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Saturday 15 February 2014

A Choice Of Two!

    I can remember times when I've been excited about watching 'the Prisoner,' times when it was only possible to watch the series via repeats on terrestrial television. And then 'the Prisoner' was released by Channel 5 in 1986-87, it was the first time the whole series had been released on video. Then like many other fans, I could watch 'the Prisoner' whenever I wished to do so, and it was still exciting, no matter how many times I watched the series, or any individual episode. Last year I didn't watch 'the Prisoner' as a series, just a couple of individual episodes, why didn’t I watch the original series? I don’t know, however I did watch THEPRIS6NER-09 series, twice. And to be perfectly honest I’m not only looking forward to watching the 2009 series again, I’m pretty excited about the prospect. So, why don’t I simply slip in  a DVD of THEPRIS6NER into the player now, and settle myself down to watch an episode? Well I could of course, but there is a saying “less is more!” So I control when I watch THEPRIS6NER, that way the series remains fresh in my mind. No I’m not saying that the original series of ‘the Prisoner’ is becoming stale for me, but perhaps familiarity breeds contempt!
    Ever since I heard about THEPRIS6NER going into production I was excited by the news. It wasn’t to be a direct remake {well what would be the point in that} the new series was to be a reinterpretation, a re-imaging. I wasn’t bothered that Patrick McGoohan wasn’t involved, or that it wasn’t going to be filmed in Portmeirion. For me it was going to be new and fresh, but containing many aspects of the original, and yet be of it’s time, instead of before it’s time. And this after years and years of talk about a new television series, or Hollywood feature film, it was actually going to happen.
    With the original series of ‘the Prisoner,’ it’s powerful right from the very first clap of thunder, and by the time of the opening sequence the television viewer is just as much a prisoner as the Prisoner himself. The whole series is a powerful production, there is nothing subtle about ‘the Prisoner,’ well apart from that time when No.6 finds a new way of dealing with the loudspeaker that cannot be turned off. Instead of trampling it to bits underfoot, he simply and subtly, places it in the refrigerator. So it’s not difficult to appreciate ‘the Prisoner,’ because it has an energy, a potency that cannot be denied. Its sturdiness and striking qualities have helped the series endure over the years. No ‘the Prisoner’ is not known for it’s subtly, but more for it’s “in your face” attitude. Where as THEPRIS6NER is subtlety personified, there is no power in the opening sequence to grip the television viewer, to hold his or her imagination, to make you a prisoner as with the original series. In fact such is the subtlety of THEPRIS6NER, that it takes a couple of screenings to be able to appreciate the series. And yet I was excited by the prospect of the 2009 series from the first moment I heard it was going into production, and I still am excited by the series. Every time I watch an episode I am left wanting more. Each time I’ve watched the series as a whole, at the end I am left wanting more. And that’s it you see, the difference between the two series, less is more!

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