|Open space, total death. THE PRISONER returns. Image: AMC.|
"I am not a number! I am a free man."
So says the trapped but defiant Number Six within the confines of his "happy homestead", in the classic and iconic series THE PRISONER, one of world televisions greatest and most memorable series from the sixties, created by the fiery and enigmatic genius writer/director/actor Patrick McGoohan for cigar chomping Sir Lew Grade's product making powerhouse ATV-a decidedly one-off season, seventeen episode thriller that combined action and fantasy, as well as generating all-out weirdness, atmosphere, surreal black comedy and suspense in equal dollops. Now, years on, its modern series 2009 re-imagining from ITV and the US AMC channel receives its first exclusive airing on the UK's SYFY Channel from November 16th, boasting the highest standard of production values, glossy location filming in South Africa, a few nice modern day plot twists here and there from overall writer Bill Gallagher, and a compelling and noteworthy performance from the always reliable Sir Ian McKellen, as the enigmatic and malevolent ruler of "The Village" - Number Two. Sadly, despite all the good intentions of the shows makers with the update (including its director, Nick Hurran), the series suffers from a finale thats ultimately too predictable-something the original's closure never was!- whilst always likeable lead star Jim Caviezel, having occasionally memorable scenes (always those in which he's squaring off against McKellen), doesn't quite have the powerful stature or ability to thoroughly convince as the new version of the captured Six, ultimately failing to create a worthy successive performance to match the late, great, screen dominant McGoohan. Fortunately, despite certain flagging moments over the six week run, the returning presence of The Village's mysterious balloon-like "creature" known as Rover, used by its fictional makers as some kind of defensive weapon, makes the odd welcome appearance here and there to shore things up with some much needed, good old fashioned nostalgia value.
Trailer: New Trailer For The Prisoner (2009) - YouTube
Longtime fans dedicated to the memory and legacy of THE PRISONER love or loathe this new series. And, if you haven't already seen it, why not watch it and decide for yourself which camp gets the closest response...
"Be seeing you!"
The old and new series of THE PRISONER are both available on Blu-ray and DVD.