(E06) Well, that's that. All wrapped up nice and neat with a bow. Glad it's all cleared up and everything makes perfect sense... Did you read the sarcasm in that statement?
At this point, I can't tell if fans of the original The Prisoner will embrace this new iteration of the concept, or feel betrayed by it. Don't get me wrong, once all the secrets lie revealed, they've developed a pretty neat concept, and on that could quite possibly have sustained more than six episodes even. But was it The Prisoner?
I will give credit to all of the actors for their conviction in these roles. Ruth Wilson and Jamie Campbell Bower were particularly impressive as 313 and 1112. The layers of emotion that 313 displayed in her closing scenes with Two, and later with Six were just tragically beautiful. And 1112... well, tragedy appears to be the name of the game in the new Prisoner.
(E04) If you cannot break a man with family, or mistrust, then you must try love. For love is the greatest of things after all, is it not?
it seems we've fallen into a familiar pattern with The Prisoner. Two tries various schemes and techniques to break Six and Six resists them all, either through his own ingenuity or through the help of other Villagers who are sympathetic to his situation. But we still don't know why Two is trying to break Six. This week's tactic was love, but love was explored in many ways throughout the episode.
Six's love of the woman from New York is so strong that it cross boundaries from that world into the Village world. But in neither case is it clear if the love is real, or something manufactured.
(E03) I'm no closer to figuring out everything that's going on, but I am more appreciative of the fact that the entire story will be done by tomorrow night. Things are so confusing at times, I'm not sure I can keep it all in my brain if I had to wait a full week between each of these episodes.
Tonight's installment focused on espionage and spying. The target of all this spying appears to be everyone, but the primary focus is on the "Dreamers," those people who have dreams and vision of a life outside the Village. You see, they're a dangerous element, particularly if they were to organize.
The leading suspicion is that they have already done so, but where and to what end? Two wants to find them so he can send them all down for "Treatment," while Six wants to find them so he can rally them to his own cause of finding a way out of the Village.
(E02) The whole strategy behind the Village has been turned on its head and it's certainly interesting to watch. Two is bound and determined to have everyone who lives there believe that the Village is all there is, there is no world outside of the Village and the Village is all they've ever known. He's even got tangible proof to back that up.
It's an interesting change from the original, and again makes you wonder just who would be willing to invest this kind of money into a bizarre prison like this. Is the citizenry drugged, or just brainwashed? Why is Six so adamant that he is not a number, he is a free man, if no one else in the village is so sure? Or are they just being more quiet about it?
We've even reached the point in the series where as a viewer I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is real, much less what Six is seeing and experiencing. But it was nice to meet his brother and see that he has a family in the Village. "Uncle Six" indeed.
(E01) I can't help but feel tempted to compare this to the Patrick McGoohan classic from the '60s, but that wouldn't be fair. Attitudes, technologies and even our expectations of TV programming have changed so much in the intervening time. And yet, as an homage to the original, there are many elements to this new AMC mini-series that nod back to the classic paranoia suspense saga.
While The Village has been updated to be a much larger and more vibrant desert oasis (think kitschy Las Vegas) than the original's sleepy seaside villas, it's still as much an enigma, even in this first hour. And while Jim Caviezel doesn't command the role of Number 6 as powerfully as McGoohan, really who could? So I give him a pass, and enjoy him for what he brings, and try not to hear McGoohan's booming defiance when Caviezel shouts: "I am not a number! I am a free man!"
Some of that '60s nostalgia creeped into the architecture and dress of the Villagers this time around without overwhelming the tone, and I think it's a wonderful homage to the original. But I'm more impressed that this re-imagining manages to capture the same sense of paranoia and confusion that the first did, without simply retelling the same story in the same way. And it's those differences that are truly modernizing the story in a great way.
While we're anxiously -- and optimistically -- awaiting the AMC remake of the classic Patrick McGoohan spy series The Prisoner, filmmaker Christopher Nolan has abandoned a big screen version of The Prisoner. Nolan reportedly will concentrate instead on a third Batman movie.
In a press conference at Comic-Con International Friday, the cast and creative team from AMC's six-episode remake discussed the rigors of re-envisioning Patrick McGoohan's landmark show.
Series stars Jim Caviezel and Jamie Campbell-Bower joined writer Bill Gallagher to greet the press after presenting a nine-minute trailer for the show to a packed Comic-Con panel.
The stars of AMC's mini-series remake of The Prisoner are headed to San Diego's mega-convention. The new Number Six, Jim Caviezel, will join Jamie Campbell-Bower (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) and Lennie James (Jericho) for a panel and preview of the six-part series.
