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Featured TV on DVD Review: Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season

February 26th, 2012

Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season - Buy from Amazon

Mission: Impossible began in 1966 and ran for seven successful seasons. It was so successful, that it was brought back to TV in 1988 before serving as the inspiration for a movie franchise. The second incarnation of the TV show only lasted two seasons, but was that because it was the inferior show? Or was it a problem of timing? The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, so perhaps reviving a show about Cold War era spy agency was doomed from the start.

The Show

When comparing and contrasting the show with its predecessor, the most obvious point of similarity is Peter Graves, who is the only actor from the original series to reprise his role, at least full time. (A few others made guest appearances; for instance, Greg Morris appears in the season premiere.) Both shows also have a wide variety of team members that have specialized skills useful in espionage missions. The master of disguise, the technology expert, the muscle, the beauty, etc. However, this is where the show differs as well, because there's a set team that goes out on each mission, instead of a larger stable of agents, only some of which would be picked for each mission. But other than that, it follows a format very, very similar to the original Mission: Impossible.

Unfortunately, it's not as good as the original Mission: Impossible for a few reasons. Firstly, the cast isn't as strong. That's not surprising given the actors who were in the original cast: Steven Hill, Martin Landau, Leonard Nimoy, Lesley Ann Warren, Sam Elliott, and others. The charisma and charm of the original cast is missing here. Additionally, while there are a wide variety of missions dealing with drug-dealers, assassins, terrorists, and governments gone wild, the solutions tend to rely too much on technology instead of clever writing.

It's not a terrible show, but it is just mostly average. If it were just a short-lived show from the 1980s without anything to compare it to, it would be worth checking out. However, it suffers in comparison to the 1960s version of Mission: Impossible, or even in comparison to contemporary shows like MacGyver.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD, not unless you count the promos on select episodes, or the holiday promo, which I don't.

The Verdict

I understand why Mission: Impossible was revived in 1988. After the writers strike, the networks needed a show they could produce easily and using old scripts from the earlier show helped with that regard. If you were a fan of the original show, this might have been worth checking out as a chance to relive your childhood. However, now you can just buy the Complete Series and give a pass to The '89 TV Season, unless you are a hardcore fan of the show.

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