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Mission Impossible - The Third TV Season - dramatic television series DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 5 stars
Actors: Greg Morris, Peter Lupus, Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Bob Johnson, Martin Landau
  Studio: Paramount
DVD release: 20 November 2007   Runtime: 1254 minutes
(7 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
Features: Audio tracks English/Spanish (Dolby AC-3 Surround), 25 third season episodes

It was a tradition for my family: every Sunday night we'd sit down together to watch the television show Mission: Impossible. Okay, I'm dating myself, but watching the DVD version of season three of M:I today was like a trip back in time - a time before cellphones, keyless entry and digital recordings. And there were moments I even felt I was back in my old family living room again.

The Mission: Impossible television series was a very intelligent and entertaining show. The new DVD release of season three is a fine restoration and re-mastering of the original television tapes, with clear, sharp video, excellent soundtrack, and best of all, no commercials! With brilliant writing and fine acting, Mission: Impossible doesn't need spectacular explosions or special effects (a la the M:I movies) to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The formula for each show is set in stone but engaging nonetheless. Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) finds the self-destructing tape recording and information that sets his team on a new impossible mission to right the world from the wrongs of the likes of a ruthless dictator, a Nazi-like regime, or a mastermind super spy. Rollin Hand (Martin Landau) and Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain) usually engage in a disguised undercover operation, while behind the scenes Barney (Greg Morris) and Willie (Peter Lupus) concoct a different technical or engineering exploit that saves the day. Split-second timing of their secret operations leave your heart pounding, and plot twists where nothing is as it appears will sometimes baffle you. This is classic television at its finest.

Season three, originally broadcast beginning in 1968, includes many excellent episodes, notably "The Mind of Stephan Miklos," a cerebral thriller; "The Glass Cage," which keeps you guessing as to how the team can possibly pull this one off; and "The Mercenaries," a heist to end all heists. Included are two cliffhanging two-part episodes, "The Contender" and "The Bunker."

Season three may have been the peak for M:I, even though the show continued for an additional four years. This was the last year that Martin Landau and Barbara Bain were on the show, as they held out for more money and better working conditions. Reportedly, there was behind-the-scenes chaos during season three as some writers quit or were fired and then replaced. But the shows continued on seamlessly, with more and more exciting and appealing episodes. Warning: watching the DVDs can become addicting.

The season three set contains seven discs with no extras or hype. I like the plastic cases the DVDs come in (as opposed to cardboard that other disc sets have), and from a purely aesthetic standpoint, the colors and pictures used on the exterior are quite striking.

The Mission: Impossible Season 3 DVD set is just plain fun, and for those of us who remember seeing it all those years ago, it's a trip down memory lane. As it says on the back cover of the Season 3 case, The fuse is lit: Again.

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reviewed by Nancy Atkinson
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