Discussion: The Prisoner (2009)

Patrick McGoohan created and starred in a mind-warping and thought-provoking series that developed a cult following. He originally intended it to run seven episodes only, but the network demanded a full season.

More than forty years later, someone has reimagined The Prisoner as a six-episode mini-series. Since it’s running over three nights we’re starting with some thoughts and a discussion. An overall review should appear later this week.

  • The original series provided a possible backstory in the title sequence, and used the series as an exploration of society and conformity. No final explanations for the many mysteries were ever forthcoming. The new series updates and continues that exploration, but it seems headed towards a big reveal.
  • We have that same sense of alienation, of Six as a person in a world where eveyone else seems to know the rules.
  • New York and the spectre of 9-11 looms large over this Prisoner.
  • The actors give strong performances, but I’m missing the dry, understated wit of the original.
  • This Village is larger and set in a vast desert. As in the original, we have a colourful but creepy resort.
  • The series features an interesting soundscape.
  • I’m curious to see where this Prisoner will go– but I wish someone had come up with a completely new mind-warping and thought-provoking series.

The original series is much-referenced, in multiple Simpsons episodes, Moore’s Black Dossier, and in this panel from the second issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

4 replies on “Discussion: The Prisoner (2009)”

  1. Can you update the title of this thread to include 2009 to specify that it is about the AMC version as opposed to the original?

    I’ve only watched the first hour of this so far. I don’t know enough about why the 6 does what he does like comes to the aid of 93. We also don’t know why 6 is in the Village (yet) while in the original series is it stated several times, to get information.


    • Can you update the title of this thread to include 2009 to specify that it is about the AMC version as opposed to the original?

      The title has been updated has always included the year, #7.

  2. I’m going to wait on weighing in, until I see the entire series. Too early to put all the pieces together. V crashed right off the bat, but this is maintaining interest.

  3. I’ve watched the first 2. As a longtime Prisoner fan, I really dislike Cavaziel’s portrayal of #6. We go from a cold master spy to Emo 6. It sounds like he’s choking back the tears when he says “I am not a number”, as opposed to McGoohan’s more forceful assertion.

    The problem is that some of it seems odd for the sake of oddity (wraps? really?), and while some parts resonate, other parts make me think that Dark City handled the exact same topic considerably better.

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