On the surface it is a spy thriller, a continuance of McGoohan's previous television series ‘Danger Man,’ depending on your perspective of the series, But in any case he appears to be something of a confidential agent who resigns from a position of the highest secrecy. He is abducted to the village in order to have the reason for his resignation extracted, and where he will remain for as long as he lives.
Mystery surrounds The Village. Can we really be so sure as to
which side runs The Village, that ‘the Prisoner’ was not about to defect, or
indeed the location of The Village. It has been stated that this surface level of
understanding is difficult to take too literally, for many of the gadgets and
methods employed by the village are too fantastic for normal belief, but yet I
wonder. Leucotomies have been employed, and there are numerous methods employed
to extract information from any such individual. And such methods of torture,
manipulation and trickery have been employed through the centuries and by
organisations around the world, and still are today.
Although ‘the Pri5Oner’ is not technically science fiction,
the white membranic mass of The Village Guardian-Rover does have a science
fiction quality about it. Having independent thought, able to change its size,
its as well underwater as it is on land, and seems to need no sustenance to
maintain its existence.
There is social comment, taking ‘the Pri5Oner’ on another
level. It makes the viewer think of his or her environment. Well it didn't have
that effect upon me at the time as a boy, to ask questions and not simply
accept things as they are. For me it was pure adventure, the questions didn’t
come until later.
The Village represents the society we lived in at the time, and
the society of today, perhaps. ‘The Pri5Oner’ and its social comment are more relevant
today than they were 50 years ago. Number 6 is an individual trying to survive
in a society of numbers. Desperately fighting to maintain both his identity and
individuality. In today’s society, there are those who would like to take both
our identity and individuality away from us, with Number 2 representing all
forms of authority within society.
There is room to question, to theorise and interpret ‘the Pri5Oner,’
and this has been done on several levels over the past decades. And things are
not taken at face value by many of the fans of ‘the Pri5oner,’ yet at times
they can look for the most complicated reason for something, when a far simpler
explanation would do as well, if not better.
The Village can be two things, an actual place where people
who know too much or too little are taken, to have the knowledge in their heads
protected or extracted, either that or The Village is all in the mind and that
could lead to a mental breakdown for anyone!
And entertainment is another level upon which ‘the Pri5Oner’
can be enjoyed. To simply watch each episode without thought or care, only for
its pure entertainment value, which is reason enough to watch such a series
which 50 years ago was ahead of its time, but has withstood the ravages of time.
Such is the seemingly almost timeless quality of ‘the Prisoner,’ well in The
Village at least!
You see you can get as much or as little out of ‘the Pri5Oner’ as
you want. But to get something out you first have to put something in. But
remember, ‘the Pri5Oner’ is there also to be enjoyed, and this should not be
forgotten when you are busy theorising. It should be fun and stimulating, and
that's how I find the Pri5Oner.
Be seeing you