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I am not a number, I'm a mefi front page post
October 1, 2007 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I am not a number, I am a free man. Forty years ago "The Prisoner" made it's American debut on CBS. A surreal and challenging science fiction series that follows "Number 6," a former government operative sent into a seemingly idyllic but twisted prison known as "The Village". Over the course of seventeen episodes, Number 6 struggles to retain his identity in the face of sophisticated and relentless attempts by the powers-that-be (led by people known only as "No. 2") to extract his secrets. It ended with a final episode that defies explanation and caused it's writer (the show's star Patrick McGoohan) to go into hiding after it aired.

Incorrectly assumed to be a spin off of the highly popular series Patrick McGoohan starred in earlier, Danger Man (known in the US as Secret Agent Man). It has spawned a failed remake attempt, numerous parodies, an appreciation society, a convention, and dozens of books. Be seeing you.
posted by inthe80s (79 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am not a number, I am a free man.

But I feel like a number...

posted by jonmc at 9:34 AM on October 1, 2007


its
posted by interrobang at 9:37 AM on October 1, 2007 [9 favorites]


It also spawned an Iron Maiden song.
posted by jonson at 9:39 AM on October 1, 2007


The link from The Straight Dope (the "defies" one) is, as are many TSD writeups, freakin' hilarious.
posted by pax digita at 9:39 AM on October 1, 2007


I originally only knew about The Prisoner from TSD. Then I watched some of the first episodes. There's definitely a feeling of Finding Things Out, but you never actually get any answers. Many current shows (for instance Lost, from what I understand, and obviously X-Files) are like that now. For this alone McGoohan deserves death.
posted by DU at 9:43 AM on October 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


one of the most original tv shows ever made.

mcgoohan's first show was "secret agent". "secret agent man" was the theme song, some of the best tv theme music ever made.

personal note: i grew up in pacific palisades, and there was a longstanding, pervasive rumor that mcgoohan had purchased a house in our neighborhood, on land adjoining ours at a single corner point, but i'm unaware that anybody ever went downtown to check the title, and nobody ever saw mcgoohan in the vicinity. nobody! that's a secret agent fer ya.
posted by bruce at 9:44 AM on October 1, 2007


North of the 49th, one of the best treatments -- I suspect EVER -- of this show was when TVOntario aired the entire series with pre- and post-episode commentary by a man named Warner Troyer. His intro told you what to look for in each episode, and his after-show comments helped the viewer - if not understand -- at least appreciate McGoohan's mind at work.

Troyer made me a huge fan of that show. (As an aside, I love the UK approach of getting in, telling your story and getting out, leaving a classic in your wake and not succumbing to the clamour of those who want to dilute the magic by adding derivative sequels where none were originally planned.)

Years later, I wrote TVO and asked if they had packaged "The Prisoner Puzzle" (the series plus the Troyer commentaries) for sale. Alas, they had not. To this day, it remains a hope that some enterprising VCR owner of the day recorded the whole series with commentaries and has uploaded / will upload it somewhere. Someday.
posted by Mike D at 9:48 AM on October 1, 2007


In summarizing the series' cultural impact, it would be a terrible shame to neglect The Times' "I Helped Patrick MacGoohan Escape"
posted by kowalski at 9:49 AM on October 1, 2007


If you're going to include a link to sixofone, you should also include a link to sixofone-info: 'Everything you need to know about the disgraced Society of the TV series "The Prisoner"'.
posted by nylon at 9:51 AM on October 1, 2007


I'm working my way through the series right now. Some episodes are easier to watch than others. The set design is incredible, and they pulled off a brilliant, cheap effect with a weather balloon (called "Rover", which will track you down, devour you, and then you wake up in the infirmary).

Be seeing you!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:51 AM on October 1, 2007


The last episode was one of the biggest TV show "WTF!"s I've ever seen.

