After resigning, a secret agent is abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic village, but is really a bizarre prison. His warders demand information. He gives them nothing, but only tries to escape.
John Drake is a special operative for NATO, specializing in security assignments against any subversive element which threatened world peace. The series featured exotic locales from all ... See full summary »
Three years after the original "Danger Man" series concluded, it was revamped and continued in a longer format. (1 hour/episode instead of 30 minutes). John Drake was now a Special Security... See full summary »
John Steed and his new accomplices Purdey and Gambit find themselves facing new and deadly dangers in the bizarre world of espionage. Mixing fantasy with a darker edge, the trio face ... See full summary »
In the year 1980 the Earth is threatened by an alien race who kidnap and kill humans and use them for body parts. A highly secret military organization is set up in the hope of defending ... See full summary »
"The Prisoner" is a unique piece of television. It addresses issues such as personal identity and freedom, democracy, education, scientific progress, art and technology, while still remaining an entertaining drama series. Over seventeen episodes we witness a war of attrition between the faceless forces behind 'The Village' (a Kafkaesque community somewhere between Butlins and Alcatraz) and its most strong willed inmate, No. 6. who struggles ceaselessly to assert his individuality while plotting to escape from his captors. Written by
Stuart Berwick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Signs with "Residents Only" and "Private, Residents Only", feature regularly in the series, written on walls and even on the grass. These may be "artefacts" from Portmeirion (which is a hotel in real life), however, they are something an in-joke, since everyone in the Village is by definition a "resident" anyway. See more »
The number and knocker on the outside of Number 2's front door change style and position both within and between episodes. See more »
Most (but not all) episodes begin with a recap taken from the first episode of Number Six waking in his "new home" and looking out of his window at the Village. This is followed by a standard dialogue between him and Number Two (i.e. "Where am I?" "In the Village.") which plays out under the episode credits. In most episodes, the actor playing Number Two recites the lines during this sequence, but in some episodes an uncredited male actor does the chore. The sequence is altered on two notable occasions: The Number Two played by Colin Gordon in two episodes introduces himself as "I am Number Two" instead of "The New Number Two" as all other actors do. In the episode "Many Happy Returns" the face of that week's Number Two is not revealed during the sequence in order to preserve the element of surprise. See more »
Excellent until the last episode. Still one of televisions greatest moments.
"The Prisoner" was an excellent series until the last episode, "Fall Out". It wasn't perfect -- some episodes were better than others, and those that were intended to be part of the abortive "second season" were generally not as good as the first 13 episodes produced (note that these aren't necessarily the first 13 episodes aired...). However, the program was consistently entertaining, interesting, thought provoking, and unquestionably unique. I had watched various episodes of "The Prisoner" over the years (It ran a fair amount on educational television in the 1970s) and was very impressed with what I saw, but I didn't get a chance to see the concluding episode until many years later. To say that I was disappointed is a significant understatement.
The problem of setting up any "mythology" in a show, as Chris Carter found out with the "X Files", is that sooner or later you have to answer the questions that you've raised. That's where the last episode loses it -- it answers nothing about the previous 16 episodes, but rather asks a number of new questions, and then doesn't answer them either!
It would appear that the reason for the odd number of episodes of the Prisoner was that it was cancelled with 16 episodes either in the can, or still in production, and "Fall Out" was written in a great rush at the last minute to close out the series. Although in earlier interviews, MacGoohan said that all the answers were in the final episode, in a more recent interview, he has stated (regarding "Fall Out") -- "If anybody admits to understanding it, then please pass the understanding on to me."
I don't know if there would have been a more coherent ending if the premature cancellation had not occurred, or if original producer George Markstein (who left after the first 13 episodes due to differences with Patrick MacGoohan) had stayed. Overall, it is a pathetic end to an otherwise superb series. Mind you, the fact that there wasn't a coherent ending (plus the presence of lots of symbolism to encourage endless debate on what it all *really* means) is probably the main reason for the cult attraction of the series. Even with the inadequate ending, this series is a highlight of how thought provoking television can be if it's done properly.
24 of 40 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?