Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The Prisoner

The Prisoner was a very odd British show from the 60's. It was created by and staring Patrick McGoohan who passed away yesterday at the age of 80. I watched this show back in college on the brand new Sci Fi channel. I didn't quite understand it and the ending didn't help. If you never watched it, the show followed the imprisonment of ex-spy in an odd resort of a prison called The Village. He was #6. Each week a new #2 would try to find out information from him. Why did he quit the spy biz? What does he know? He never told them anything useful. He was always trying to meet #1 which was either a monkey or a missile. They ended up dancing on the back of a truck driving down a British freeway as their escape. It was very odd.

Even though it was technically a spy drama, it had a huge influence on modern SciFi. Babylon 5 had references to it. The Cylon spy from the new Battlestar Galactica is named #6 in an obvious reference to the show. Elsewhere in pop culture, The Simpsons referenced the show three times. Most memorable when Marge is escaping from the cult Movementarians and she avoids the Rover which then takes out Hans Moleman.

But later this year The Prisoner is going to return in the form of a mini series staring Gandalf and Jesus. I read that it won't have the more infuriating aspects of the original series: unanswered questions. The original show ended with more unanswered than answered questions. What didn't they want to know? What was he hiding? What was the Village? Who was number one? What the eff were they smoking when they wrote this show?

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