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Friday, November 13, 2009

Anyone going to watch "The Prisoner?"

No "Mad Men." No "Breaking Bad" until March. What's an AMC fan to do?

Well, there's always "The Prisoner," a remake of the cult '60s British spy series starring Patrick McGoohan, running Sunday-Tuesday.

I have to plead ignorance on the original, and really, everything else about the new miniseries. I only saw the promo during last week's "Mad Men," but its "Lost"-like quality (at least in terms of creepy Dharma Initiative experiments) was enough to keep me intrigued. Either that, or it reminds me a lot of what I suspect goes on behind closed doors at Scientology centers.

So far, reviews on the Web have been pretty mixed, but I'm not sure if that's due to comparisons with the original or the enigmatic, almost Lynchian nature of the show's premise. According to an Associated Press story, "The Prisoner" goes a little something like this:

A man named Michael from New York wakes up in the desert, much to his surprise.

Fortunately, a pleasant-looking village is nearby.

Unfortunately, Michael wants to get back to New York and finds he can’t.

“That’s not possible,” the Village elder tells him. “There is no New York. There’s only the Village.”

“I want out!” Michael says.

“There is no out,” insists the leader. “There is only in.”

From that same AP story, “The Prisoner” is a "sometimes startling, always eye-popping meditation on freedom through the prism of mass thought control. Jim Caviezel stars as Michael, the addled detainee who finds that, on his arrival in the Village, he, like all the residents, is designated by a number, not a name.

He is now Six.

Ian McKellen is the charismatic, delicately despotic boss, Two. With a suave, creepy-reassuring manner, he lords over this realm with its daunting sinkholes, huge white beach ball and compliant, seemingly contented populace.

Here wanderlust is out of the question, the solution to every problem is “More Village” and every home has a pig to somehow guarantee stability.

What’s it all mean? That’s up to each viewer, and it’s fun (and mind-expanding) to surrender to the Village’s enigmas and find out."

For a cool AMC graphic of the original show's pop culture imprint, click this link. Among the shows and movies cited: "Twin Peaks," "Lost," "The Truman Show" and "The Matrix." Even "The Simpsons" episode about The Leader shows up.

Sounds good enough for a DVR spin, right?

"The Prisoner" airs at 7 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday on AMC.
Each episode is two hours.

Also, anyone have thoughts on the original? Let us know if you're excited for the remake or what to expect ...

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,



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