The Australian-filmed incarnation of Mission: Impossible had a chequered history. Its roots in the 1988 Writers Strike meant that it was originally a vehicle for reworked scripts, but when the strike was resolved, the opportunity arose for more adventures for the IMF. The decision not to script the series as a direct remake (retaining the original characters’ names, as planned) meant that the show could plunder the wealth of the previous seasons for characters and situations.
The first season sees Jim Phelps come out of retirement (in a story that is a remake of a season five show), and take charge of the IMF once more. Once you get past the first couple of episodes, the show is tailored far more to the new cast and characters, with Barney Morris reprising his role as Greg Collier (working with his son Phil, one of the show lead), and Lynda Day George returning as Casey (her last name, we discover, contrary to the impression given in the original series) to join Peter Graves giving the show the official MI imprimatur.
There are some shocks during the year, particularly in the way that Jane Badler’s character is introduced, and more than a few moments where you wonder if the show has jumped the shark – but compared to the way that Brian de Palma treated the franchise and its characters in the first big-screen adventure, this is “pure” Mission: Impossible.
Verdict: Worth catching if you’re an IMF fan who hasn’t seen it (and not caught the reruns on CBS Action). 6/10