The Prisoner tells the story of a retired spy who finds himself abducted and spirited away to a mysterious Village where nameless authority figures struggle to break his mind and spirit while he battles to escape. The show is known for its moral and existential themes as much as its sharp writing and distinctive art design.
I cannot recommend watching this series enough, especially if you haven't already. I picked up the 40th anniversary DVD set with no regrets. It was quite revolutionary for its time and used a lot of story devices that were unheard of on television back then (such as having an entire episode be a story told by Number Six to a bunch of children). And let us not forget the signature attack-balloon, Rover.
I doubt the remake mini-series will hold up to the original as it was really a product of its time, but Ian McKellan is an excellent actor and his involvement is enough to pique my interest. I suspect that, much like many of the remakes nowadays, this will bear only a superficial resemblence to the original.
AMC's The Prisoner is scheduled to be a six-part mini-series. It hasn't been made clear if those six parts are one hour, two or a combination of both, but either way the original wrapped up in 17 so there's no reason to think we can't get a satisfying tale in six installments. With casting of the two principals announced, it's actually safe to say now that this thing might really get made. AMC is cruising right along with their original programming, and after forty years, I think we're due a re-imagining of this classic series. And unlike the disastrous The Andromeda Strain at A&E, I have faith that AMC won't let me down ... don't let me down, AMC!
Supposedly, Jim Caviezel will play the Prisoner known only as Number Six, and Sir Ian McKellan is set to play the jailer known as Number Two. Six episodes will be produced and John Jones will direct.
This report sounds too good to be true. It's doubtful that either Caviezel or McKellan would slum it to a television mini-series from the movies they've been making. On the other hand, McKellan has put in television appearances before (such as Extras).
While I'm a fan of McKellan's work, wouldn't it be more loyal to the source material if multiple actors played Number Two? I'm just saying.
Shooting begins at the end of August (and scheduled to air next year). At that point, we'll see if the report is accurate.
UPDATE 6/30/2008: AMC Television has officially announced this series.
Chris Nolan, the director of last year's summer blockbuster Batman Begins, is nearing a deal to direct a movie version of the cult classic television show The Prisoner.
According to the website comingsoon.net Nolan will direct a contemporary version of the show once he is finished with production of The Dark Knight, a sequel to Batman Begins. The movie adaptation of The Prisoner will be written by Janet and David Peoples (Twelve Monkeys, Blade Runner). It's unknown if this modern version of the show will connect in any way with the remake of The Prisoner that has been commissioned by Britain's Sky One satellite channel.
Only lasting 17 episodes back in 1967, The Prisoner featured Patrick McGoohan as a government agent who resigns, is kidnapped, and placed on an isolated island known as the Village. It's there that he is given the new identity of Number 6. If you are interested in getting a feel for the series, number one fan Michael Sciannamea is currently reviewing episodes of The Prisoner for TV Squad's Retro Squad column.
Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.
(S01E01) "I am not a number. I am a free man!"
You can't get much more "retro" than The Prisoner, which first appeared on British television in the fall of 1967 and then in the U.S. about a year later. It starred Patrick McGoohan, who also served as the 17-episode show's executive producer. (You may remember him as the warden of Alcatraz in Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood.)
When you watch this show, it seems other-worldly. Granted, it's nearly 40 years old, but it also was ahead of it's time, especially in the blending of technology into the stories. (Dig those cool cordless phones!) It also has influenced many television shows and movies (just do a Google search and you'll see what I mean). It's very difficult to talk about a show you've seen many times and have enjoyed for just as long without giving away too much, but let me set you up with the basic premise and take off from there.
Our fellow blogger and The Prisoner fan Michael Sciannamea will be happy to hear this!
The British satellite channel Sky One is giving a green light for a remake of the cult-classic The Prisoner, which aired on ITV from 1967 until early 1968. The new series would run for six episodes to be aired next year, which would be the 40th anniversary of the series.
There are unconfirmed reports that Number 6, the main character that was played by Patrick McGoohan, will be played by Christopher Eccleston. Eccleston is currently portraying The Doctor in the new series of Doctor Who episodes being broadcast in America on the Sci-Fi Channel. Eccleston lasted only one season on the show and was replaced by David Tennant in the series currently running on the BBC.
The remake of The Prisoner will stick to the original concept of the series: a government agent is drugged and sent to a prison called The Village after he resigns from service. While in prison people are referred to by their numbers rather than their names. This version of the series will probably have a modern shine to it. Perhaps it will take place in one of those secret CIA prisons we aren't supposed to know about.
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