The series was originally planned to be a limited series. A new cast was hired to play the characters from the original Mission: Impossible (1966), and the episodes were all going to remake original series scripts. This changed when Peter Graves returned to the role of Jim Phelps; the other characters were then renamed, and the show became a continuation of the original. One of the new cast members was Greg Morris's son, Phil, cast as his dad's character Barney Collier. His character was renamed Grant Collier, and he became Barney's son.
The original Star Trek and the original Mission: Impossible were both filmed at Desilu studios. As a result, many character actors were seen on both shows in memorable ways. There is an interesting continuation of this in the second MI series and in Star Trek: The Next Generation. John de Lancie plays the unpredictable main antagonist in both pilot episodes.
Each time Phelps gets his recorded instructions in the first season, he types in a security code to get access to a compartment containing a data disc. Although the code changes between episodes, it always contains at least one 5.
Terry Markwell did not renew her contract for the remainder of the first season of Mission Impossible as she was dissatisfied with the screen time her character Casey Randall was getting in the series. She was replaced by Jane Badler.
Due to the writers' strike of 1988-89, the revived series was originally going to consist entirely of updated versions of stories from the original series. When the strike ended, the show began producing new scripts. However, four of the first five episodes of the revival are remakes of original series episodes.
In 1988, the American fall television season was hampered by a writers' strike that prevented the commissioning of new scripts. Producers, anxious to provide new product for viewers but with the prospect of a lengthy strike, went into the vaults for previously written material. ABC decided to launch a new Mission: Impossible series, with a mostly new cast (except for Graves, who would return as Phelps), but using scripts from the original series, suitably updated. To save even more on production costs, the series was filmed in Australia; the first season in Queensland, and the second season in Melbourne. Costs were, at that time, some 20 percent lower in Australia compared with Hollywood. The new Mission: Impossible was one of the first American commercial network programs to be filmed in Australia. The show's core cast included several Australian actors and numerous Australians (along with Australian-based American and British actors) were also cast in guest roles. According to Patrick White's book, The Complete Mission Impossible Dossier, the original plan was for the series to be an actual remake/reimaginging of the original series, with the new cast playing the same characters from the original series: Rollin Hand, Cinnamon Carter, Barney Collier and Willy Armitage Just before filming began, White writes, the decision was made to rework the characters so that they were now original creations, albeit still patterned after the originals, with only Jim Phelps remaining unchanged, and with the Collier character becoming the son of the original to take advantage of the fact the actor cast in the role, Phil Morris, is the son of Greg Morris, the actor who played Barney Collier. One of the reworked scripts incorporated a guest appearance by the elder Morris as Barney Collier. Rollin hand was changed to Nicholas Black, Barney Collier was now GRANT Collier (Barney's son) Willy Armitage was reborn as Max Harte and Cinamon Carter was renamed Casey Randall. The strike eventually ended and the series was able to compose original storylines. Ultimately only a few episodes ended up being outright remakes of the original series, including the show's premiere episode. Originally, the show had aired on Sundays, and was moved to Saturday evenings starting with episode 9 of the first season. At the start of the second season, ABC moved the show to the Thursday 8:00 PM timeslot, which proved to be a disaster. Being forced to compete with NBC's The Cosby Show and A Different World, Mission: Impossible's ratings quickly declined. ABC responded by moving the show back to Saturday nights to replace the sitcoms Mr. Belvedere and Living Dolls, which faltered badly in their time slots. The move was not a success and the series was cancelled at the end of the second season.