Mission Impossible: The '89 TV Season
Paramount // Unrated // $39.99 // February 28, 2012
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted April 18, 2012
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Review:

Certainly not a bad idea, this re-boot of "Mission: Impossible" may look dated at this point, it still manages to be a lot of fun years later. While the series didn't last particularly long, the idea came out of the writer's strike in 1988, which sent producers looking for new takes on old ideas.

"Mission" takes place about 15 years after the original series and once again brings Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) back into the spy game after his protege is assassinated. Seeking to bring the one responsible to justice, he pulls together a new team, including Nicolas Black (Thaao Penghils), Max Harte (Anthony Hamilton), Grant Collier (Phil Morris), and Casey Randall (Terry Markwell) - who was replaced by Shannon Reed (Jane Badler) in the first season.

An effect of the strike, the series was done on the cheap, and it looks it. Still, a little effort goes a long way, and while the show looks cheaply made, there's something of a charm to it all, including even the effects (some of which even pretty lackluster by the standards of the time.)

Still, there's something to the formula - from that classic theme and opening mission message, to the team, to the gadgets and the old-fashioned globetrotting spy stories - that translates even when pulled together with less to work with. Some of the highlights of this season include: "The Princess" (Jim and the team have to infiltrate a film festival in order to protect a princess), "Target Earth" (the IMF team investigates an attempt to turn a space vessel into a weapon), "For Art's Sake" (Jim and the team race to recover a priceless work of art before the situation becomes an international incident), "Bansheee" (Jim and the team try to stop an arms dealer who keeps business booming by inciting violence) and the opening two-parter, "The Golden Serpent".

Given the smaller budgets, the series seems to have been forced to push the creative side as to how to play up gadgets and stories with larger scope, but they often managed to pull both off in a way that's appealing (given the resources the show had available to it.) The performances are also pretty good - and not too hammy, which they certainly could have been. Graves is a standout, but the rest of the team is memorable and the show pulls together some good performances from bit parts.

This isn't classic television and it's certainly not comparable to the original season. However, the stories click and the experience is a lot of old-fashioned entertainment - the kind you don't see on "reality-focused" TV these days.

2nd Season 1989

2- 1 21 Sep 89 The Golden Serpent (1)
2- 2 28 Sep 89 The Golden Serpent (2)
2- 3 5 Oct 89 The Princess
2- 4 12 Oct 89 Command Performance
2- 5 26 Oct 89 Countdown
2- 6 2 Nov 89 War Games
2- 7 9 Nov 89 Target Earth
2- 8 16 Nov 89 The Fuhrer's Children
2- 9 30 Nov 89 Banshee
2-10 14 Dec 89 For Art's Sake
2-11 6 Jan 90 Deadly Harvest
2-12 13 Jan 90 Cargo Cult
2-13 20 Jan 90 The Assassin
2-14 3 Feb 90 Gunslinger
2-15 10 Feb 90 Church Bells in Bogota
2-16 24 Feb 90 The Sands of Seth


The DVD

VIDEO: The series is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame. Taken from what appears to be a videotape source, the series really doesn't look all that great - it appears at least moderately soft in most scenes, although certainly not blurry or unwatchable. Some minor shimmering and light wear on the source material is seen, and colors can seem somewhat smeary, especially in darker scenes. Little could probably have been done with the source material, so considering that, the picture quality is adequate.

SOUND: Reasonably clear stereo audio.

EXTRAS:
None. Too bad. Well, there are promos for some of the episodes, but it would have been great to see "look back" documentary or other actual extras.

Final Thoughts: In an era of "reality TV", "Mission Impossible" may look dated, but the stories are good, old-fashioned fun and I enjoyed watching this season. Recommended for fans.


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