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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > TV Mini-Series > The Prisoner (2009 remake/Warner DVD Set)

The Prisoner (2009 remake/Warner DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Episodes: C-



Remaking 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 Village.


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 show.


The 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.


The 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.


Extras include four featurettes on the making of the show amounting to about 60 minutes, unaired scenes and even audio commentary tracks on two episodes.


For more on the original show, start at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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