Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for : The Prisoner!!

Of all the British television shows I've every watched, I don't think any have ever made me think more than The Prisoner.

The series, created by star Patrick McGoohan, ran for seventeen episodes from 1967 to 1968 in the U.K. The allegorical show was always meant to be only seventeen episodes long and wound up being one of the biggest cult hits in Brit t.v. history.

It's hard to sum up this show in just a few sentences, but here goes....

A secret agent (we're never, actually, told his name), played by Patrick McGoohan, decides he's had enough of the espionage business and decides to quit. The only thing is, he's way too valuable and knows too much to just let loose into the world. His superiors want to know exactly why he's leaving and what he knows. Just in case it might come back to haunt them in the future. To that end, he's abducted and taken to a place you can't find on any map called, The Village.

In The Village, no one has a name and everyone is a number.

He is Number Six.

The Village is run by Number Two, who takes his orders guessed it....Number One. The Number Twos (they were, usually, replaced each episode for failing to break Number Six) and their cohorts spend the seventeen episode run of the series trying to trick, cajole, bribe, and threaten Number Six into revealing his reasons for leaving the spy game.  Meanwhile, Number Six spends the series trying to escape and/or topple The Village and return home.

Besides the usual "foot soldiers with guns" method of keeping people from vacating the coastal Village,
Number Two also employs something called "Rover". A huge, weather balloon looking, thing that chases attempted escapees down and engulfs them before returning them to The Village. Originally, Rover was supposed to be a mechanical, vehicle, type of device, but budget constraints forced the production crew to improvise so an old weather balloon was used in place of the high tech.

The show touched on all sorts of topics, though "authority versus individualism" seemed to be the overall theme.

I first discovered this how in a book talking about the all time great science fiction shows. Having never heard of it, at the time, I found it at the local Blockbuster (yes, it was that long ago) and, after renting the first, went back and got all seventeen.

I don't think I've yet to see a series as thought provoking as The Prisoner and, if you're a fan of sci-fi, you owe it to yourself to sit down and watch this series.

As they say in The Village......"Be Seeing You."

Honorable Mentions: Police Woman, Peter Gunn, Petticoat Junction

Tune in tomorrow to see how someone can look in the mirror and see a reflection that's not their own....


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember the show, but it's been so long...

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I remember watching the show with my older sister. I was too young to understand everything but it was super tense and creepy. Way ahead of its time.

Andrew Leon said...

I saw that a few times when I was a kid; I should probably check for it on netflix.

I think I can make the Leap and guess tomorrow's.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never even heard of it. Sounds simplistic but deep.

debi o'neille said...

I've never seen it but bet I'd like it. I'm your newest A to Z follower, for the moment, which means my second of fame is almost up. :-)

Robin said...

Never seen this one, but the concept is interesting. Why, why, why do the networks kill the BEST shows after only one season??? This is a mystery that consistently alludes me.

I know you're "Q" and I LOVED that show!

Leslie S. Rose said...

I remember this show, but alas never watched it. It was before I was hooked on British TV.

Lisa said...

I've never heard of this but would love to try it. I'm going to see if they have it on Netflix... I watched Petticoat Junction a lot and loved it because it was silly. Have you ever watched "Life On Mars" It too, was made for only a certain number of episodes and was really cool, in my opinion...

Mark Means said...

@Alex: A good one to dust off and give another look :)

@Susan: Yes, very ahead of it's time. The remake AMC did wasn't that good, imo.

@Andrew: As you know by now, you were correct in your 'leap' ;)

@Diane: An 'oldie' but a goodie :)

@Debi: Sorry for the late welcome, but...welcome and thanks for following along, I appreciate it :)

@Robin: Probably because businessmen, instead of fans, are in charge. Not sure if that's good or bad :)

@Leslie: Worth catching if you get the chance

@Lisa: I did catch a few episodes of that, but never finished it. I'll have to go back and fix that, I think :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...