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Tuesday 14 March 2017

The Prisoner Released On True Entertainment!

    Last night I sat ready to watch ‘the Prisoner’ on television for the first time in years. I felt more than a twinge of excitement, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the fact that there were only two commercial breaks. So no cuts were made to ‘Arrival,’ which was the only episode I watched, so I cannot speak for ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ The picture quality was superb, the sound quality crisp and clear. However I’m not so sure about the change in the picture aspect ratio of 16:9 which stretched the picture. Yes ‘the Prisoner’ filled the full rectangular television screen, but in turn cut off the bottom of the picture. In ‘Arrival’ for example, Number 2’s chair wasn’t quite as round as it should be, and the sign “Walk on the grass” you couldn’t read the last word “grass.” And you could hardly see the Prisoner lying on the sand after being suffocated by the Guardian. When it came to the first of the two commercial breaks, I waited on tenter hooks to see if they would use the “commercial bumpers,” the disassembling of the canopied Penny Farthing before the break, and reassemble after the commercial break. They didn’t. And then we come to the closing credits, and something unusual. The closing credits had not been “stretched” like the episode in order to fill the rectangular screen, but remained in their original square aspect ratio of 4:3. Well they had to leave the closing credits alone, otherwise there would have been a squat canopied Penny Farthing building up as the closing credits ran. And yet they did manage to fill the screen! What they did was to leave the closing credits in their original 4:3 picture aspect ration, then added cleverly coloured extensions to blend into both sides of the credits so that the 16:9 aspect television screen was filled. It was a clever idea, and it did work, but only just, as the shadow from the statue in the foreground wasn’t extended to the edge of the full screen. Such are my thoughts on last nights screening of ‘the Prisoner.’ Although the change in picture ratio did spoil it a little, I did thoroughly enjoy watching ‘Arrival’ last night.

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