Top critical review
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waste of time and money
on 25 May 2010
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.