The Prisoner (2009 remake/Warner DVD)
C+ Sound: B- Extras: C Episodes: C-
or continuing a classic is always a doomed proposition and for years, many have
wanted to do just that with Patrick McGoohan’s classic The Prisoner, his great 1967 espionage brainchild that turned out
to be one of the most complex televisions shows ever made. A masterwork by any standard, that show
endures remarkably well all these decades later, yet DC Comics tired to
continue it in the late 1980s in a comic book mini-series. Now, Warner Bros. AMC and Granada have remade the show 42 years later,
and wow, did they butcher it!
It is one
thing to dump The Cold War aspects or another to change the colors and look of
the sets, but another to chop things down to six shows, change the meaning of
the original and be clueless on what you are really doing. Jim Caviezel plays a man who does not know
who he is, turning up in a desert in the middle of nowhere, awakened by a chase
of an old man (an old actor meant to look like McGoohan in a major insult to
the original show and anyone who watches this one) by gunmen. It is here were he learns he is near The
We see in
his flashbacks he has resigned from some office environment in New York City, but don’t know why. Ian McKellan shows up as an odd, mysterious
figure known as 6 and calls our amnesiatic protagonist 6. That leaves the gilded cage of this Village a
falsely happy place where everyone seems to be trapped and no matter what 6
does, he cannot seem to find out what is going on. From there, the show is clueless in what they
are doing, add superfluous back stories that kill any similarities between this
and the original, then go down a road of dullness with no point by the final
makers have obviously read histories on the original show and try to use things
McGoohan tossed in the first one, like the use of Volkswagens. The balloon sentry rover shows up without any
context and the plotting is so goofy that this is almost an entirely different
mini-series hiding behind a superior label.
Additionally, the simple answers and results are highly condescending
and this has absolutely no edge, which is why it was a broadcast dud and no one
is talking about it. Director Nick
Hurran makes this boring, Bill Gallagher’s teleplay is like a very bad imitator
of the original and I am glad McGoohan did not live to suffer through this or
he would have been horrified. It makes
McGoohan’s Danger Man and Secret Agent action series where he
played spy John Drake seem like rocket science.
Avoid at all costs.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is actually shot on film, but this is
softer on DVD than I thought it would be, though a Blu-ray might look
better. At least the color is not too
degraded as is often the case in generic productions these days. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is better with a
good soundfield and quality recording of all elements throughout, making it the
default highlight of the set.
include four featurettes on the making of the show amounting to about 60
minutes, unaired scenes and even audio commentary tracks on two episodes.
on the original show, start at this link:
- Nicholas Sheffo