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3.5 out of 5 stars60
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on 11 May 2015
I enjoyed this series very much, despite being old enough to have already seen the original. This is not quite a remake as ssuch much rather a re-dramatisation. The story line can be confusing if you do not give it your full attention. The trick is to imagine yourself in this situation and imagine your own reactions. Would you run around like a stark raving lunatic trying to fathom your situation, or would you slow down a bit and try to sort out the complexities of your "reality". As an actor I love Jim Caviezel and I take offence to his perfomance being described as "wooden". The characters in this adaption were understated instead of overstated as in the original. Sir Ian McKellan comes across at times as benevolent and others as completely sinister, which is done to completely baffle the viewer. They say that every bad guy has some good in him. With his character, this is shown in the devotion he "shows" his wife - even if it is done via keeping her medicated. His phycological manipulation of Jim Caviezel's character is pure evil. The guy can't tell truth from reality - is this a bad dream???
To all you knockers out there, I say, please revisit this series and watch it with fresh eyes and an open mind. Think along the lines of Trance and you may have a clearer insight.
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on 26 February 2016
Okay so it's not the original , but as a reimagining it's stands up pretty well.
No one could ever replace Patrick McGoohan as Number Six and that's always going to be a problem but if you come
to this as a new drama then the performances of Ian McKellern, Ruth Wilson and Hayley Atwell along with the beautiful shooting and incidental music all help bring depth.
It's far closer to European cinema than American standard fare in appearance , give it a chance especially at these prices!
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I have watched all six episodes. quite simply I found this series very slow, dreary, dull and boring. The idea of revisiting the themes of a classsic series like the Prisoner from the 60s seems interesting. But this version is very different from the original and only borrows a few ingrediants from the original. It is not a true re make. This might be ok if you were looking for an element of originality but it fails to do so. For me personaly, things like the Village had a distinctive and interesting and colourful presentation in the original series. But this version of the village is just a pile of wooden huts. I felt no real sense that number six is being held prisoner. He seems to just accept it when it is implied that there is no escape. In the original series the villiage had a feel of a world seperate from the normal world. This helped to give it an identity of a prison like society where everything seems normal on one level but clearly is unlike the normal world we know. In this version the best they could come up with was a few wooden houses in a desert. Some ordinary looking cars and buses and number six makes little effort to actually escape. The opening episode I felt was rushed and the other episodes dragged along. In fact all of the sets seemed depressing to look at and the music score droned along relentlessly beckoning me to close my eyes because there was no excitement and the pace of the show was sleepsville. There was a bit of an attempt to re imagine a simular thought provoking angle to that in the original but by episode six I really didnt care where the village was, who was six or who was two or who was one. I didnt care if there was any escape either.
In the original series there are touches of counter culture,social manipulation, mind control and social engineering. Number six recognises that everyone in the village is being controlled. The series invited us to compare the democracy and society of the village with our own real world.
In this new version of the Prisoner there are not so many of those issues and in fact it seems to almost be an "anti original" exploration of the concept of a prison like society. What I mean is that in this new series Number Two is painted much more as a hero who has saved people in society, the prison like village is for the peoples own good and towards the end number six actually appears to be conforming to the rules of society.
The whole concept of the original is treated as an old idea from the start when our hero wakes up and helps an old man who is dressed like the Patrick McGoohan character, (he is the only one in the entire series to be dressed in the black blazer with white trim, and later we discover that his living space is very sixties looking unlike all the other places in the village. The old man (who clearly is representative of the old number six from the original series) dies within ten minutes of the first episode. So from the very start we are told to forget the original prisoner. The rest of the series seems like a denial of the social issues raised in the original series. The first episode borrows most of the ideas from the original series first episode but after that the other five episodes are very different.
The original may seem dated to some people. the psychodelic element usually gets critiscised as a factor which dates it, but in comparison to this version it did have bright sets, a quicker pace and intrigue. I think this was a complete waste of time and is a bad advert for the standards of modern tv.
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on 29 May 2010
Yes, I am a fan of the original Prisoner BUT the very fact this was not presented as just a straight remake but a "revisioning" I thought was intriguing. So I tried my best to put all preconceptions to one side, sat back and watched......

I think it was in the 2nd episode, when No 6 was driving endlessly around endless dunes, that I found my eyes dropping and my wife saying to me - it's not actually very entertaining to watch, is it?

What do you mean, entertaining? Surely that's not the point of this kind of programme!!

Well actually yes, some of us do watch to be entertained - stimluated, intrigued, challenged yes, but all these things can be done in an entertaining format - if the production is good enough. On the weekend that the final episode of the new Prisoner was shown, we also had the final episode of Ashes to Ashes. One had us moving between sympathy, fright, doubt, anger, and sorrow at or for the main characters and their predicament; it had great settings; it was fast paced; it had some great acting; and it was thoroughly entertaining.

The other was the Prisoner ("revisioned").

I found I soon forgot this was called the Prisoner and watched it on its own merits - though I liked the occasional references to the original (eg the penny farthing in the nightclub, the titles of each episode). But unlike the original there was no action, no entertainment. The story moved incredibly slowly - there were only 6 episodes but it felt like there were 17. Jim Caviezel was as others have said incredibly wooden. While Ian Mckellen is incapable of a bad perfomance, he was not really sinister (except when eating cherry cake!!) Even the fantastic setting in Africa - search for Swapokmund and you'll see some fantastic images on line - I found wasted. There was no feeling - and here I am comparing with the original - of an individual being trapped and fighting to escape or vanquish his captors.

The best plot line involved the emotional entanglement of No 6 and two women in the Village, and back in his previous life.