I actually found out about the show from the Simpsons episode that parodies the show. I decided to check it out and it sucked me in. I watched all 17 episodes over 2-3 days when I didn't have anything else to do. I was kind of hoping that the last episode would round things up and give us some answers, though I didn't really expect it. What I really didn't expect was how the episode ended up.
posted by Godbert at 9:52 AM on October 1, 2007


As PS to the TVOntario reference, a transcript of Warner Troyer's interview with McGoohan, done for "The Prisoner Puzzle" is here
posted by Mike D at 9:53 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, the show has quite a following, and the place that most of it was filmed, Portmeirion (in Wales) is home to an annual gathering of fans of the show. Someday I hope to get out there just to see the place, if not for the gathering.
posted by Godbert at 9:54 AM on October 1, 2007


The TV remake may not come to pass, but there's still talk about a Hollywood feature film version. (that post is from '06 but I have read similar blurbs more recently)
posted by briank at 10:03 AM on October 1, 2007


Battlestar Galactica re-inventor Ron Moore said that he named Six the Cylon "Six" because of The Prisoner. And those weather balloons were a happy (?) accident -- the machine they'd built to be the killer-grabber-getter-thingy wouldn't work, and somehow at the last minute they wound up with a weather balloon.

Be seeing you! (jaunty salute)
posted by tzikeh at 10:07 AM on October 1, 2007


Excellent post inth80s. So appreciate your seventeen episodes links.

Seconding Portmeirion, Snowdonia (northern Wales), that neck of the woods. The valleys there are extraordinarily beautiful. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen on the planet.

About the awesome show on Wikipedia. "The Prisoner is a 1967 UK allegorical science fiction television series". McGoohan's summary of the show "...We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche... As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy. We're at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed..."

Watching that show as a kid helped prepare me for some of the Orwellian dystopian convolutions I see now on any given day, eg 9/11 Is Over.
posted by nickyskye at 10:08 AM on October 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've been to Portmerion, though not for the fan convention. I enjoyed the original run, but I'm hardly a fan. The place is fabulous. It's about as remote as you can get in Wales, and you really need a car to reach it, but it looks even better in real life than in the show. My one regret is that I didn't stay in the village -- they rent out the cottages used in the series, or you can stay in the hotel -- though it's pretty expensive. At night, they close the place down, chuck out all the day trippers, and the guests have the place to themselves.

One day I'll get around to it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:09 AM on October 1, 2007


The Prisoner was a fantastic show.

My family avidly watched it when it was originally broadcast, but even weirder was when it was re-broadcast by the time I made it into college.

Oregon Public Broadcasting re-aired it in the late 70s, and to take up the time that was left for commercials, they would discuss the meaning of the show with the dean of the School of Psychology from Oregon State University.

There was lots of discussions about the dual meaning of Rover, both robotic police office and emblem of #6's fears.

Oh, and he drove one of the most bitchin' cars that ever was.
posted by Relay at 10:13 AM on October 1, 2007


The Prisoner was like the Ketamine dreams of a paranoid cold war mod. It was the anti-James Bond.

When we were stationed in England in the early 70's it was a family ritual to watch the Prisoner (and Star Trek - which was usually on right before) as a family.

The last episode inspired a family catch phrase... when youre busted doing something unexplainably stupid —like locking the keys to the car in the trunk while up skiing— you dance around like a monkey and sing "Dem bones, dem bones, dem DRY boooones..."

It wasn't until year later, when I would force my college roommates to watch it on PBS, that I realized how fucked up and cool that show really was (and how cool my parents must have been for letting us watch it).
posted by tkchrist at 10:34 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am glad someone marked the occasion--I had been intending to make a post about the anniversary, but did not find the time. Well done!

Once you are aware of the show, you see its lasting impact everywhere, and not just in the television shows and films that came after and explored similar themes. Check out the morning coat from Thom Browne's Black Fleece collection for Brooks Brothers: here. The collection was advertised, I believe, with a sportscoat in the same style. I'd love to have an entire Number 6 outfit (and drive a Lotus 7--saw one on the road in a national park last week, but not KAR 420C), but I don't think I could pull off the black-with-white-piping.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:35 AM on October 1, 2007


The remake failed? Hurrah!

