What amazes me (and not in a good way I might add) is the picture quality - or lack thereof. Soft and grainy would be two apt words to describe what this series looks like on DVD. It would appear no attempt was made to improve or upgrade the look of the show which is a MAJOR disappointment. In fact, the original series looks MUCH BETTER in comparsion. Not only that, but the "In stereo where available" tag was left on the episodes!!!. If you didn't know that this was an official release, you would think you were watching a pirated copy. I just can't believe so little effort was put into this. CBS/Paramount have done what could be politely described as a barely adequate job with the release of this series. I'm hoping the 89 season gets better treatment, but I won't be holding my breath.
Getting back to the series, "Mission: Impossible" (Mark II) came about as a result of the 1988 writers strike. With no new scripts to commission, ABC-TV took a gamble and decided to revive "M:I" which at that time had been off the air for 15 years (the original series finished in 1973). To put some distance between what was going on in Hollywood at the time, it was also decided that the series would be shot entirely in Australia (which also saved the studio a considerable amount of money as well). This is where the new version of the show was able to take full advantage of location filiming - something the original series found difficult to do as it spent most of it's time confine to the backlot of Desliu studios. With the success of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (which debut the previous year in 1987), Paramount no doubt were hoping lightning would strike twice which sadly didn't happen.
Once the greenlight was given to go ahead with the series, the first move made by the production team was to rehire Peter Graves as Jim Phelps and it was a smart decision. Graves easily slipped back into the role he made famous. Granted he's older, but there is a sense of maturity in place and he leads the IMF team with the same level of cleverness, experience and confidence just as he did years earlier. Thaao Penghlis is now the team's new master of disguise and voices Nicholas Black and the actor equips himself very well. Not as showy as Martin Landau, but more naturalistic in his undercover roles. Tony Hamilton is the group's new muscle Max Harte. Unlike his predecessor in the original series Peter Lupus, Hamilton is given considerably more to do. Combining rugged looks and strength, Max has a more visible role to play in the missions. In a nod to the original, Phil Morris (son of series original Greg Morris) plays the team's electronic and gadgets expert Grant Collier (who also is the son of his father's character, Barney). The younger Morris actually shows more dramatic range than his father did and puts in some fine performances.
Perhaps where the new version of Mission falters is in the casting of the female agent. Terry Markwell was the show's first choice as femme fatale Casey Randall. Whilst she was certainly pretty enough, Markwell doesn't quite have the depth of Barbara Bain and out of the cast is easily the most replaceable which is exactly what happened. Depending on what version you hear, the actress either chose to leave the show of her own accord or the producers decided to replace her (I personally think it was a bit of both). Enter Jane Badler in the episode "The Fortune" as the new female team member Shannon Reed. Badler is a stronger presence and like Markwell is attractive yet classy enough to lure unsuspecting targets off balance.
Whilst the first few scripts were remakes, the writers strike was resolved and the production team set about to work on original stories. All the prerequisite elements are in place. The tape recordings the IMF leader recieves at the beginning of every episode are now on mini-disc (a nod to the world of technology that has happened between the original and the revivial). The debriefing at the apartment where the team discuss elements of the mission thereby giving viewers a teasing glimpse into what's about to happen and then straight into the story.
Highlights from the 88 season include the premiere story "The Killer" (featuring John de Lancie), "The Condemned" (guest starring Greg Morris), "The Fortune" - which signals the change from Terry Markwell to Jane Badler, "Spy" - where the IMF face off with an adversary who is just as cunning and knowledgeable as they are & "Reprisal" - going up against a former IMF member who smartly anticipates the team's every move as well as featuring the appearance of another original series cast member, Lynda Day George.
Because the series was shot on film and transferred to video for editing and post-production purposes, the special effects that are occasionally used are at times glaringly obvious. This is most evident in the season two premiere story "The Golden Serpent" but that's another story.
For those who are only familiar with the "Mission: Impossible" films starring Tom Cruise, this series (along with the original) may seem a little sedate for your taste. But this is what Mission is really all about. A team of highly skilled agents pooling their resources and abilities together to snare their target. For those that are already familiar with the show and are fans, well I'm preaching to the choir aren't I?.......
This is a great show, I remember watching it when I was in high school. Boy, Jim has aged, poor devil! :-) However, the video transfer is not very good. I was VERY disappointed in this production. The sound is great on my home system, but the video transfer for Hawaii Five-0, The Untouchables, and Wild, Wild West were MUCH clearer and better even though they are 20-30 years older! So it's good to have if you like the show, but be prepared for a picture that's a bit grainy if you have a big screen HDTV.