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The PRISONER mixed reviews are IN, or OUT?

Discussion in 'General' started by NoCelebrity, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    The Prisoner -- 2009

    Well, I think the gist of my review will be that I am going to watch the next episode.

    I liked the first episode better than the second. “Arrival” owed more to the original than did “Harmony.” There are interesting and unusual comparisons, not all positive.

    I think the elements I like least are mind control enhanced by a pill that apparently causes varying degrees of retrograde amnesia, a pill that everyone in the larger desert Village seems exposed to except, perhaps, Number Two. 2 has a comatose wife and a “strapping” young son, both of whom seem especially susceptible to the drug, a ubiquitous blue-green pill also found in the ubiquitous sandwich wraps.

    Number Six alone is convinced there is an outside world, and his beliefs are like a slow contagion amongst the Villagers. Like the original, it doesn’t pay to become too close to 6, and an Extra Large balloon awaits those who stray too far from their roles. There are also other loving (or respectful?) nods to the original. The friendly Taxi Driver, verbal mind games over what is real, “Be seeing You!” and the slow reveal. Occasional uniforms with piped jackets or horizontal red-and-white stripes. But not the bike... Nor the little butler in tails.

    For a purist, this strays too far from the original in other ways. It is serial and not episodic, despite episode titles. Having only one also 2 makes this easier. I figure six to seventeen episodes is plenty--if they go for more than that, I’m bailing!

    6 has occasional flashbacks to what we believe was his true past life, but in the second episode “Harmony” (presumably a nod to the original episode “Living In Harmony” -- an hallucination through drugs, hypnosis, and visual/verbal reinforcement) his memories are cleverly confused by new planted memories 6 simply cannot reconcile, and perhaps neither can we. (That’s how they make serials last longer without getting “soggy”--pun intended.)

    6 believes he was an analyst for a secret corporation, analyzing and predicting the behavior of various targets. He writes “RESIGN” in big red letters on a window office divider at his work. A clever woman lets him believe he is making a connection with her, feeling sorry for his vague story about quitting. She is the man with the gas-filled umbrella in the Original, and 6 knows he is being set up.

    6 apparently develops a taste for pork he never had, served by his pretend brother’s wife in the ubiquitous “wrap.” The Village would seem to be in a desert an hour or two from the ocean, where steering wheels are on the right, and 6 is to believe he drives a tour bus. For people who never leave The Village, a tour bus should stretch everyone’s imagination too far. But The Village is far larger than the original.

    What I liked least of all was the feeling that the entire second episode was mired in a drug-induced haze and began to make no sense, blurring the lines too far between reality and hallucination. The payoff is dubious as 6 is wheeled into the Village asylum at the end of “Harmony” because we know he’ll be out in the next episode to keep the plot moving and interesting. Unless the new author is turning “The Prisoner” into an homage to “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”
  2. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    NOW IT'S Everybody Else's turn!

    Wow, I've done a lot of work posting this review and synopses of the ORIGINAL episodes on a separate thread today.

    I hope to hear all your reviews (of The Prisoner and Not this review:wink:) soon! My simple review is a conditional 3 stars, depending on future episodes.
    I assume some of you can get AMC, and as ROY fans we should have some desire to debate or discuss one of his favorite shows ever!

    I've decided I'd better not review following episodes without at least allowing the rest of you to experience it for yourselves.

  3. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    Three details I forgot to mention!...

    6 is from New York City, in his flashbacks.

    The acting is top-notch!

    More info can be had somewhere at amctv.com.
  4. pete c

    pete c I've got a zappy little nappy

    I don't think we get this in the UK, haven't seen any sign of it. So over to you America....
  5. pd

    pd Slightly Desperate Staff Member

    There still doesn't seem to be any news about when it'll air in the UK, which is quite bizarre.

    Anyway I shall be watching it all a bit later this week. Personally I don't expect it to bear much resemblance to the original, and for it to have entirely missed the allegorical nature of it, but we'll see :)
  6. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    The more I think about it...

    I'm trying to like the new version, but as I've continued to consider the differences, I'm realizing there's been virtually NO consideration of WHY 6 resigned. Serial v. Episodic considerations aside... what is the motivation for taking 6 to The Village? For first time viewers, I think it is too confusing.

    For older fans like me, I've been able to fill in some of the blanks, but there's no guarantee those "blanks" will turn out the same. They'd better get into motive and a clearer "back story" soon, or I expect I will lose interest.

    Still, I feel I'm stuck with a commitment to six episodes -- if only to give more thoughtful criticism of how it missed the mark. Of course, I'm still hopeful for the "slower reveal" to have a worthwhile payoff, but I may have to accept this is just a completely different story inspired by the original.

    Also, I slightly modified my "review" and posted it on amctv.com and their chat board. I think the criticism is almost 2-to-1 NEGATIVE there.
  7. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    episodes 3 & 4, brief comments

    Well, tonight was a little better than episode 2.