Sorry, but it's not something that can be remade. And especially not by yanks.
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on October 1, 2007


I hardly ever contribute to the blue, but this time I couldn't resist. I watched the original series on ITV in the UK as a kid and had no idea it was the 40th (Holy Shit! FORTY YEARS AGO!!) anniversary.

We all assumed at the time that it was supposed to be the "Danger Man" (as it was originally known) character leaving whatever shady government service he worked for and then being held so he didn't go over to the other side.

I remember the last episode and how just about everybody said What the Fuck was THAT all about? Almost as indecipherable as '2001 A Space Odyssey' was the first time around. Still doesn't make a lot of sense but a brilliant series and way, way ahead of its time.

Be seeing you.
posted by worker_bee at 10:38 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


To everyone who was unhappy with the ending, I offer a quote from a sign mounted in #6's apartment:

“Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.”
posted by Area Control at 10:38 AM on October 1, 2007


We're so down with The Prisoner at our house that my husband has a canopied penny-farthing tattooed on his ankle. No lie.
posted by digaman at 10:40 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


You are number 65186.
posted by ardgedee at 10:41 AM on October 1, 2007


“Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.”

I have to remember to get this made up as a sign for my office.
posted by GuyZero at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oddly, where I lived, it was originally broadcast late afternoon or early evening on Sundays. I can't remember, but I do remember that it was at an odd time.

I am an early adopter of almost nothing, but I ate this series alive, when it was first aired.
posted by Danf at 10:50 AM on October 1, 2007


So appreciate your seventeen episodes links.

When I saw that seventeen episodes was seventeen letters, I couldn't resist.

I am glad someone marked the occasion

I was just shocked there were virtually no Prisoner mentions on mefi. I started renting the series again when I discovered my wife had never seen/heard of it. Quite the happy coincidence that it's the fortieth anniversary. I was thinking about it recently, because I saw mention that the Beatles had turned it on in the studios at Abbey Road because "All You Need Is Love" is featured in the final episode. Would have loved to have heard their reaction to it's use at the time.

If you're going to include a link to sixofone, you should also include a link to sixofone-info: 'Everything you need to know about the disgraced Society of the TV series "The Prisoner"'.

I was going to, but I lost the link when composing the post. Kind of sad really, it's almost as though it devolved into something you would have seen on the show.

The place is fabulous. It's about as remote as you can get in Wales, and you really need a car to reach it, but it looks even better in real life than in the show. My one regret is that I didn't stay in the village -- they rent out the cottages used in the series, or you can stay in the hotel -- though it's pretty expensive. At night, they close the place down, chuck out all the day trippers, and the guests have the place to themselves.

That just makes me want to go there even more. Being from the US, just making it over there would be time consuming, but I can't see making the effort and then not staying there as well.

I've been debating whether I want to decorate my yard in the style of Portmerion as depicted in the show. With stripped awnings and signs in the modified Albertus script.

Someone on imdb described the final episode as being ten times worse than the final episode of the Sopranos. I give it credit for keeping people guessing. If it was all summed up nice and tidy, it's influence might have been less notable.
posted by inthe80s at 10:50 AM on October 1, 2007


I have always been drawn to black cloth with white piping...

I can't wait to go home and read the 6 of 1 Society links. When I saw the show at a young and sensitive age, I wrote to them begging them for an explanation of the last episode that had just freaked. me. out. I'm very curious to see how they can be causing so much trouble!!
posted by armacy at 10:52 AM on October 1, 2007


Quote Godbert "
The last episode was one of the biggest TV show "WTF!"s I've ever seen.

I actually found out about the show from the Simpsons episode that parodies the show. I decided to check it out and it sucked me in. I watched all 17 episodes over 2-3 days when I didn't have anything else to do. I was kind of hoping that the last episode would round things up and give us some answers, though I didn't really expect it. What I really didn't expect was how the episode ended up."

