Mission: Impossible - Season 1?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Derek Janssen, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. Okay, this marking--thanks to the Death of Syndicated TV, and the
    gradual 80's-ization of Nick TVLand--the fifth series I've only been
    able to watch in detail for the cold first time on DVD (after Have Gun
    Will Travel, Secret Agent, Maverick and old-school Doctor Who), is
    anybody else discovering the old 60's version right about now?

    For those who only know the Movie versions, think back as to why the
    FIRST Brian DePalma movie--with an entire *team*--was so much better
    than those two other Tom Cruise vanity sequels:
    The mission's all about the How, not the Who. :)

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Dec 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. Derek Janssen

    dgates Guest

    On Sat, 09 Dec 2006 18:31:09 -0500, Derek Janssen
    <> wrote:

    >Okay, this marking--thanks to the Death of Syndicated TV, and the
    >gradual 80's-ization of Nick TVLand--the fifth series I've only been
    >able to watch in detail for the cold first time on DVD (after Have Gun
    >Will Travel, Secret Agent, Maverick and old-school Doctor Who), is
    >anybody else discovering the old 60's version right about now?
    >
    >For those who only know the Movie versions, think back as to why the
    >FIRST Brian DePalma movie--with an entire *team*--was so much better
    >than those two other Tom Cruise vanity sequels:
    >The mission's all about the How, not the Who. :)


    I too am a fan of the TV season, but alas, I prefer the later years.

    I agree with the teamwork element. I think one of the Peters from the
    original series had that exact complaint about De Palma's Mission
    Impossible movie. (I'll guess Lupus.)

    In all fairness to Tom C and Brian D, I can see where movies about a
    single character are more compelling than movies about an ensemble
    team. And I even liked how Tom Cruise had to... well, it's hard to
    say much about the first MI movie without giving any spoilers.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing some post-Landau years on DVD.
    dgates, Dec 13, 2006
    #2
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  3. dgates wrote:

    >>anybody else discovering the old 60's version right about now?
    >>
    >>For those who only know the Movie versions, think back as to why the
    >>FIRST Brian DePalma movie--with an entire *team*--was so much better
    >>than those two other Tom Cruise vanity sequels:
    >>The mission's all about the How, not the Who. :)

    >
    > I too am a fan of the TV season, but alas, I prefer the later years.


    (Okay, I know "Good morning, Mr. Briggs" gets replaced, but what other
    changes were there besides the babe-rotation?)

    > I agree with the teamwork element. I think one of the Peters from the
    > original series had that exact complaint about De Palma's Mission
    > Impossible movie. (I'll guess Lupus.)


    Yeah, it was Lupus *and* Greg Morris, but they were all whining about
    Mr. Phelps turning out to be the
    ...Let it go, guys; judging
    from hindsight, it could've been a lot worse!

    > In all fairness to Tom C and Brian D, I can see where movies about a
    > single character are more compelling than movies about an ensemble
    > team. And I even liked how Tom Cruise had to... well, it's hard to
    > say much about the first MI movie without giving any spoilers.


    The initial Macguffin "political fundraiser" setup felt more in the
    spirit of an upgraded old-school episode...Complete with the 60-yo.
    Republican politician on a TV interview, who strangely looks a lot like
    Cruise in heavy makeup.

    Unfortunately, the First movie assumed we already knew the show by heart
    and tried to branch out, and as for the Second...John Woo was *bragging*
    that he'd never seen the original series before trying to bring "his own
    approach" to the sequel. Gosh, you'd never know it. -_-

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Dec 13, 2006
    #3
  4. Derek Janssen

    jayembee Guest

    Derek Janssen <> wrote:

    > (Okay, I know "Good morning, Mr. Briggs" gets replaced, but what
    > other changes were there besides the babe-rotation?)


    Swapping out Martin Landau for Leonard Nimoy.

    > Unfortunately, the First movie assumed we already knew the show
    > by heart and tried to branch out,


    Which is probably it's only saving grace. I'm not a big fan of
    DePalma, but Robert Towne at least *tried* to write it Old School.

    > and as for the Second...John Woo was *bragging* that he'd never
    > seen the original series before trying to bring "his own approach"
    > to the sequel. Gosh, you'd never know it. -_-


    And Towne had gone on record as saying that Woo basically told him
    what kind of stunts he wanted to put in the film, and asked Towne
    to write the screenplay around them. And it shows. But Towne isn't
    completely blameless, either, because even a lot of the non-stunt
    scenes make almost no sense whatsoever.

    -- jayembee
    jayembee, Dec 13, 2006
    #4
  5. jayembee wrote:

    > Derek Janssen <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>(Okay, I know "Good morning, Mr. Briggs" gets replaced, but what
    >>other changes were there besides the babe-rotation?)

