The Prisoner could use some rehabilitation

I’m not one of those worshippers of the original series of The Prisoner, nor am I a detractor; I watched some fair portion of the run a couple decades back, liked its style, but haven’t spent much time thinking about it since.

But when it does cross my mind, I think of it not as an unlikely follow-up to a spy series, nor as a work of science fiction with a solvable mystery. It feels, rather, like a rumination on the mysteries of life – that we are all trapped in a world that is not quite what we expected, forced into a role that we thinki is not truly us, that we all want to know who Number 1 is.

For whatever reason, the new version doesn’t feel like the mysteries of life. It feels like the mysteries of Myst, or some other computer game, more stylish than meaningful.  They have a stylish setting, but too often kill the stylishness of the set with pedestrian camera choices. It’s got a high level of “clues”, like the goal is to ultimately unveil the secret. The characters aren’t that fascinating, and there is no sense that the explanation of the secret is actually meaningful rather than something silly to validate the premise.

I’m two hours into the series; I will not be going for the third.

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm  Comments (4)  

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  1. My relationship with The Prisoner is much the same. I’ve caught a few episodes here and there over the years. Admittedly, not the best way to watch a series, particularly one like The Prisoner, but I found it enough to give me a sufficient sense of the series and determine that it’s interesting but not one I’d go out of my way to watch.

    My best friend is a fan, however, so I figured I’d DVR and watch the recent remake. Generally, not impressed, nor compelled to watch more. I made it thru the first two hours and am considering jumping right to the final hour to see if any resolution/explanation actually happens. Still undecided on whether I want to spend that time.

    It seems to an extent to be a mystery to be solved. There’s enough flashbacks (if that’s what they are) and other bits (anchor in the desert, the buried box from himself that 6 found) being shown that I feel perhaps there is some organizing of the puzzle pieces that will take place eventually.

    But there are enough questions-you’re-not-supposed-to-ask-just-accept-the-premise pieces (He insists he isn’t a number but never mentions anything about who he is. “I am not a number. I am Jack Smith from London and I have no siblings!” would be expected from someone in his position. Even if he’s trying not to give out any info until he knows more of what is going on SOMEthing along those lines would be expected.) that I sense it is supposed to be more of the “rumination” you describe.

    And the two parts don’t sit with each other well.

  2. Maybe he’ll turn out to be Tricia Helfer?

  3. I think that in the last episode, he’ll wake up next to Suzanne Pleshette. Which will be another level of weird, giving her dead and likely decaying state at the moment.

  4. Nah, that’s been done. In one of the best ever final minutes of a series final episodes. (One season was a dream, Dallas? Ha! Take that!)

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