I just finished watching all six episodes of AMC’s remake of The Prisoner and I guess I shouldn’t have expected much. How could you possibly redo one of the most unique and thought provoking television series without disappointing those of us who idolize the original? After seeing some early teaser featurettes on AMC’s Web site I started to get high hopes for this. I mean, Gandalf as No. 2! And look at this awesome still:
Jesus is about to get crushed by a gargantuan pilates ball! If this series had consisted entirely of No. 6 being chased by rovers I would have been satisfied. Instead we get a confusing mess of mumbled dialog, uninformative flashbacks, more mumbled dialog and 3 or 4 schmaltzy love story plot lines. The rovers have about 15 seconds of total screen time over the course of the entire mini-series.
The original series was full of humor, suspense and sci-fi imagination. No. 6 was always playing a cat-and-mouse battle of wits with his caretakers—never knowing who he could trust. I always thought the key theme of the original was its defense of individualism. No. 6 had a mind of his own and nothing was going to take that away.
The new series starts off completely off-base by opening with No. 6 suffering from amnesia, with no idea who he is or what he believes. So, for pretty much the whole series, six is dazed and confused, with no real sense of purpose as he aimlessly stumbles about The Village. The series lingers too much boring side plots like the inane drama between No. 2 and his annoying son. The other villagers are treated in a far too sympathetic light. Where’s the paranoia? You’d think the writers would have a lot to address in this post 9/11 world regarding individualism and privacy.
If anything, this remake has made me appreciate the original that much more. And really, if you need a more modernized version of The Prisoner, you would be better off just watching Lost.