    >
    > Swapping out Martin Landau for Leonard Nimoy.


    (Mmm, maybe, but which of the two do YOU think could more convincingly
    play Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood"?) ;)

    >>Unfortunately, the First movie assumed we already knew the show
    >>by heart and tried to branch out,

    >
    > Which is probably it's only saving grace. I'm not a big fan of
    > DePalma, but Robert Towne at least *tried* to write it Old School.


    I put that down to David "Spiderman"/"Shadow" Koepp, who had co-story
    credit--
    Towne had #2 all to himself, and was likely the one who threw in all the
    pompous "social meaning" at the end of #1 <ahem, spoilers>.

    > And Towne had gone on record as saying that Woo basically told him
    > what kind of stunts he wanted to put in the film, and asked Towne
    > to write the screenplay around them. And it shows. But Towne isn't
    > completely blameless, either, because even a lot of the non-stunt
    > scenes make almost no sense whatsoever.


    Towne was one of the Great 70's screenwriters ("Chinatown"), but he
    hasn't quite been able to grasp the 80's, 90's or 00's, for his last few
    films.
    Any of the confused off-topic M:I bits, I tend to credit in his lap.

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Dec 13, 2006
    #5
  6. Derek Janssen

    dgates Guest

    On Wed, 13 Dec 2006 02:07:40 -0500, Derek Janssen
    <> wrote:

    >dgates wrote:
    >
    >>>anybody else discovering the old 60's version right about now?
    >>>
    >>>For those who only know the Movie versions, think back as to why the
    >>>FIRST Brian DePalma movie--with an entire *team*--was so much better
    >>>than those two other Tom Cruise vanity sequels:
    >>>The mission's all about the How, not the Who. :)

    >>
    >> I too am a fan of the TV season, but alas, I prefer the later years.

    >
    >(Okay, I know "Good morning, Mr. Briggs" gets replaced, but what other
    >changes were there besides the babe-rotation?)



    I'll name a few changes that I prefer. I think, however, that I'm in
    the minority on my preference for the post-Landau years over the
    Landau years.

    #1. In the L (Landau) years, the episodes began with Briggs/Phelps
    ("BP") carefully going through a dossier of agents, and always picking
    the exact same team (with possibly a bonus specialist agent).

    In the PL (Post-Landau) years, that bit was skipped.


    #2. In a way, my point #1 can be generalized to the idea that, once
    the show accepted that people understood the formula, it could pick up
    the pace a little.


    #3. The PL episodes were a little less "intense." This is a personal
    preference for me but, since the basic mechanics of the show tended
    toward the preposterous anyway, I preferred when the show started
    taking itself less seriously.

    To use a James Bond analogy, you'd have to ask which Bond movie people
    preferred, The Spy Who Loved Me or On Her Majesty's Secret Service.


    #4. The music got... "groovier" in the PL years. This goes with #3;
    in the L years, the music was more military, more uncomfortable,
    less... "fun."


    #5. More surprises. This could possibly be debated but, following up
    on #2 and the idea that folks now understood the basics of the show,
    the PL years could offer a lot more interesting ways for the plan to
    go somewhat wrong, forcing the team to think on their feet.

    I say this is debatable because, in the three Season 1 episodes I
    remember clearly, something went wrong each time, forcing Briggs to
    improvise.


    #5. The PL episodes were the ones I grew up with. When I look down at
    my #6 and #7 below, I see that my preference is basically just that --
    *my* preference. So I'll disclaim away. The first season I was old
    enough to watch and comprehend was a Leonard Nimoy season.


    #6. The pre-credits "teaser." I think this started in Nimoy's second
    season and continued for a couple of years. The idea was to show a
    couple minutes of what the IMF was going to be up against before
    Phelps gets his recorded briefing.


    #7. America, rather than Europe. This might be a tough sell, but one
    benefit of setting episodes in America was that the show could film
    anywhere it wanted. It was much freer to film outside, on any street
    it wanted, in front of any landmark, etc.

    Not all of the PL years were in America. In fact, one of my
    favorites, "Submarine," involved capturing a prisoner being held in
    some Eastern European country. So, sure enough, they intercepted the
    transport vehicle in "the warehouse district," meaning on the backlot
    between a couple of soundstages.


    Actually, I'm only throwing in #7 because I'm already on a roll.


    In short, people knew the show better, allowing for a couple more
    surprises, and the show also became a little less serious.



    >> In all fairness to Tom C and Brian D, I can see where movies about a
    >> single character are more compelling than movies about an ensemble
    >> team. And I even liked how Tom Cruise had to... well, it's hard to
    >> say much about the first MI movie without giving any spoilers.

