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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

'MIssion: Impossible Ghost Protocol' Give Away Prompts Thoughts of 46 Year-old Franchise

Receiving notice on Tuesday that ubiquitous movie rental kiosk company Redbox was promoting the DVD release of "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" was the latest event that made me wonder if the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) had conspired to get me to write about the two "Mission: Impossible" television series and four films. I will refrain from jokes about "Ghost Protocol" star Tom Cruise utilizing beards. 

One nice thing about today's quasi-sponsor Redbox is that it provides a good option for my fellow DVDophiles who want quick access to DVDs that they do not want to add to their collection. Being able to look up, and reserve DVDs, online before getting them at the closest Redbox kiosk is much more convenient than browsing one of the few remaining video stores.

Before addressing the subject at hand, I would like to offer the Redbox give-away DVD release poster and DVD of "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" to the person who best completes the assignment of emailing me brief memories of the two television series and the film series. Do not worry, this posting will not self destruct.

Debating a few weeks ago whether to pay a sawbuck for the DVD set of the first season of the original "Mission: Impossible" series or simply stream the episodes got me thinking about that franchise's largely unrecognized longevity and cultural impact. This also prompted thoughts of how the television habits of myself and my fellow sofa spuds have evolved. 

I started my television watching career looking at the 25-inch black-and-white console in my house's family room, am now embarrassed that our first color set with a very basic remote was exciting,  and have gone from first recording programs on a VCR in the late 80s to burning DVDs in the early 2000s and becoming a Tivo guy around 2005.

As a true TV on DVD guy, I ended up buying the "Mission Impossible" S1 set. I have plenty of options regarding streaming video on my  television but still prefer DVDs for the simple reason that they provide much more flexibility and reliability than streaming.

Two weeks after I bought the "Mission: Impossible" S1 set, Amazon ran a good sale on the complete DVD set of the original "Mission: Impossible" television series. I  resisted the temptation to add that to my collection.

I was also thinking about "Mission: Impossible" earlier this week when I watched my DVD of the "Bewitched" movie. The film versions of both shows provided a good chance to revisit beloved series.

The "Bewitched" film also brought to mind a remark by Jon Stewart that does not apply to the "Mission: Impossible" films. Stewart stated, I believe regarding the "The Dukes of Hazard" movie, essentially that concepts that were originally made television shows were not made films because they were not good enough to justify making a movie.

Having said that, the original seven-season "Mission: Impossible" series provided movie-quality scripts, production values, and acting. It also added the concept of self-destructing messages and other clever spy gimmicks that once dominated pop culture.

The two season mid-80s "Mission: Impossible" series is a successful example of the broadcast networks reproducing the scripts of older shows in response to a prolonged writers' strike. I vaguely recall a horrible"The Odd Couple" remake from the same era.

The earlier "Mission Impossible" films came out in a period in which films based on "The Brady Bunch," "The Addams Family," "The Wild Wild West," and other '60s shows largely enjoyed good reviews and commercial success. Those that succeeded followed the formula of staying true to the original, i.e., no mechanical spiders in the old west.  

All of this shows that "Mission: Impossible" may be the Rodney Dangerfield of classic television series in that it has not received the respect that it deserves.