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The Prisoner

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 | Posted by Soyka

I just became aware that there is a 40th anniversary edition of the cult classic television series The Prisoner. I don’t know what this edition offers that wasn’t available in the previous DVD release a few years ago, though I am certain there will eventually be 45th and 50th edition versions to continually repackage the same content. I’m actually old enough to remember when the series first appeared on American television in the summer of 1968. If you aren’t, you might not appreciate what it was like to not only have original programming in a realm of reruns, but programming that was actually truly original. While the program definitely reflects the counter culturalism of the period, in both garb and attitude, this doesn’t distract from it (as it does with say, the original Star Trek). Like The Twilight Zone, The Prisoner deals with themes that are as relevant to the Internet culture today, maybe more so, even while some of its visual references may be at times painfully archaic.

For more of my own observations on this one-of-a-kind (so much so that efforts to “re-imagine” the program as either a movie or a television series have failed; one reason why a remake like Battlestar Gallactica is so good is because the original was so bad, which is not an advantage you’d have here) you can visit here and here and here and here.


  1. Yep.

    Remake crap is fine. Or cheesy, say, your Starsky and Hutch or whatever (hmm, Fall Guy movie coming, anyone?)

    Remaking outstandingly good is just stupid with a capital Fracktard.

    Comment by bluetyson - December 6, 2008 8:49 am

  2. So much of the Prisoner vibe is Cold War paranoia (“Which side are you on?”) and the reaction against it; they’ll have to change it a lot for a modern remake to work. And of course AMC won’t have McGoohan as the lead. Can’t see Jim Caviezel delivering lines like, “Goodnight children, everywhere” with the requisite ironic zap.

    I had no idea there was a Prisoner tie-in novel by Thomas Disch! I immediately dispatched some undertakers to abduct a copy online.

    Comment by James Enge - December 6, 2008 12:46 pm

  3. Well, I don’t know, the “which side are you on” was certainly reflective of Cold War paranoia, but call me paranoid, I think there’s still a prevailing notion of “who’s not with us is against us.” Witness the last election and, of course, eight years of the Bush administration.

    Comment by Soyka - December 6, 2008 2:47 pm

  4. There’s certainly a lot of paranoia going around these days. I just don’t think the espionage frame for the Village would work as well nowadays. But who knows? They might pull off something interesting. I was impressed by Mad Men, any way.

    Comment by James Enge - December 6, 2008 4:58 pm

  5. […] contributions¬†as the star and creative force of The Prisoner,¬†which I noted in my inaugural post to this blog. (Of course, it’s coincidental that McGoohan died shortly thereafter, though […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Obits and Chicks - January 17, 2009 11:19 am

  6. […] written about the original series for here at this blog; you can take a look at a preview of the new series here. It actually looks promising, though of […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Reimprisonment - September 19, 2009 10:07 am

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