Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Prisoner

For the past four days, I've been attending CONvergence, the yearly Minneapolis science fiction convention that takes place on the first full weekend in July. One of the panels I attended was in regards to The Prisoner. There was a 6-episode "remake" of the original 1967 TV show that aired in fall of 2009. Much of the discussion was spent in comparing the two different versions.

Apparently the new version had more in common with the Matrix, Lost and other alternate reality shows than with the original series. Many of the panel attendees agreed that they appreciated the ambiguity of the original more than being handed answers. We discussed whether that was the British vs American way, or 60s culture (post Cold-War) vs modern day. Other topics that arose was whether it was better to have a longer season, which may seem stretched and improvised, or a shorter season that is very well orchestrated.

The new version paid homage to the original not only in the setting of "The Village," but also in the episode titles, such as Schitzoid, Harmony, Anvil (instead of Hammer Into Anvil, Living in Harmony, and The Schitzoid Man). Since it had double the running time, it had more of a leisurely pace, time to get into the mind of our characters, rather than the immediacy of the remake.

Conclusion: If you have time to invest in thinking about the repercussions of reality vs what exists only in one man's mind, the second Prisoner series might be worth giving a try. But the original seems to be superior in every way, so hold off on seeing it until after you give the first a try, lest you be disappointed.

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