Was that the episode where homer was kidnapped on the island where they kept on using knockout gas on him?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:53 AM on October 1, 2007


yup, the Simpsons episode was called "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" and is the parodies link in the post. They also featured "Rover" (and the theme music) in an episode where Marge escapes from the cult that ensnares everyone in Springfield.
posted by inthe80s at 10:56 AM on October 1, 2007


[SPOILER]

While the last episode's revelation that, somehow, Six himself was Number One, it's rather awesome to contemplate that the viewer has been told this all along, in the intro sequence to most of the shows:

6: "Who are you?"
2: "The new Number Two."
6: "Who is Number One?"
2: "You are Number Six."

[SPOILER END]
posted by JHarris at 10:57 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


For me, The Prisoner defined just how good and unpandering television series could be.

The opening of "Living in Harmony" was my earliest memory of a show actually guessing that you were smart enough to figure out what was going on if they changed everything but the actors. I won't spoil the sheer brilliance of it and it's introduction of a modern SF (and now "real life") trope. Go see for yourself.
posted by djrock3k at 11:00 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


That show explains my irrational fear of party balloons. For its time tho, it had some pretty fancy effects, and serious direction in style (chairs that raise from the floor, etc...some things I wouldn't mind having even today)
posted by samsara at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2007


"At night, they close the place down, chuck out all the day trippers, and the guests have the place to themselves."

Yeah, I've stayed there and it's a little surreal; during the day you slip between merging in with the day-trippers and living in a cottage surrounded by them (or tucked away behind a private gate somewhere), then in the evening the place falls quiet and you can wander around the almost-deserted village.
posted by malevolent at 11:03 AM on October 1, 2007


I remember watching this show as a kid in the 60s.

Unfortunately, in the Detroit area it was on at the same time as Star Trek, so my genius brother was forced to invent a device to time-delay the show by amplifiying the video signal and sending it back into the ionosphere for storage until Star Trek was over. He could've invented a VCR, but he felt the quality of the magnetic tape available at the time was not up to snuff.

(Actually, that's all a big fat lie -- we put a little tv on top of the big tv and tried to watch Star Trek and the Prisoner at the same time. So I always thought my confusion as to what the hell that show was about stemmed from that crude, pre-VCR hack...)

Still and all, one of the great, weird 60s tv shows. And to this day, whenever we have a pool party, at some point submerged beach balls rise up from the depths to attack escaping Prisoners...
posted by Bron at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this, so much. I (heart) the Prisoner, and a couple days ago, spawned by my roommate taking on the task of drawing every Dr. Who, I convinced him to start watching the Prisoner.

Be seeing you.
posted by piratebowling at 11:22 AM on October 1, 2007


Aerial Photo
posted by jeblis at 11:24 AM on October 1, 2007


I would like to briefly hijack this thread to note that nickyskye linked to a Thomas L. Friedman column above without proper warning. (I'd suggest NSFSB - Not Safe For Sentient Beings - but I am open to other options.)

In the absence of such a warning, I was made to encounter - twice in just the first three grafs - the notion of Thomas L. Friedman weeping (for The Onion's stinging satire as well as for 9/11's victims). Given the staggering insincerity of Thomas L. Friedman's on-air stage laugh, which makes your local weather forecaster's joviality a thing of Gandhian empathy by comparison, I found the notion of his rhetorical weep so skin-crawlingly disturbing I spent most of the past half-hour scratching at the little Wrath-of-Khan style burrowing maggots of Thomas L. Friedman's staggering insincerity that had surely lodged themselves in my shoulder blades.

Then I got to the end of the piece, where Thomas L. Friedman argued that America needed to get its groove back, and the image of Thomas L. Friedman in a sweaty menage a trois with Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg arrived unbidden, and I had to decamp to my local toxic waste remediation centre for a thorough chemical bath.

