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Currentfilm.com Review:

Two of the most classic shows of their time, "Wild Wild West" (which ran from 1965-1969) and "Mission: Impossible" (1966-1973) continue to hold up well today, as both have spawned movies (although the less said about "Wild Wild West"'s film adaptation, the better) and continue to gain new fans through DVD releases.

"West" focused on James T West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), two secret service agents who used their wits and gadgets to protect President Ulysses S. Grant and the United States from various threats. The series was unique for the fact that it combined different genres: it was a spy thriller and a Western, with a helping of sci-fi - a combination that sounds like a jumble, but, in the right hands, turned out to be incredibly fun. While "West" was not originally the hit that the network had hoped, the series developed a cult following and its innovative, often brilliant mixture of genres was more appreciated years later.

The series boasted richly entertaining performances from the cool and collected Conrad and Martin, as well as Michael Dunn, as diabolical recurring villain Dr. Loveless (played by Kenneth Brannagh in the feature film.) Loveless returns in this season in "The Night Dr. Loveless Died" (or did he?) Other villains this season include thieves, revolutionists, assassins, blackmailers, dictators, counterfieters and more. This is another terrific season of the series, with several fantastic episodes and many very good ones.

"Mission: Impossible" is, obviously, the timeless spy series that was a massive hit when running on CBS for nearly ten years. The series, which has gone on to spawn three films, stars Peter Graves as Jim Phelps, the head of the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) team, which includes Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain), muscle Willy Armitage (Peter Lupus), electronics wizard Barney Collier (Greg Morris) and Rollin Hand (Martin Landau). The other "star" of the series was composer Lalo Schifrin's iconic score, which remains rich and exciting.

Each episode of the series would involve Phelps getting a message about a new mission ("Your mission, should you decide to accept it..."), which would inevitably end with the note that, should anything happen, the Secretary would disavow all knowledge of the mission. The tape recording that the mission information is recorded on would then self-destruct in a poof of smoke. Afterwards, Phelps would choose his group of agents for the mission, which consisted of an elaborate scheme to go undercover and take down and/or con those who posed a threat to national security.

In this third season, missions include stealing plutonium that's about to be sold to the highest bidder, rescuing a nuclear scientist and his wife that are both targets, a Latin American finance minister who tries to steal millions and frame his president, rescuing Cinnamon from behind the Iron Curtain, making a casino manager think he's done for in order to convince him to testify against his boss and sending in Cinnamon as a blind princess who vanished as a child.

Created by Bruce Geller ("Rawhide"), "Mission: Impossible" still holds up beautifully years later, with immensely clever scripts and a terrific ensemble cast, lead by the calm, confident Graves.

Both seasons are available separately on DVD.

Mission: Impossible (Season 3):
Season 3

54. 3- 1 29 Sep 68 The Heir Apparent
55. 3- 2 6 Oct 68 The Contenders (1)
56. 3- 3 13 Oct 68 The Contenders (2)
57. 3- 4 27 Oct 68 The Mercenaries
58. 3- 5 10 Nov 68 The Execution
59. 3- 6 17 Nov 68 The Cardinal
60. 3- 7 24 Nov 68 The Elixir
61. 3- 8 1 Dec 68 The Diplomat
62. 3- 9 8 Dec 68 The Play
63. 3-10 15 Dec 68 The Bargain
64. 3-11 23 Dec 68 The Freeze
65. 3-12 4 Jan 69 The Exchange
66. 3-13 12 Jan 69 The Mind of Stefan Miklos
67. 3-14 19 Jan 69 The Test Case
68. 3-15 26 Jan 69 The System
69. 3-16 2 Feb 69 The Glass Cage
70. 3-17 16 Feb 69 Doomsday
71. 3-18 23 Feb 69 Live Bait
72. 3-19 2 Mar 69 The Bunker (1)
73. 3-20 9 Mar 69 The Bunker (2)
74. 3-21 23 Mar 69 Nitro
75. 3-22 30 Mar 69 Nicole
76. 3-23 6 Apr 69 The Vault
77. 3-24 13 Apr 69 Illusion
78. 3-25 20 Apr 69 The Interrogator

Wild Wild West Season 3:

Season 3

57. 3- 1 8 Sep 67 The Night of the Bubbling Death
58. 3- 2 15 Sep 67 The Night of the Firebrand
59. 3- 3 22 Sep 67 The Night of the Assassin
60. 3- 4 29 Sep 67 The Night Dr. Loveless Died
61. 3- 5 6 Oct 67 The Night of the Jack O'Diamonds
62. 3- 6 13 Oct 67 The Night of the Samurai
63. 3- 7 20 Oct 67 The Night of the Hangman
64. 3- 8 27 Oct 67 The Night of Montezuma's Hordes
65. 3- 9 3 Nov 67 The Night of the Circus of Death
66. 3-10 10 Nov 67 The Night of the Falcon
67. 3-11 17 Nov 67 The Night of the Cut-throats
68. 3-12 24 Nov 67 The Night of the Legion of Death
69. 3-13 1 Dec 67 The Night of the Turncoat
70. 3-14 8 Dec 67 The Night of the Iron Fist
71. 3-15 15 Dec 67 The Night of the Running Death
72. 3-16 29 Dec 67 The Night of the Arrow
73. 3-17 5 Jan 68 The Night of the Headless Woman
74. 3-18 12 Jan 68 The Night of the Vipers
75. 3-19 19 Jan 68 The Night of the Underground Terror
76. 3-20 26 Jan 68 The Night of the Death Masks
77. 3-21 2 Feb 68 The Night of the Undead
78. 3-22 9 Feb 68 The Night of the Amnesiac
79. 3-23 16 Feb 68 The Night of the Simian Terror
80. 3-24 23 Feb 68 The Night of the Death-Maker


VIDEO: "Wild Wild West" and "Mission: Impossible" are both presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Paramount. Both shows are presented with excellent quality, considering the age of the shows. Sharpness and detail are very good throughout much of the episodes, although there are some minor instances of softness at times. Both shows do exhibit some signs of grain and of wear, although considering the age of both shows, the amount of specks, marks and other issues are not more than expected. Some slight shimmering is occasionally seen, but neither artifacting nor edge enhancement were spotted. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.

SOUND: "Wild Wild West" is presented in mono, while "Mission: Impossible" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The "Mission: Impossible" sound design is, as one might expect, not particularly aggressive in any way, but the 5.1 repurposing of the soundtrack does open up the audio slightly and make for a more enjoyable experience. Audio quality on both shows is just acceptable, as both can sound somewhat thin and tinny.

EXTRAS: Sadly, neither set has any extras.

Final Thoughts: Both "Wild Wild West" and "Mission: Impossible" remain timeless classics, with clever plots and marvelous performances. The gadget-heavy shows are presented with very good audio/video quality on these sets, but the lack of supplements remains disappointing. Still, recommended based upon the quality of the episodes themselves.

DVD Information

Paramount Home Entertainment
Mission: Impossible: 20 Hr/54 Min
Wild Wild West: 20 Hr/11 Min
Dolby Digital 5.1 ("Mission")
Mono ("Wild Wild West")
Subtitles: English
Rated NR
Dual Layer:Yes
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