The arvo TV show that blew up into a billion-dollar franchise

By Felix Trenbath

Back before Ethan Hunt was a spy and Tom Cruise was a film star, when Sean Connery’s James Bond was tearing up the big screen, a little kid named Tom Cruise might’ve been seen coming home from kindergarten and turning on Mission Impossible every weekday.

Mission Impossible has been in the zeitgeist for many years now, with the critically acclaimed action thriller series offering up its penultimate instalment this July in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1. But likely unknown to many younger fans, the films themselves are actually a revival of a 60s television series of the same name.

So, I sat down with the biggest fan of both the TV series and the film, Ross Liddle, to talk about what makes Mission Impossible so special.

“It was on regularly after school and before dinner, it was in the days of black and white TV, but it was always pretty exciting, they were doing Impossible things every afternoon,” said Liddle.

The TV show began airing in 1966 and ran for seven seasons until its cancellation in ‘73, and after another TV revival and multiple attempts to adapt the show to film, the star power of one Tom Cruise finally got an adaptation up and running. Now, 26 years and six films later, the film franchise seems to be getting better with each entry.

The show created many of the iconic elements that the films are known for including the common plot twist of a fake mask, the “your mission, should you choose to accept it” line and the sublime theme music.

But the films have made an effort to add their own ingredients to the formula, adding pulse-pounding action and death-defying stunts, which were relatively tame in the show.

“The movies are much, much more intense, the action is even greater, the split-second timing is impeccable, sometimes out of this world,” said Liddle. “So they’ve really amped things up.”

When asked whether he will go see another Mission Impossible, Liddle simply replied “for sure”.

(Deep breath). Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1 comes out in cinemas July 21st.

Featured image: Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Pt 1. Photo: YouTube

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