    There are 3 different pills, not just one. But it seems the essence may be this has gone further into various mind control techniques and less about plot and motives.

    I felt the original ended the way it did because 6's captors got what they wanted -- that is they wanted to know 6's true character and whether he was a threat to them (if they were altruistic). He wasn't a threat to national security, so he was let go -- or let go to be watched more surreptitiously.

    If the NEW version is using mind control, etc. as a technique to test 6 and his character, I'm upset they have blurred the lines for the viewer between reality and hallucination too much. POV's and flashbacks are confused in the details, often contradictory.

    This version is too different for me. I felt the original did a better job expressing the enduring nature of humanity's need for self-determination. I'm still going to watch tomorrow's "ending."

    Amctv.com has the graphic novel available online but I prefer to watch the series fresh
  8. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    The Prisoner Finale - 2009

    I’m not sure what to say about the ending of the new The Prisoner. I’m trying to remember if Patrick McGoohan once said it was all supposed to be a dream, or how he may have expressed its ultimate message.

    Episodes 5 and 6 do a good job of tying things up and explaining the mixed messages of what is the reality, and what is in the mind. If The Prisoner was always a dream, and The Village was always a commune of the mind on some abstract or subconscious level -- then I have to say this was a success. Different, but a success overall.

    People, places, plot have all been changed to some degree. “Schizoid”/ep 5 deals with the dualities of human personality, and “2” is an obvious symbol to exploit. 2 himself exploits this symbolism.

    Episode 6/"Checkmate" peels away all the layers, but leaves us with a slightly different message, depending on your point-of-view. How real is the real world of NYC and Summacor(sp?) where Michael/6 works/worked and is perhaps guilty himself of what he is trying to escape.

    If you watch this The Prisoner on its own, you will be satisfied with this version’s explanation of who 2 and 6 really are, and how The Village was created. Perhaps you will decide who Number One and The One truly is/are. I suppose the final message is deliberately mixed... at least it is to me. People can always be manipulated if you know what makes them tick... or is it if they have a weaker mind/personality? Contrarily, I felt McGoohan said in the end of his creation “Not me! You cannot take away the freedom within my mind! I’m a FREE MAN!”

    I like this overall, but I’m not interested in seeing it again any time soon. I give episodes 1, 5 & 6 three stars. Episodes 3 & 4 about two stars, and episode 2 about one star. But they all have good, bad and telling parts.

    I’m curious to hear all the other views. Especially views based upon other’s varied and contrary perceptions of old/new and anything Mr. McGoohan actually said about the original. How did he describe his allegory? Does this version come close to Patrick McGoohan’s ideal?

    Whatever Roy says, I’ll believe... Unless I don’t...:wink:
  9. pd

    pd Slightly Desperate Staff Member

    I should have posted back to this thread ages ago but the truth is that I watched the first 4 of the 6 episodes and haven't bothered to watch the last 2 yet! I was extremely underwhelmed by the whole thing, despite some pretty decent acting and so on. It just doesn't have the right sort of feel to it. There's little or no humour for one thing, and that's something the original had in spades while still managing to remain very subversive. Anyway I will report back again when I do eventually watch it all (probably when I've run out of NCIS to watch!).

  10. SHAUN I

    SHAUN I It's so clear on the wings of the dawn

    Some of the old classics are always best remembered as they were Paul, my son was watching the new series of Knight Rider the other day, I was very underwhelmed with that too, he seemed to like it, although he has nothing to compare it to, come back "The Hoff", all is forgiven! :D
  11. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    Meet the New Prisoner (same as the graphic novel?)

    Yeah, Paul, I'm the same way. I've got a backlog of NCIS and NCIS:LA (with Chris O'Donnell from my neighborhood) equal to this WHOLE new season to catch up on.

    While I appreciated this "The Prisoner" for what it was, it seems UNANIMOUS it wasn't the same as the McGoohan Masterpiece. A whole different IDEA really starting at the very beginning. It should've tried a different title and somehow explained/excused using certain elements of "The Prisoner" as an homage or something. I think we just wanted a fix of the few cheap production tricks the original had to settle for...

    Did you notice in the credits, Jim Caviezel had an acting coach for this?
  12. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    As Norm McDonald says, "Germans Love David Hasselhof."

    Wow, I think that's been off the air for at least six months here. I get the name of the actor who played the new inventor boss confused. Either his last name is Davison ("Greatest American Hero") or he's the other actor with the other last name that eludes me...
  13. scotpaulabear

    scotpaulabear Halfway up my own guitar, propping up another bar

    After having watched the first part of Day of the Triffids, I know exactly what you're saying Paul - I think I'm giving up on remakes/reinterpretations/"remixes" of telly shows I loved ;) Am curious to see a bit of The Prisoner when it comes on here (when? anyone know?) but mostly for Sir Ian - I'm not a big fan of Caviezel's work, which is a shame considering what big shoes he's stepping into...

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