I finished watching The Prisoner this week, and while I had to watch the final episodes a few times, I think I sort of get it. As I mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago, I haven't seen the original 1960s series, so I'm just basing my thoughts on the current version that just aired on AMC. I'm guessing they'll air the series again sometime soon.
First of all, I was riveted to the series from start to finish. Not only are the characters and storyline intriguing and mysterious, but the musical score by Rupert Gregso-Williams is phenomenal. So hypnotic and evocative. More of my thoughts on The Prisoner -- including possible spoilers -- after the jump.
Some shows are creepy just because, well, they're icky to think about. Like 'The Girls Next Door' (twins sleeping with the same old guy!) or 'Hoarders' (the ultimate pack-rats!). Then there are shows that are frightening, but in a good way. Read on for eight such shows that make you look under the bed at night, avoid cemeteries, and ponder alternate universes.
- After the deaths of Edward Woodward and Ken Ober, why '80s TV suddenly seems so old,
- Soap news, mainly a discussion of James Franco's guest stint on General Hospital,
- Another dip into our Ask TV Squad mailbag, where we discuss the use of laugh tracks and why multi-camera shows are written differently than single-camera shows,
- Our picks for the week, and much more.
Run time is 1:02:55.
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As usual, the music at the beginning and end of the podcast is "Life" by Justin Trawick. Though I decided to add a small surprise at the beginning, a call-back to an interview I did a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.
I haven't seen the original 1960s series, but will definitely have to check it out. If it's anything like this one -- and many say it's better -- I'm sure I'll love it. Not only is the series an intriguing mystery, but it also seems to be a social commentary on fear, guilt, conformity, and control.
Are we all prisoners of something, one way or another? Are we all striving to break free of the social norms that shackle us? Am I off my rocker and reading a whole lot more into this show than is necessary?
Are you liking The Prisoner so far? I'm sort of hoping they turn it into a regular TV series.
Check out Jason's great reviews of The Prisoner.
(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.
(E05) So I'm feeling a little more confident as the fifth installment wraps that The Village isn't as real a construct as perhaps the original was. At the same time, I have a hard time in a show like this just taking something that I'm told to be the truth and accepting it. Maybe I'm like Six in that way.
In this episode, both Two and Six experience time outside themselves, while 1112 learns more about himself than any of us realized. And if what he learns is anything close to the truth, it can do a lot to explain much of what has happened, and how the Village can be as comprehensive as it appears to be.
(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.
In AMC's remake of the late 1960s British show 'The Prisoner,' a man finds himself trapped in a desert village where its inhabitants have only numbers for names, deny the existence of an outside world, and have no memory of their lives prior to arriving in the isolated, and constantly surveilled, village.
In this clip from the premiere of the miniseries, the man, dubbed Number Six and portrayed by Jim Caviezel, is brought before the leader of the village, the always-fantastic Ian McKellen as Number Two, and given clues on who and where he is.
Watch the video after the jump.
(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.
In the update of the 1967 cult-fave series, Caviezel stars as a man who finds himself trapped in a mysterious village, stripped of his freedom and name. Throughout the six-part miniseries, which debuts Sun., Nov. 15 at 8PM ET, he's fighting to understand his predicament, and to escape, but is repeatedly thwarted by village elder Two ('Lord of the Rings' and 'X-Men' vet Ian McKellen).
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.
AMC is certainly pulling out all the stops to promote their re-imagining of The Prisoner. The new mini-series airs for three nights straight, starting Sunday November 15 at 8/7 Central. The network was kind enough to send out a press kit in anticipation of the new series, and right off I have to give them credit for sticking to their theme.
Some press kits seem to have random objects thrown in that have little or nothing to do with the show they're promoting. Everything that I found within this little box worked toward establishing the feeling of paranoia that pervades the world of The Prisoner. Even better, aside from the DVDs themselves, I could imagine this being the propaganda kit I would receive were I to ever wake up in the village.
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