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July 23, 2014

'The Prisoner' Preview: AMC's Remake Just as Bizarre as the Original (VIDEO)

by Sharon Knolle, posted Nov 12th 2009 1:16PM
Good news for fans of the original 'Prisoner': Critics say AMC's miniseries remake is just as weird, illogical and mystifying.

It's a remake of the cult 1960s TV series, which starred Patrick McGoohan as a secret agent who is held against his will in the bizarrely cheerful "Village," from which there is seemingly no escape. The original's plot was so convoluted that fans debate even the chronology of the episodes. Is the end the beginning, or the other way around?

AMC's six-hour miniseries retains the essential elements of the original: A man (Jim Caviezel) wakes up in "The Village" with no idea how he got there. He's now addressed simply as "Six" and told that the real world does not exist. Overseeing the sinister enclave is "Two" (Ian McKellen), whose reasons for keeping Six a prisoner are not clear.

Read more and watch a video preview after the jump.Good news for fans of the original 'Prisoner': Critics say AMC's miniseries remake is just as weird, illogical and mystifying.

It's a remake of the cult 1960s TV series, which starred Patrick McGoohan as a secret agent who is held against his will in the bizarrely cheerful "Village," from which there is seemingly no escape. The original's plot was so convoluted that fans debate even the chronology of the episodes. Is the end the beginning, or the other way around?

AMC's six-hour miniseries retains the essential elements of the original: A man (Jim Caviezel) wakes up in "The Village" with no idea how he got there. He's now addressed simply as "Six" and told that the real world does not exist. Overseeing the sinister enclave is "Two" (Ian McKellen), whose reasons for keeping Six a prisoner are not clear.

Escape pods -- huge white orbs that appear out of nowhere -- are still used to thwart any would-be deserters, but the setting is moved from a mysterious island to an isolated desert. "There is no out," says Two. "There is only in."

Critic Alan Sepinwall of the New Jersey Star Ledger, who hadn't seen the original, watched the remake and reported, "Simply put, it's incredibly weird ... Now, I gather that the new version is somewhat less weird than the original, and the ending makes more sense than what I know of the original's. And it's not exactly weirdness for weirdness' sake; the finale explains exactly why so much of what we've seen before seems so surreal ... but six hours is at least four hours too long for me to sit through something this intentionally bizarre, something where plot logic or simple human logic is often accidental at best."

Sepinwall does, however, single out Ian McKellen for bringing "both gravity and a twinkle in the eye to what could be ridiculous, pretentious or -- as 'The Prisoner' sometimes becomes -- both."

The three-night miniseries debuts Sunday on AMC. Watch a sneak peek of 'The Prisoner' below.

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