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The Laughing Academy
A Life of Noisy Desperation
"Who is Number One?" 
17th-Nov-2009 11:50 pm
So, the new version of The Prisoner — is anyone else on my friends list watching it? By now the finale will have aired. I’m on the night shift this week so I’ve been taping it. If anyone comments, PLEASE, NO SPOILERS. Thank you.

My initial reactions, based on the first 2.33 episodes:

  • Wow, I miss the prologue and music from the original. The modern credit sequence is generic in comparison.
  • If this is all just a dream/hallucination, I’m going to be really pissed. Unless it turns out that The Prisoner was a cult TV series from the sixties in Six’s reality and he incorporated elements of the show into his hallucinations, in which case, AWESOME.
  • Does every episode end with Six on a stretcher and shouting at Two?
  • Even more than McGoohan’s seething fury, I miss his wry humor in response to the absurdity of his situation.
  • Unnecessary and unconvincing Six/313 romantic tension is unnecessary and unconvincing.
  • If we can only have a single Two, I’m glad he’s Ian McKellen. Also, I love that he made his terrified subjects bring him cake with cherries in.
  • The best Caviezel!Six moment thus far is his realization that his therapist is twins. The scene when he tries to say his name and can’t is a close second, though, because how terrifying would that be?
  • I am intrigued that the Village is no longer just a community set apart from the world but one that apparently exists in place of the world. The downside is that since no outside culture is acknowledged, this show can’t make the literary references the original did. No Goethe quotes for you!
  • Yay Rover with original sound effects! But boo to the lack (thus far) of Villagers freezing in fear as it passes! Though it looks like this Rover may not be a familiar part of life of this Village...
  • The girl in the surveillance techniques class (1100?) = Hermione Granger.
  • Where’s the really batshit stuff? The conspiring undertakers? The cloaked and masked cultists? The martial arts trampoline fights? One brief shot of people in pig masks does not cut it.
18th-Nov-2009 09:15 am (UTC)
When I first heard about this project I definitely had mixed feelings. On one hand, I thought they could give the series a kind of "Lost" spin where things made a bit more sense than the original and maybe have some wild special effects or twists going on that just weren't possible in the b/w original. On the other hand, there was a great deal of charm from the lack of sense in the 60s version, and, as you point out, McGoohan really couldn't be topped, at least not by someone as wooden (no crucifixion joke intended) by Caviezel. Ultimately, it's most like a Bugs Bunny cartoon with McKellen as the rabbit. There really isn't a sense that this is going to be a balanced fight and that takes some of the intrigue away.

I'm really not a "Prisoner" purist, or even an expert; I saw reruns of it and was always intrigued by the concept. But the one element that I found to be true is that this series was ahead of its time by plenty, and that's what's lacking in the miniseries. It is supposed to freak you out and force you to consider a lot of elements of life and death and meaning and perception.

I guess we got the Britney Spears version.
18th-Nov-2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I suppose it's too old-fashioned, but does Two have a small-stature manservant? (I rather liked him in the original show.)

Also, I can't tell from the in-vision listings: have they *really* taken the whimsical episode titles from the original series and cut them down to one word?
19th-Nov-2009 01:30 am (UTC)
No pocket-sized attendants (so far). Instead, Two shares the Palais Two with a bedridden wife and a teenage son.

Yep, all of the new episode titles are based on episode titles from the original series: “Arrival,” “(Living In) Harmony,” “(Hammer into) Anvil,” “(Do Not Forsake Me Oh My) Darling,” “(The) Schizoid Man,” and “Checkmate.”
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