Thus cleansed, I have resumed what I think of as my karmic duty to counter every reference to Thomas L. Friedman here on the blue with a link to Matt Taibbi's magnificent evisceration of his work.

This has been a public service of the Emergency Thomas L. Friedman Counter-Rhetorical-Terror Network. We now return you to your regularly scheduled posting.
posted by gompa at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


'The Prisoner' was McGoohan's out for an additional season of 'Danger Man/Secret Agent Man' – McGoohan had grown bored with the format and show-runner George Markstein came to him wth a new concept that he was immediately sold on.

Properly speaking, 'The Prisoner' is a sidequal to 'Danger Man'. ('Sidequal' as opposed to sequel, given that events that occurs there take place in the same consistent universe, as is the case in 'Soldier' (1998) and 'Blade Runner' (1982), both written by David Webb Peoples.)

And to be even more frank, shows like 'The Sandbaggers' and Michael Caine's Harry Palmer movies were the polar opposite of the Bond films. The Sandbaggers and Harry Palmer had no fancy gadgets – typically only sweat, anxiety and hard work.
posted by vhsiv at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2007


6: "Who is Number One?"
2: "You are , Number Six."


Thanks, JHarris, for pointing that out. I was always fond of

We want "in_formation". Lockstep conformity. And the only person that can make you obey is yourself.

(And Cecil really doesn't have a clue, does he?)
posted by Enron Hubbard at 11:36 AM on October 1, 2007


You won't get it!
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've stayed there and it's a little surreal

I'm jealous, malevolent.

I once stayed in a house on Fire Island. My only experience of the US prior to that point had been NYC, where nobody makes eye contact with you and the different races avoid each other like the plague. Now I live in a city renowned for it's friendliness and the talkative nature of the population, but on Fire Island, everybody is white, everybody appears well-to-do and everybody makes eye contact and wishes you good morning, good afternoon, whatever.

It was so unnatural, I was convinced I'd been kidnapped and taken to the real Village.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:48 AM on October 1, 2007


TwoMorrows article about Jack Kirby's The Prisoner (Scroll down).
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:52 AM on October 1, 2007


The Prisoner was in a way responsible for me discovering the films of David Cronenberg. Patrick McGoohan was featured in "Scanners", and I do recall going to see "Scanners" in part to see what #6 was up to.
posted by Gungho at 11:59 AM on October 1, 2007


Be seeing you. (Jaunty salute)

ISTR that when the shopkeeper says this in the first episode, the salute begins with the thumb and forefinger forming a circle around the eye, giving the phrase its double meaning, as in "be watching you." I don't recall if everyone in the series subsequently does it this way. Must watch again...
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:19 PM on October 1, 2007


Spigott, yes they do--though No. 6 does it with jaunty aplomb, giving it half-way, except where giving the full salute with mock gravitas.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:35 PM on October 1, 2007


KAR120C - awesome car. In my younger days I owned one, impractical, uncomfortable, unreliable but oh so awesome.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:40 PM on October 1, 2007


i'm unaware that anybody ever went downtown to check the title, and nobody ever saw mcgoohan in the vicinity. nobody! that's a secret agent fer ya.

Heck, I can top that, easy.

Planning a trip to Florida, I requested some materials from the UDT/SEAL Museum, and when they didn't arrive in the mail after a couple of weeks, I began to wonder. And then, one morning, I woke up and felt this stiff manila envelope under my pillow....
posted by pax digita at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here is a link.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2007


Not old enough to have seen it originally, but I discovered it via the local library videocassettes in the mid nighties. And have loved it since.

I suppose it is SciFi but marginal. (imo)
posted by edgeways at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2007


I've been to Portmerion, where the series is filmed, and it looks exactly as strange and surreal as it does on film. The whole thing has such a quaint, facist air to it - the English equivalent of a gated suburb, really - that it might have inspired the show, not just accomodated it. There are little signs everywhere asking you to keep off the grass and stay away from the private residences. It's hard to avoid the thought of non-compliant acts being greeting by a weather balloon.

The whole ending would have been much better if Patrick McGoohan had ripped off Number One's mask to discover Edward James Olmos inside.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2007


McGoohan, of course, went on to play Edward Longshanks in Braveheart, one of the most deliciously bad villains in recent film.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:05 PM on October 1, 2007


My partner's uncle played a guy who got his ass kicked by Number Six in the episode "A, B & C." You all know there's a box set coming out shortly?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2007


You all know there's a box set coming out shortly?

The DVD boxed set that I've had for a couple years now? Huh?

Also, it was an awesome present. Buy one for all your best friends.
posted by GuyZero at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2007


My partner's uncle played a guy who got his ass kicked by Number Six in the episode "A, B & C."

An excellent, excellent episode as well.
posted by gimonca at 1:26 PM on October 1, 2007


It's funny how, although I understood it less, I have more memories of The Prisoner than I do of Secret Agent Man. That is, excluding the theme song, of course.
posted by tommasz at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2007


My wife and I got the DVD set last year as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations. I loved the show when it was first on and really wanted to see "The Girl Who Was Death" episode again. (It turned out to be one of the less-good episodes, though not ungood). Anyway, with the DVD set comes some interviews and a booklet that explain that McGoohan originally wanted a 10 - 13 episode short series but the producers insisted on a long 26-episode, two season one, then cut it short, forcing McGoohan to come up with a quick ending that wrapped stuff up. Well, sort of wrapped things up. The episode that was shown next to last (the first of the two-part ending) was actually filmed and meant to be shown thirteenth and wind up the first season.
posted by CCBC at 1:32 PM on October 1, 2007


Hated its pretensions in the Sixties; hate them now. Sorry.
posted by A189Nut at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2007


If memory serves (from my days working in a Television museum) the Rover was a last-minute replacement for an elaborate contraption that failed to work as designed when they went to shoot the first scene requiring it.

Also, I've always assumed that the ending reflects it having all been in his mind -- but that's just me.
posted by davejay at 1:39 PM on October 1, 2007


Nice post -- thanks. God, I went absolutely apeshit when I first saw "The Prisoner" in college.

*puts box set on wish list*
posted by scody at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2007


WHO IS NUMBER ONE?!?

Oh.

Nevermind.
posted by Avenger at 2:09 PM on October 1, 2007


I borrowed the DVD set about a year ago from someone I worked with. Lord knows I wanted to like it - in my life I've appreciated Lovecraft's prose, Australian soap operas, and Kubrick's attempts to make art from the facile.

But The Prisoner never really did it for me. It's a great concept but hugely dull to actually watch. I am perfectly prepared to admit that it's a product of a generation I was not a part of, and that my lack of appreciation is entirely due to my non-contemporaneous ideas of setting and context, but I was never overly intrigued by their apparent simplistic, yet long-winded take.

It strikes me that the conflict between an actual writer (George Markstein) and McGoohan, with MG winning and the writer leaving before it finished, meant that the ending - as much of an inaccessible, or worse, inarticulate, allegory as MG wanted it to be - was a complete waste of time. To juxtapose contemporary and older metaphors, they had built up a lot of capital that they then spilled upon the dusty ground. It's previous rationale left behind to the point where it became only mildly allegorically relevant, preferring to dwell in the twilight of the suggestive at the expense of making any real point. Psychedelia ex Machina. Sugar-cube cheap.

It was the Twin Peaks of its generation. It was the Beatles ending with a John Lennon solo album. And a lot of it was really quite dull from a contemporary perspective.

just sayin'
posted by Sparx at 2:59 PM on October 1, 2007


I'm with ya Sparx
posted by A189Nut at 3:04 PM on October 1, 2007


Watching that show as a kid helped prepare me for some of the Orwellian dystopian convolutions I see now on any given day

Me too.

Thanks for posting this, inthe80s.
posted by homunculus at 3:05 PM on October 1, 2007


The "be seeing you" even appears, with the eye-circling, in Babylon 5. The psi cop Alfred Bester (who is chock full of SF references, being played by Walter 'Pavel Chekov on Star Trek' Koenig, and named after the author who wrote one of the defining stories about living in a society with telepathy) uses it a few times when he's had his goals interfered with, as if to say "you stopped me this time but there is always another day".

That being said, the last episode freaked my ten-year-old self badly, and I still don't quite get why.
posted by mephron at 3:30 PM on October 1, 2007


tkchrist: You've obviously never used ketamine.
posted by avriette at 5:10 PM on October 1, 2007


This has never been an FPP? WTF?! This show is better than all the internets put together.

(For a sec. I though No. 6 had gone up to that great village in the sky....phew)
posted by Skygazer at 6:02 PM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


The DVD boxed set that I've had for a couple years now? Huh?

I guess this one was released October 1 in the UK -- is it different from the US version?

British version is 850 minutes -- US is 884? Americans need 34 more minutes of 'splainin? British one is slimmer and more fashionable?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:08 PM on October 1, 2007


Dear god I loved this series, but the last episode drove me to an absolute tantrum. I don't care if they're a burden to others, I WANT ANSWERS!!!!

I must rewatch the series immediately.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:36 PM on October 1, 2007


British version is 850 minutes -- US is 884? Americans need 34 more minutes of 'splainin? British one is slimmer and more fashionable?

PAL DVDs will play 4% faster than NTSC DVDs. 850 x 1.04 is 884. So there's your time difference.

PAL vs NTSC
posted by timelord at 9:58 PM on October 1, 2007


The comics The Shattered Visage made the last episode make sense for a while. I've forgotten everything about those comics though, so I'm getting new copies. Well, everything except them finally making the Prisoner make sense. And them being really good.
posted by Hactar at 10:27 PM on October 1, 2007


I love the idea that the switchboards at the BBC lit up after the final episode. What did the people calling in expect to learn?
posted by maxwelton at 10:48 PM on October 1, 2007


potsmokinghippieoverlord: is it different from the US version?

Yeah. The US 40th is 10 DVDs (it has the same programs, including an alternate "Chimes" but the interviews seem to be different), the book is a lot thinner than 200+ pages, and some of the other extras (scripts of unshot programs, for instance) sound different, too. But the US edition does include a map of the Village.
posted by CCBC at 1:05 AM on October 2, 2007


I think I went about that calculation the wrong way. It should be: 884 x .96 = 848.64 which is ~850.

Also, I don't think the runtime includes the extras (such as the alternate "Chimes"). 17 episodes x 50 minutes = 850 min total. I'll have to double-check, but I think the U.S. DVDs run close to ~52 min. an episode.
posted by timelord at 8:47 AM on October 2, 2007


If memory serves (from my days working in a Television museum) the Rover was a last-minute replacement for an elaborate contraption

Yeah, wasn't it a white volkswagen? Oh, poor Rover, almost so very goofy.

Back in high school one year I dressed up as a New Number Two for Halloween. (It's an ideal costume, since Number Two can always change, and the implication is of course that the Village continues indefinitely.) I had a big white balloon on a string, and no one except my dad got what I was doing. OH WELL.

Now I have to go watch all the episodes again.
posted by zusty at 12:41 PM on October 2, 2007


It's not mentioned in the articles about the modern-day remake, but I'd heard that the remake was going to be "24 meets Guantanamo Bay".
posted by unclemonty at 3:54 AM on October 4, 2007


tzikeh Battlestar Galactica re-inventor Ron Moore said that he named Six the Cylon "Six" because of The Prisoner.

I suspected this was so, but gratified that learn it is actually the case.

I love BSG, but The Prisoner is the best TV series ever made.
posted by Skygazer at 10:47 PM on October 6, 2007


to learn
posted by Skygazer at 10:47 PM on October 6, 2007


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