McGoohan is Number 6, a man whose resignation from the secret service (seen every week in a montage title sequence--itself an impressionistic TV landmark) triggers his abduction and imprisonment in "The Village", a sort of open prison for spies where everyone has a number not a name. It's a pretty comfortable place and the other inhabitants all seem passively to accept the situation, allowing the Village authorities to control and limit their actions without protest (escape attempts are thwarted by mysterious bubble-shaped guards called "Rovers"). Number 6, however, is an indomitable freedom fighter whose refusal to accept the status quo is a metaphor for the individual ego struggling against the forces of social conformity: "I am not a number I am a free man" is the series' most resonant catchphrase.
The Village's allegorical microcosm of society is presided over by Number 2, played by a different actor every week, with whom Number 6 clashes repeatedly in a battle of wills as he continually questions the authority that has imprisoned him ("Who is Number 1?"). In turn the Kafkaesque authorities try to discover the reason why he resigned. His trenchant refusal to provide any reason at all is itself a powerful assertion of individual freedom. The series culminates in perhaps the most bizarre and psychedelic TV episode ever made, "Fallout", in which Number 6's revelatory discovery of the real power that keeps him imprisoned raises more questions than it answers. --Mark Walker
It is either a damning or praising thing to say that this show is the best thing that ever happened to British television.
Praise indeed for the show but damning also since it was made in the 1960s and there has been little to rival it ever since.
Truly thought provoking and insightful this show simply refuses to lie down and go away. It's Orwellian view of a world watched by cameras and a population subjugated by petty belief systems predicts our life today. And therein lies some of it's appeal. We like this stuff. There's an element of the rebel in almost every one of us. We will not be told to shut up and toe the line. And this series still pulls at those strings. The Prisoner has not dated and with often intriguing stories, excellent scripts and a sterling lead role performance by Patrick McGoohan it continues to provoke active discussion and entertains a large and loyal fanbase.
Having this boxed set is a must. For this show is unlike many others in that it has a beginning, a middle and a conclusion. So therefore seeing it all is a prerequisite. And despite the reports stating that the 'answer' is never made clear, any intelligent viewer will understand what it's all about.
The quality of the DVDs is very good. The remastering has brought out the full glory of the show. In fact I'd hazard to say that few of those people who saw the series on it's original run would have seen it look so wonderful.
It's little wonder that this show has been slyly referred to within the plots of other shows, (The Avengers, Columbo and The Simpsons to name but three).
Mysterious and at times demanding this wonderful series rewards the inquisitive viewer with insight and above all great entertainment.
Brilliant fun and worth the money.
Criticisms? Sometimes the series shows its age - it was made in the 60's after all. Some of the technology and fashions look dated by todays standards. As time went on, so some of the scripts became a little weak (like "Its Your Funeral").Read more ›