I'm a latecomer to The Prisoner. Primarily because I wasn't alive when it first hit the airwaves in the 1960s, but also because whenever I would catch it, I was always overwhelmingly confused. Why don't these people have names? What is this Village? Is that a giant white balloon chasing him?
When I finally got the chance to watch it in order, I was treated to one of the most innovative and thought-provoking series I'd ever seen. Now, after years in development, AMC's remake of The Prisoner finally has a release date. The six-hour mini-series will air on three nights, starting Sunday November 15th at 8pm ET.
They must be pretty confident in the quality of this remake, because they're offering an opportunity at instant comparison. You can catch The Prisoner's entire original series 17-episode run on AMCtv.com. I'd recommend you do yourself a favor and at least check it out. The Prisoner is one of those projects that anyone who considers themselves a fan of science fiction needs to experience at least once. And "experience" is a good word for it.
With the acting pedigree attached to the latest project, AMC may have nothing to worry about. That and AMC's track record for amazingly high quality dramatic productions. Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) has been cast in the role of the prisoner, or Number Six. The man in charge of The Village is Number Two, played by Ian McKellan (The Lord of the Rings).
As much as I hate that Hollywood is so in love with remakes, I can't help but get excited about some of them. I think the saga of V fell apart tremendously the first time it was turned into a series, so I have high hopes that they've gotten it right this time. And original Prisoner creator and star Patrick McGoohan wanted his series to be no more than seven episodes, so this might be closer to that vision.
I'm also intrigued because the original series was very much a response to the social fears and climates of the time, and we're in a very different world both politically and culturally. We're far more afraid of random terrorism than an organized Communist attack, and we're much more in tune with technology. In fact, the technological changes utilized in the new Prisoner will be as fascinating now as the ones we saw in the '60s were then.
Here's the 9-minute preview they cobbled together for the San Diego Comic-Con to whet your appetite for the mini-series: