Nine Odd Connections between Star Trek and Mission: Impossible

Leonard Nimoy (left) in Mission: Impossible

The topicality of this list is vague at best, though it does look forward to the future a little bit (see entry #3, below) and also has to do with my former place of employment (see entry #2).

  1. Born in 1966. Both TV series debuted in this watershed year, when color TV was still new.
  2. I Love Lucy? Both shows began life at Desilu Productions (named after Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, who owned the studio space adjacent to the Paramount Pictures lot), then became Paramount properties after the studio acquired Desilu. Paramount still owns both franchises and continues to make millions off them.
  3. J.J. saves the day. TV producer J.J. Abrams was entrusted with directing the feature film Mission: Impossible III (2006), which many hail as the best of the films, although it faltered at the box office due to the public's growing apathy towards obnoxious weirdo Tom Cruise. Paramount, seeing Abrams' talents, hired him to produce and direct the still-forthcoming feature film prequel to the Star Trek saga, tentatively titled Star Trek XI. Screenwriters for the new Trek film are Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote the script for Mi3 with Abrams.
  4. Paramount looks after their own. For Mission: Impossible II (2000), Paramount hired Star Trek: The Next Generation (et al) writer/producers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore to pen the screenplay.
  5. Martin Landau's sloppy seconds, part one. Oscar winner Landau was Gene Roddenberry's first choice for the role of Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek series, but he turned it down in order to costar in Mission: Impossible.
  6. Martin Landau's sloppy seconds, part two. Leonard Nimoy, who of course wound up playing Spock after Landau refused the part, went on to replace Landau in Mission in 1969, after Trek was cancelled and Landau simultaneously left Mission.
  7. An actor's ironic "Trek". In 1967, Mission: Impossible actually had an episode entitled "Trek". The guest star of that episode was Mark Lenard, who went on to play Spock's father Sarek in an episode of Star Trek, as well as in many of the Trek feature films.
  8. More crossover casting. Of the literally dozens of actors to appear in both shows, Trek regulars William Shatner and George Takei also guest-starred in the original Mission. Other luminaries who appeared in both shows include Joan Collins and Ricardo Montalban.
  9. Strange music. Finally, as many Trekkies and fans of kitsch are aware, Leonard Nimoy released an album entitled Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space in 1967, to cash in on his Trek success. Two years before he appeared on Mission himself, Nimoy inexplicably included the famous Mission: Impossible theme song on the album, amidst Star Trek music and other sci fi-themed songs sung by Nimoy (though not the Mission theme, which remained an instrumental – thankfully!).