There were some good moments, it was well produced, but it was not good enough and I suspect if it did not borrow the name of the original it would have sunk without trace. In fact I doubt in 30+ years time there will be many people who remember the Prisoner revisioned. Unlike the original....
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on 26 February 2012
Leave aside comparisons with the original series and consider this as a TV show in it's own right. Is it entertaining? No it's weak and dull. It just passes by leaving very little impression. An inconsequential ghost of a show. Jim Caviezel is pretty but is a sort of charisma vacuum. It's so hard to give a damn about anything here. Even the last episode is dreary. It's not even a disaster, it's just nothing. Boredom and ennui in a can. Like a small egg stain on a dead man's tie in a charity shop. Like drinking vaguely nasty tap water.
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on 28 May 2012
to watch or not to watch? that is the question. i wouldn't recommend, unless really really bored and fed up, bit weird and un-interesting after the first episode, it gets to the point where i was forcing myself to watch the whole thing through to the end. good household names, but i was waiting for something exciting to happen and it never did.
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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2012
Unlike the 1960s original, Prisoner 2009 is a clever rather than a groundbreaking TV series. It's also a very tough sell. McGoohan was already an attractive hero from his Dangerman days and the Prisoner initially had the feel of that same character. Caviezel's No. 6 is not a spy and former olympic boxer and fencer; he just appears to be a systems analyst in a large corporation who has recently quit.

The nature of the village in this series is unclear from the start and becomes less clear as the series progresses. No. 2 maintains that the village is all there is and yet there are regular new arrivals from somewhere. Indeed No. 6 seems to become as confused as the audience, unsure if his memories of the real world are true or not. Halfway through the series I was rather bored with it. The hero had no fight and seemed clueless, the other characters were mostly unlikable and nothing seemed to make much sense. However, miraculously, the ending brings EVERYTHING into focus and suddenly it was a much better series than I thought it was.

Most people will have struggled through a difficult book which although they didn't enjoy reading much, had a very satisfying conclusion, that improved their life just a tiny bit. Well, this story left me with a similar feeling.

There seems much confusion as to the meaning of the ending of the original Prisoner series but to me it simply showed once again (in a metaphorical way) that the control and intrusion of the village was everywhere, and that we were all responsible for it. Although the tone of this series is totally different from the original it still asks that key question of how much of your privacy and self-control you will sacrifice for a safe and happy life. It also makes the answer to that question harder than ever.
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on 27 May 2010
The late Patrick McGoohan's cult masterpiece The Prisoner is one series that should never, EVER have been remade. Wether a straightforward remake or a 're-imagining' the orginal is so iconic, unique and highly regarded that any new version was almost doomed to failure, and fail this certainly does. Bearing very little resemblance to the original aside from one or two scenes in the first episode that are lifted word for word from the classic series pilot episode, and the basic premise of the village, this takes Mcgoohan's fantastic concept and promptly sets about soiling it's memory. A HUGE mistake was in the casting of Jim Caviziel in the title role - he is simply terrible. Wooden beyond belief and totally lacking in the charisma, righteous anger, and acting ability of the magnificent McGoohan, Caviziel is painful to watch. Whereas McGoohan's numer 6 was the epitome of rebellion, resourcefulness, tough, sharp-witted and unrelenting in his determination to escape and get one over on his captors, Caviziel is a total wet lettuce who hardly even bothers to try and escape and makes you wonder why anyone would even bother with him. The plot is confused, turgid, slow and uninvolving, lacking the wry humour, surrealism and britishness of the original. Only Ian McKellan turns in a decent performance but it's far from his finest hour.
Apparently McGoohan was asked to appear in this remake before he died and he turned it down saying it already been done. If only they'd listened to him. Absolutely dire.
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on 22 March 2013
Don't buy this expecting a simple remake-it isn't.

In fact, might have been better to have had a completely different title. Unlike the original, it does not have a super-charismatic lead actor (quite the reverse), fast moving plots, amazing sets or foot tapping music (again, quite the reverse). What it does have is a much greater emphasis on the psychological aspect of 6's dilemma. It is in the end a simple choice between the good and evil which co-exists in all of us. This series makes much more direct reference to catholic theology (McGoohan was a devout catholic) and the concepts of "conscience" and "free will" than the original did-until the final 2 episodes it was largely a straight forward action/adventure series which is why so many people were furious at the obscure climax.

The point of the original was that 6 at the end is revealed to be the "No 1" he has been demanding to know the identity of-6 embodying "good" and 1 "evil" within the same person. See later interviews with McGoohan if you don't believe me!

The point is....we all have a choice......
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on 17 June 2014
It is perfectly possible to do a good 're-imagining' of a classic series - the BBC series 'Sherlock' being a classic example of a re-imagining that works brilliantly. The important thing is to recognize what made previous versions successful and to stay true to the basic characters, however much of the plot you choose to change.

In the original Prisoner series, Patrick McGoohan had charisma and menace - you believed in him as a secret agent who could and would kill someone without hesitation if he considered it necessary. In the re-imagined Prisoner, Jim Caviezel has all the charisma and menace of a wet lettuce - a man who would have difficulty in fighting his way out of a paper bag.

In the original, a new number two is introduced for every episode - each convinced he has a novel way to break no. 6 where his predecessors have failed - only to be outwitted and replaced in defeat. The re-imagining makes a big mistake in maintaining the same no. 2 throughout. Moreover, Ian McKellen as no. 2 dominates the production by comprehensively out-acting Jim Caviezel.

So very disappointing - a wasted opportunity to redo and update a cult classic. But it did prompt me to watch the original again and realize that despite its age it was a remarkable production and way ahead of its time. The central concept of individual liberty versus a controlling authority is even more relevant to the present day than when it was made.
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