Mission: Impossible: The Third TV Season (1968)

Genre(s): Adventure / Drama / Mystery
Paramount || NR - 1254 minutes - $49.99 || November 20, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-11-15


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Bruce Geller (creator)
Cast: Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Full Screen (1.33)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

“Mission: Impossible”, even before Tom Cruise sunk his $100 million claws into the franchise, I was a big fan of the series. Even before it re-emerged on television (at least locally), I had probably seen every episode in its 7-season run. While I enjoyed the summer blockbuster Mission: Impossible movies, they have nothing on the TV series even with the spotty acting and unintentionally funny scenes/lines.

For those living in a dark room without a TV, the lowdown of “Mission Impossible” follows a group of American secret agents who comprise the fictional ‘IMF’ (Impossible Missions Force). Headed by Jim Phelps (Graves), the group take on cases that vary from stopping a dictator from taking control of a control to preserving the American way stateside, and some other missions in between (like taking on the mob).

Season three, much like the previous seasons, are usually self contained with no ill effects of events that took place in prior episodes. For myself, I appreciate and like these kinds of shows. Having seen each of this season’s episodes at least twice now, there really isn’t any one that really stands out from another. There were a few I liked; one in particular reminded of The Sting, though that movie wouldn’t come out for another 5 years. The episode I’m talking about, called ‘The Contender’ (split into two parts), finds the IMF going after a mobster who controls all of professional boxing. What’s interesting about this one is Barney, who usually handles the mission’s technical aspects, takes the lead posing as a retired boxer who must match against the pros in order for the mission to be successful.

As I mentioned, “Mission Impossible” might be fun to watch, but given the era it takes place in and the popular style of TV drama in the 60s, the show can be unintentionally funny and unbelievably idealistic. Perhaps this is why despite the age it still holds a place in my heart. I can watch it today and still appreciate it as solidly fun 40-minutes of entertainment. No gratuitous violence. No unnecessary sex scenes. This is a show that I think even families can sit down and enjoy together. Of course, given this generation’s MTV attention span, I’m not sure if the younger viewers could truly appreciate it.

On a side note, this was stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain’s final season on the show. If you don’t already know, Landau and Bain were married in real life.

Here is the episode breakdown:

01. The Heir Apparent – A blind princess who disappeared as a child returns years later. But a military general planning a coup doesn’t realize that it’s really Cinnamon in disguise.
02. The Contender (Part 1) – Barney must pass as a former boxer returning to the ring. The team’s mission is to stop a mobster who controls the gambling on all professional boxing.
03. The Contender (Part 2) – As Jim and the others work on discrediting the mobster in the eyes of his syndicate partner, Barney is ordered to take a fall during his first big fight.
04. The Mercenaries – As Jim and Cinnamon distract a greedy solder-of-fortune, Barney and Willie concoct an ingenious method for stealing his gold.
05. The Execution – An exact replica of a gas chamber is built to make an assassin think he is going to be executed... unless he starts naming names.
06. The Cardinal – A power-hungry general replaces a beloved cardinal with a look-alike. But Jim and his crew cleverly devise a plan to switch them again.
07. The Elixir – A vain female ruler with a fanatical following in her country is fooled into thinking she can look ten years younger with an experimental operation.
08. The Diplomat – The IMF recruit the wife of a presidential aide in order to make an enemy agent believe he can give her a fatal overdose and steal information from her husband.
09. The Play – An anti-American play gets staged behind the Iron Curtain, but is then doctored by the IMF team to make a top official appear disloyal.
10. The Bargain – A dictator using a mobster’s money to fund his return to power is made to believe that he can predict the future... and foresee a double-cross.
11. The Freeze – A prisoner who has hidden stolen money is tricked into thinking he has a fatal disease, and can only be cured in the future if he is cryogenically frozen.
12. The Exchange – During a mission behind the Iron Curtain, Cinnamon is captures and tortured. And the only way to get her out is to exchange her for a political prisoner.
13. The Mind of Stefan Miklos – Jim’s toughest assignment yet is to outwit a brilliant enemy intelligence officer who has come to America to verify a double agent’s information.
14. The Test Case – Rollin’s the guinea pig for an experiment being performed by a scientist perfecting a deadly virus. But if Jim’s plan fails, Rollin could die an excruciating death.
15. The System – In order to goad him into testifying against his long-time syndicate boss, a casino manager must think that he is being phased out... for good!
16. The Glass Cage – Since it’s virtually impossible to free a resistance leader being held in a glass cell, the enemy has to be convinced that he’s an imposter.
17. Doomsday – As Barney works on stealing the plutonium used to make a hydrogen bomb, Jim and Rollin work on stalling the auction that could sell it to the highest bidder.
18. Live Bait – In order to protect a double agent, the IMF must place suspicion upon the one man who suspects him, and free the only man who might expose him.
19. The Bunker (Part 1) – Jim and his team need to rescue a nuclear scientist and his wife being held in an underground laboratory. But an enemy may get to them first.
20. The Bunker (Part 2) – Willie’s rescue of the scientist’s wife goes as planned, but then the assassin changes his appearance again – to look like master-of-disguise Rollin.
21. Nitro – A truck carrying explosive nitroglycerin is deliberately put in the hands of a plotting general, with the hope that he will use it and be accused of treason.
22. Nicole – When Jim is sent on a routine mission to retrieve a list of double agents, he is captured by the enemy and falls for a beautiful agent with an agenda of her own.
23. The Vault – The finance minister of a Latin American country believes he can get away with stealing millions from the treasury vault and frame his president for the theft.
24. Illusion – Cinnamon impersonates a German cabaret singer who resembles a woman killed by a top candidate for the secret police. But will he kill again?
25. The Interrogator – A prisoner who refuses to give up top-secret information regarding an attack on the United States is tricked into thinking he is now his own torturer.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

No features, unfortunately.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The series aired in the late 1960’s so the video isn’t going to be anything to write home about. While it looks very good for a 35+ year old show, I’m not sure if Paramount did any cleanup or not. Compared to what airs on TV, it certainly is a major step up.

This season set of “Mission Impossible” comes complete with a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 track that, like the video, isn’t anything that great, but sounds good to the ears and makes the show more enjoyable than if it had a distracting and noisy track.



.::OVERALL::.

“Mission Impossible” is a show that is of its time. Today, I highly doubt an American agency would be as squeaky clean as they are in the IMF. This isn’t the most well acted show and the plots kind of become repetitive, but the most important thing is, it’s entertaining.

This season three set is fun and although Paramount failed to provide any features, it is well worth picking up for those “MI” fans out there.