Retro television networks are among the greatest networks out there today. They are free and they offer audiences who grew up during television’s golden age (which ended, sadly in the late 90s) a great, safe alternative to all of the garbage that currently pollutes the airwaves. From the likes of The Munsters and Emergency! to Betwitched, Black Sheep Squadron, and The Flintstones, networks, such as Me-TV, CoziTV, H&I, and Antenna TV have grown in popularity as worthwhile viewing options steadily decline on broadcast television (and even streaming outlets). While the retro networks that are out there offer so much great programming, there are still some shows from TV’s golden age that are still not on any of those networks. One of those shows is the timeless action/adventure series Mission: Impossible. Luckily though, the series has gotten new life on Blu-ray thanks to the folks at Paramount and CBS DVD. The series was re-issued Dec. 1 on Blu-ray marking the first time that the series has ever received the Blu-ray treatment. Its release last week comes more than seven years after the series’ most recent DVD release in 2012. This latest presentation is as good as the series’ most recent DVD release if not a little better. That is proven in part through the presentation’s collective audio and video quality, which will be discussed shortly. The one negative to the set is its lack of any bonus content. This does detract from the set’s presentation at least to a point. It will be discussed a little later. The collection’s packaging is a slight positive that deserves its own examination. It will be addressed later, too. All things considered, the new Blu-ray presentation of Mission: Impossible – The Original TV Series a presentation that every vintage television fan will appreciate.
Paramount and CBS DVD’s new Blu-ray re-issue of Mission: Impossible – The Original TV Series is a mostly positive presentation that will appeal easily to fans of real television. That is proven in part through its production values; its audio and video. Considering the age of the footage (the show ran from 1966 – 1973 over seven seasons), the audio and video is largely impressive. There are a few moments here and there in which audiences will find themselves having to adjust the volume as the episodes progress, but those moments are so few that it cannot be said that they really detract from the series’ presentation. The explosions, car chases and everything else are well-balanced with the dialogue throughout the series. Adding to the pleasure brought by the audio is the largely high quality in the video. The colors that were used in the scenery are so rich. The explosions (everyone’s favorite part of the show) are bright and fully capturing for viewers. Even ordinary scenes, such as jail cells, hotel rooms in which the team stays on its missions, and car scenes look full. This is a tribute to those who transferred the footage from the series’ previous standalone season sets and its most recent full-series set. The full impact of the set’s production sets a strong foundation for this re-issue. Considering the strength of this aspect and the award-winning series’ equally enjoyable writing, those aesthetic elements collectively give this classic series’ fans plenty to appreciate.
While the audio and video presentation in Mission: Impossible – The Original TV Series (and the series’ writing) goes a long way toward making the series’ re-issue a success, the set is not perfect. It is missing any bonus content. Considering the series’ legacy and impact in America’s pop culture realm, it would have been common sense to have at least discussions on the writing (E.g. how did the writers develop the ideas for the Impossible Missions Force’s adventures). On another note, the series saw cast changes as it progressed, along with a variety of guest stars. The series’ first season saw guest appearances from at least two actors who appeared in timeless episodes of The Twilight Zone. Discussions by the series’ creative heads and/or writers would have enriched this aspect even more for the series’ most devoted fans. Considering that Mission: Impossible was yet another product of Desilu Productions (which was also responsible for other timeless series, such as The Untouuchables, Star Trek, and of course I Love Lucy) a discussion on those shows and the overall legacy of Desilu Productions would have enhanced the viewing experience even more. All things considered here, there is so much extra content that could have been included for audiences in this latest iteration of Mission: Impossible – The Original TV Series. The lack thereof does not make the series’ re-issue a failure, but there is no denying how much it does detract from the series. Without that content, the re-issue is essentially a bare bones presentation. Thankfully though, the content in the episodes does manage to make up for that lack of still keep viewers fully engaged and entertained. Keeping all of this in mind, there is still one more aspect of the set to examine. That aspect is its packaging.
The packaging for the new Blu-ray re-issue of Mission: Impossible – The Original TV Series is another interesting aspect of the set. That is because while it is an improvement over that of the series’ DVD release, it is still imperfect. The previous set contained all of the series’ discs on their own discs inside cans that are themselves inside a bigger package shaped like a stick of dynamite. The overall packaging was bulky and anything but ergonomic. What’s more, getting the discs in and out of the inner cases was problematic in its own right. By comparison, this set’s packaging uses gatefold style packaging for each season. The slim cases open up to reveal the discs placed inside in their own spots. This does make the overall packaging less bulky and more space conservative. The problem here is that while the packaging is more ergonomic, there is nothing securing the discs inside their respective season “cases.” The result is that the discs can easily slide right out of the “cases.” That, in turn, increases the chances that the discs can be damaged by scratching. Yes, it is – again – something of an improvement over the packaging for the series’ DVD set, but still does leave something to be wanted.
Keeping everything noted here in mind, this latest presentation of Mission: Impossible proves to be such that the most devoted of the series’ fans will enjoy regardless of whether they own the previous DVD set. That is especially considering the average price point of $118.37. That price was obtained by taking prices from Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. It was not listed at Walmart or Books-A-Million at the time of this posting. Amazon’s price listing of $99.99 is the least expensive while Target’s listing of $132.99 easily topped that average price. Best Buy was able to join Amazon in staying below the average price point, listing the set at $109.99. Barnes & Noble Booksellers meanwhile was well above the average, listing the set at $130.49. That low price of $99.99 is a welcome aspect considering, again, the aesthetic value of the primary content and the lack of bonus content. The series did run, after all, for 171 episodes over seven seasons. So even without bonus content, audiences will still get their money’s worth at that lowest price. What’s more considering the series’ long run, there likely will be no perfect answer to the packaging issue. It will always be there. All things considered here, Paramount and CBS DVD’s latest presentation of Mission: Impossible – The Original TV Series proves itself to be, again, a welcome presentation for the series’ most devoted fans.
CBS DVD and Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issue of Mission: Impossible — The Original TV Series is an interesting new presentation. Audiences will assuredly appreciate the high quality of the show’s audio and video in this presentation. The lack of any bonus content does detract from the series’ presentation in this iteration, but does not ruin the set’s presentation. At the same time, that needed bonus content definitely would have benefited the set’s appeal. The packaging of this set is a step up from that of the series’ DVD set, but still poses its own problem. Keeping all of this in mind, the set’s average price point and separate listings play (primarily those at Best Buy and Amazon) make for some more appeal. Hopefully when and if the series gets its next re-issue, there will be bonus content and more improved packaging. Regardless, it is not *ahem* impossible (yes, that awful pun was intended) to appreciate this latest presentation of a timeless series that still is not on any of the major retro TV networks.
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