Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm

The Prisoner (2009)

Non-spoiler review: Ignore the first four episodes of The Prisoner and see the last two, shown in a block, "Schizoid" and "Checkmate". Still not great, but at least they're a semi-worthy follow-up.

Having seen all six episodes, I'm still not sure why they approached the subject the way they did. The first four don't make any sense, even in retrospect. The best parts are the nods to the old series (such as the big wheeled bicycles and #6's house in The Village), Ian McKellen and the dash of romance.

I don't think you need to have seen the first four to get into the fifth episode. They do a decent job of reintroducing the characters, sometimes in greater depth than earlier, and reminding us of the plot elements (such as they were). Since I'd seen them, it's hard to say, but I was watching for that.

The original series is dated and not all the episodes work, but remains as a groundbreaking experiment that altered how we look at heroes and television. The remake... isn't. The attempts at disorientation and montage manipulation are just annoying. Worse, they're boring. The last two episodes largely abandon the attempt at confusion, making the narrative nearly linear.

The web site has the producer explaining what was going on, episode by episode, which I haven't seen but look okay. They'll probably be extras on the DVD. AMC is desperately trying to be an interactive cable channel. They're a decade too late to be on the cutting edge of this. As is often the case, the strength of their product is the weakness in their strategy: It's hard to get people to comment during real time when the material is largely recorded or downloaded later. I wish them well, but haven't done irc or liveblogging on my current computer or internet connection.

AMC is showing the last two episodes in a block tonight (Thurs) and all six will be repeated. Presumably, they'll be on DVD fairly soon. No real hurry, except to have seen them before spoilers become common.

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