Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Prisoner

When I was a pre-teen, I used to stay up late on a Saturday night to watch the re-runs of an old British TV series called The Prisoner. Such a strange show and I am not sure how much I understood at the time. I just remember being fascinated by the show, its anti-establishment hero and the strangeness of The Village. It always came on at about 2 in the morning because, I suppose, station managers had no idea what to do with this series.

The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series broadcast in the UK from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968.[Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama.

The series follows a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious seaside village where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although sold as a thriller in the mould of McGoohan's previous series, Danger Man (called Secret Agent in its U.S. release), the show's combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surreal setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner

Here is the famous introduction of the show. It really tells you everything you need to know about the show.

There has never been a show quite like The Prisoner and, as cliché as it sounds, it was far ahead of its time. Despite being aired forty years ago, this show still looks impressive and can hold its own against most TV shows today.

So, naturally, to fans of the original show, there is a lot of apprehension about the remake, scheduled to air next Sunday night on AMC.

Patrick MacGoohan possessed a certain charisma and intensity that would be a challenge for any actor to reproduce. (Jim Caviezel? I am prepared to be surprised but I'm afraid I am skeptical about that casting.)

It seems to be a no-win situation for AMC. You will have the purists screaming their heads off because it is so unlike the original. You will have the British screaming their heads off about it being too American, i.e. full of unnecessary explosions and common-denominator cliches. And you will have the people who have never even heard of the original show, screaming their heads off because it was so overly hyped.

Still, I am curious enough to watch it and I wish them the best of luck. http://www.amctv.com/originals/the-prisoner/about/

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize this new AMC series was a re-make. It sounds like a very interesting premise. Well, I hope it's good, because I need something to get into until Breaking Bad and Mad Men start again.


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