    >
    >The initial Macguffin "political fundraiser" setup felt more in the
    >spirit of an upgraded old-school episode...


    I guess we've decided De Palma spoilers are fair game... ? Okay.

    I agree. And then, from what I've heard, the CIA plan was more in
    line with what I've heard about the *original* intention of the show
    -- namely that the team leader is on the run, he has to build his own
    team and work without official help.

    It was a very promising idea; it was just too bad that the team only
    stuck together for about the duration of one quick break-in scene.
    Still, the timing was there; a woman slips a man a drug in the
    cafeteria while another man prepares to climb though a ventilation
    shaft.


    >Unfortunately, the First movie assumed we already knew the show by heart
    >and tried to branch out, and as for the Second...John Woo was *bragging*
    >that he'd never seen the original series before trying to bring "his own
    >approach" to the sequel. Gosh, you'd never know it. -_-



    I think the filmmakers have decided that the spirit of the series is
    wrong for a feature length plot. As you've said, the series was about
    the "how," not the "who." I think each movie has tried to honor the
    spirit of the series in one or two scenes.

    The first had the Political Fundraiser and the CIA break-in.

    The second, which I don't remember that well, has at least one scene
    where someone was being tricked into revealing something he wouldn't
    ordinarily (in a hospital bed, IIRC?)

    The third had the scene... was it at the Vatican? That was paced
    about like a condensed little episode.


    I wonder what a movie based exactly on the spirit of the series would
    be like? Probably somewhere between The Bunker and the movie
    Sneakers, I suppose.
    dgates, Dec 14, 2006
    #6
  7. dgates wrote:
    >
    > I'll name a few changes that I prefer. I think, however, that I'm in
    > the minority on my preference for the post-Landau years over the
    > Landau years.
    >
    > #1. In the L (Landau) years, the episodes began with Briggs/Phelps
    > ("BP") carefully going through a dossier of agents, and always picking
    > the exact same team (with possibly a bonus specialist agent).
    > In the PL (Post-Landau) years, that bit was skipped.
    >
    > #2. In a way, my point #1 can be generalized to the idea that, once
    > the show accepted that people understood the formula, it could pick up
    > the pace a little.


    (Darn, I'd have thought they'd lost that by the end of the first season,
    and we could accept that Landau was no longer a "guest star".)

    > #5. More surprises. This could possibly be debated but, following up
    > on #2 and the idea that folks now understood the basics of the show,
    > the PL years could offer a lot more interesting ways for the plan to
    > go somewhat wrong, forcing the team to think on their feet.
    >
    > I say this is debatable because, in the three Season 1 episodes I
    > remember clearly, something went wrong each time, forcing Briggs to
    > improvise.


    Just in the first four Disk 1 eps., "Operation Rogoff" is the only one
    that throws a wrench into the mix at the last minute, and "Old Man Out"
    uses it as the cliffhanger.

    > In short, people knew the show better, allowing for a couple more
    > surprises, and the show also became a little less serious.
    >
    >>>In all fairness to Tom C and Brian D, I can see where movies about a
    >>>single character are more compelling than movies about an ensemble
    >>>team. And I even liked how Tom Cruise had to... well, it's hard to
    >>>say much about the first MI movie without giving any spoilers.

    >>
    >>The initial [...] setup felt more in the
    >>spirit of an upgraded old-school episode...

    >
    > I guess we've decided De Palma spoilers are fair game... ? Okay.


    (Only if they're before or not affecting...you know.)

    > I think the filmmakers have decided that the spirit of the series is
    > wrong for a feature length plot. As you've said, the series was about
    > the "how," not the "who." I think each movie has tried to honor the
    > spirit of the series in one or two scenes.
    >
    > The first had the Political Fundraiser and the CIA break-in.
    >
    > The second, which I don't remember that well, has at least one scene
    > where someone was being tricked into revealing something he wouldn't
    > ordinarily (in a hospital bed, IIRC?)
    >
    > The third had the scene... was it at the Vatican? That was paced
    > about like a condensed little episode.


    I take #3 as an unofficial "apology" sequel for #2--
    Not a real apology, but at least they had Cruise working with other team
    members again.
    (Albeit bringing back characters from the first movie is the mark of
    Apology Sequels.)

    > I wonder what a movie based exactly on the spirit of the series would
    > be like? Probably somewhere between The Bunker and the movie
    > Sneakers, I suppose.


    Definitely "Sneakers", with more Sidney Poitier than Dan Aykroyd.
    And less "Field of Dreams" post-hippie nostalgia.

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Dec 14, 2006
    #7
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