The Prisoner (season 1)

{3.5/5} “I will not make any deals with you. I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.”

After a man resigns from his job, he’s drugged and whisked off to a town that’s called “the Village” where he finds himself a prisoner. The people in charge, who already know a lot about him, want to know why he resigned. They call him Number Six, and he doesn’t particularly feel like answering their questions. Everything you could want can be found in the Village — except freedom. Of course, Number Six tries to escape.

The Prisoner originally aired in 1967-68.

I feel like I would have been wowed by this series more if I’d seen it in the 1960s. The fight scenes aren’t very realistic, and the acting in general seems not the greatest. The writers’ knowledge of computers and technology is slim. Like its contemporary Star Trek it can be silly at times.

However, the premise is brilliant and it explores many subjects worth exploring including brainwashing, conformity, and paranoia. Number Six frequently interacts with Number Two — but the person known as Number Two changes regularly. He’s always trying to find out who Number One is.

Although the situation is serious, Number Six manages to keep his sense of humour most of the time.

The episode where Number Six wakes up in a different house and is told he’s Number Twelve is a good one. In general I liked the earlier episodes better than the later ones. In particular, the finale is fairly bizarre and didn’t make a lot of sense.

It’s an influential show, but watching it for the first time 45 years later I was a bit disappointed — maybe that’s inevitable.

The music is playful and jazzy.

Patrick McGoohan (Escape from Alcatraz) plays Number Six — he also wrote and directed several episodes. McGoohan previously played secret agent John Drake in Danger Man — here he may or may not be playing the same character. John Castle (The Lion in Winter) plays Number Twelve in one episode.

The show was created by Patrick McGoohan and George Markstein (writer of The Odessa File).

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 3:25 pm and is filed under Reviews of TV shows. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply