tek's rating:

The Prisoner, on AMC (USA) / ITV (UK)
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Caution: potential spoilers.

Sigh. This is, of course, more or less a remake, or modern adaptation, of the 1960s cult classic series The Prisoner. The 2009 miniseries consists of 6 hour-long episodes (which aired 2 per night for 3 nights), which I suppose is an appropriate number. Six episodes? Right? Or maybe that's just a coincidence, I dunno. Anyway, it's not nearly as good as the original series.

There is a man (Jim Caviezel) who wakes up in the desert, and meets an old man called 93, who is being pursued. Soon after, 93 dies, and the newcomer finds his way to the Village, which 93 had been trying to escape. This newcomer is given the number 6, as everyone in the Village goes by a number, rather than a name. The Village is ruled by someone called 2 (Ian McKellen). Um... I guess 2 wants to break 6, though it's not very clear what exactly this means. In the original series, 2 (who was replaced each week) always wanted to learn why 6 had resigned from his job as a spy. Here, however, it seems more like 2 just wants 6 to accept the Village, and stop trying to find a way to escape.

Anyway, 6 hadn't exactly been a spy, in the real world. He'd worked for a mysterious company called Summakor, and I guess he had sort of spied on people, through electronic surveillance, or whatever. It's not really clear what the point of it was, but at any rate, he had resigned, and it was after that that he ended up in the desert, not knowing how he'd gotten there. He remembered that there was an outside world, while everyone else in the village seemed sure that the Village was all there was. But 6's memories were kind of fuzzy, at least of what had happened since he resigned. In each episode, he slowly remembers the events following his resignation, which mostly involved meeting a woman called Lucy (Hayley Atwell). He met her at a bar, and they went back to his apartment. But it soon turns out that she also worked for Summakor.

Meanwhile, in the Village, 6 befriends a cabbie called 147, as well as a doctor called 313. And um... 313 is a potential romantic interest for 6, though in one episode, he gets involved with a woman called 415, who was Lucy, back in the real world. Anyway... there's different stuff going on in each episode, but it's all sort of vague, stream of consciousness stuff, that's hard to follow. We do learn that there are people called "dreamers," who dream of the outside world, even if they're not sure it really exists. But they are apparently a threat to the Village, and 2 would like to learn who they are, so they can be re-educated, or whatever. 313 is a dreamer, though. And 2 has a son called 11-12, who resents his father, and wants to learn more about the possibility of an outside world. And 2's wife is kept sleeping, by pills which 2 administers to her. Though at one point, we see her wake up to talk to 2 for a little while, and in a later episode, she wakes up to talk to 11-12, who she'd never met. But... she can't stay awake for long, for a reason I won't reveal. But all along, I had a suspicion about her, which turned out to sort of be right, I guess. But it's complicated.

Anyway, the stories are all weird and disjointed, partly because of flashing between the Village and 6's emerging memories of New York, but even within the Village, the story doesn't exactly flow in a natural way, so it's confusing. And in the final episode, there are flashes to New York which at first I assumed were more flashbacks, but then it seemed like they must be after 6 left the Village, though we never actually saw him leave. And finally, it seemed it was neither before nor after, but happening concurrently... as if he was simultaneously experiencing life in the real world and in the Village. (Which vaguely reminded me of a Canadian series called The Odyssey.) Well, we ultimately learn the truth about 2 and his wife, and the nature of the Village. Which I won't reveal, but... it might be considered less sinister than it seemed. Even if it was pretty weird, and you might say more science fictiony than the original series. Sort of. I dunno. And I don't want to spoil the ending, which... kind of leaves things... open-ended. I'd be interested to see where things go from here, but I don't know that they'll go anywhere. And I don't care that much, really. While it was weird and never made much sense, it wasn't as trippy or as interesting as the original. It was mostly kinda boring. But I suppose it wasn't really bad. Anyway, I don't know what else to tell you. Except that AMC's site has an online graphic novel that's connected to the Village, which started shortly before the miniseries, and continued for awhile afterwards. (But I don't think I read much of it.)

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