“Prisoner” remake not really a remake.


TV Squad covered the Prisoner panel which had star Jim Caviezel and producer/writer Bill Gallagher as guests.  They showed a nine minute clip from the miniseries, and this is the impression blogger John Scott Lewinski had:

Also, the design of the new Village captures that creepy, soulless atmosphere of the planned housing community. The Village is evidently located in a massive desert, and its architecture wears the bland coloring and polished uniformity of the newer areas of Las Vegas or Phoenix. The only atmosphere is no atmosphere, and that was a stroke of genius by the art department.

Still, I could tell little else from the preview footage. Worse still, Gallagher had a line during the open discussion that makes me worry: “McGoohan’s (Prisoner) was about the assertion of the individual. Mine was more, ”What if the arrogance of the individual became our undoing?'”

First of all, this is still McGoohan’s Prisoner. It may be updated, but the premise belongs to him — no matter how a new writer seeks to possess and re-present it.

Second, if Gallagher’s remarks are an indication of the thematic soul of the show, it’s as far removed from McGoohan’s Prisoner as it could possibly be. I’m left with a nightmare vision of a Prisoner urging the individual viewer to act in the best interests of society or the state. Please tell me this isn’t going to be a 2009 Hollywood’s populist wet-down on a classic celebration of individual will and rights. The Prisoner should rise above current politics and examine greater themes of philosophy and civilization.

This is an intriguing observation for me.  What I took away from the series, and I only recently re-watched it having seen some episodes way back in sixth grade, was about personality control. It was about conformity, and how a given society forces us to conform to values that are inherent to survive in that atmosphere. Number 2’s  struggle was to break out of the conformity imposed upon him, and was about defining his own person. I feel like the show was literally the birthplace of the thought “being more than just a number” that I found was often used when deciding on colleges.  Where kids wanted to go to smaller schools rather than big ones with class sizes numbering in the hundreds.

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