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171 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing quality, a must buy for any fan of The Prisoner.
I bought The Prisoner on Blu-ray yesterday. Contrary to the one star reviews that were written before the Blu-ray release by people that had not seen the Blu-ray set yet, I can definitively say the picture and sound quality is top notch and is 100x better than the previous US dvd releases. (which I also own and compared it too.)

There really is no comparison...
Published on October 28, 2009 by Brother Bish

65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New package, new book, that's it
Alas, owners of the previous DVDs have no reason to upgrade: A&E has simply improved the packaging (dumping the clamshells for slim cases), throwing in a map of The Village and a nicely done 60-page episode guide. The DVDs' numerous but mostly unexceptional extras are ported over.

The original discs looked OK but it's a bloody shame this imaginative and...
Published on August 4, 2006 by Flipper Campbell

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171 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing quality, a must buy for any fan of The Prisoner., October 28, 2009
I bought The Prisoner on Blu-ray yesterday. Contrary to the one star reviews that were written before the Blu-ray release by people that had not seen the Blu-ray set yet, I can definitively say the picture and sound quality is top notch and is 100x better than the previous US dvd releases. (which I also own and compared it too.)

There really is no comparison here. The previous dvd's were muddy and the picture quality was severely lacking. The image on the Blu-ray release is crisp, clear and looks absolutely amazing. It looks like it could have been filmed yesterday.

I think if I had one complaint it would be that the fifth disc that contains many of the extras is a regular DVD and not in HD. However knowing that I would still have bought this set and been completely happy with my purchase.

The Prisoner has never looked or sounded better.
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362 of 382 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I AM NOT A NUMBER, I AM A BOX SET OF DVDs, August 3, 2001
Eric Pregosin (New Carrollton, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
Well not exactly Patrick McGoohan's opening from The Prisoner, but it did catch your attention :-). Seriously here they are, all 17 episodes plus the Prisoner Video Companion originally offered on MCI Home Video now on DVD compliments of our good friends at A&E. What's nicer is the episodes are arranged in what the fans believe to be the chronological order of the episodes in terms of Number 6's time in the Village rather than order of original airdate (although some of them are in airdate order). As a hint at this look carefully at "The General" and "A, B and C". Both star Colin Gordon as Number 2, but in the opening for "A, B and C" he says "I am number 2" rather than "The new number 2". Also this set contains something released on video previously but only in England, a special edition of the 5th episode of the series, "The Chimes of Big Ben". Definitely the best of McGoohan's 3 British Secret Agent types series, but also the quintessential scifi series as well. By the way, a special debt of gratitude to A&E Homevideo. When this series first came out on VHS on MPI Homevideo in 1990, they made a muff in the episode "Checkmate". In the "Where am I" segment of the opening sequence it started with McGoohan doing it with the fore mentioned Colin Gordon even though Peter Wyngarde played Number 2 in this episode. By the third line "That would be telling" the tape was ok. I can't speak for the new A&E VHS copy, but on these DVDs the muff has NOT recurred. Which means either A&E acquired a better copy of the episode to restore on DVD or someone told them about the flub from 11 years ago. So kudos to A&E Video for to repairing this decade old "blooper". This 10 pack is much better buy than the 5 sets of 2 DVDs individually. Get it now, return to the Village and escape at your own pace.
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242 of 260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Prisoner fans, June 4, 2002
Alexander E. Paulsen "AlexP" (Jacksonville, Fl United States) - See all my reviews
I myself did not think the transfer was all that bad. In fact I think it looks good on my 61" Sony and Sony DVD.
I started watching the Prisoner when it first released in the US as summer replacement. I have been hooked ever since.
Yes it is about a spy or "Secret Agent" who resigns in obvious disgust and is kidnapped, taken to a very mysterious, secret and very secure place known as "The Village". It is also about his attempts at escape and other intrigues. Leading edge spy stuff for its time.
To appreciate The Prisoner you must go beneath the surface at what The Prisoner really means. The series is full of symbolism and social commentary while The Vilage is referred to as "The model for a new world order" by one of the constantly changing #2's.
The series blew everyones mind in the late 60's when it aired. I knew many people who could not get it and never watched more than one or two episodes. The die-hard fans hung in there and got our own minds blown in "Fall Out" the final episode.
After years and careful noticeof the world and politics and social upheavals The Prisoner now makes sense immediately to people who are just now seeing it for the first time - like my 22 year old daughter. she had it figured out (correctly) by the 3rd DVD.
Anyway, this is an important series and TV's first true masterpiece. It is a work or art, it is a social commentary and it is very prophetic and more relevant than ever.
I love this set. I enjoyed the bonus tracks. To those who think the bonus tracks are lacking, remember this is a TV show produced in 1967. This is a veritable gold mine of bonus material.
After seeing all 17 episodes again in order, sharing them with my daughter had brought me to even new revelations about the series and the genius behind them.
My daughter thinks the special effects and action sequences are not realistic - BUT be reminded again, this is a TV series from 1967.
Could The Prisoner be remade and updated? Perhaps, but I would have a fear of losing the message. This series was created in an era of relative innocence when most people trusted the government. This is one of the things thsat made the series so remarkable.
Here we are 37 years after production and we are STILL discussing it;s significance. While I might agree with my daughter that modern production values and updated special effects woulc be a good spice to the series I would fear destroying the essence and the uniqueness.
Mc Goohan had a degree of freedom when producing the series. Any newer production would most likely be polluted by attempts to make it more mass-market acceptable.
The Prisoner is a sensitive work and a work of genius. Buy the DVD set and enjoy.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's it all about?, August 19, 2005
landru141 (Planet Houston) - See all my reviews
DVD - overview. Well, they are excellent transfers. Visually its as clear as it will ever be. The sound is a bit thin and could have used the detailed thought that went into the Original Star Trek series. The miracle would have been to actually interview or have McGoohan himself do a commentary. Since he's notoriously closed mouthed about this series, don't expect it. Ever.

The Show - What's it all about? There are at least 3 ways to view this series, which is at least 2 more ways than almost anything generated by popular culture in the last 50 years. However deeply you decide to invest your thoughts, it will not go unrewarded. The Prisoner is simply the best television show ever made and one of the few that actually attempts to make the disposable medium "art." The fact that I'm writing about it nearly 40s years later is a testament to the achievement of the singularly minded force behind it: the star, Patrick McGoohan.

McGoohan had come off a second 2-year run of his popular "Danger Man" series. The first series ran from 1960-62, the second from 1964-66 ... look them up on this site for further info ... and were hugely successful both in the UK and in the US. He had already turned down the role of 007 before it was offered to Sean Connery for various "moral reasons" which still seem vague to this day. He seemed to find the character of Bond's habit of killing and womanizing distasteful. In 1962, this wasn't such a big deal. James Bond had been a popular series of novels and the first movie was considered a modest undertaking at best. (Future Bond and current star of "The Saint" Roger Moore was approached and also turned it down.) Fast-forward to 1966, as McGoohan's own show was now going into its 5th year, he was offered the role again. It had gone from a cult possibility in 1962 to international icon status in just 5 years. It would have made McGoohan an international superstar. He turned it down again. There are rumors that he was even offered the role a third time, though I can't figure out when that would have been. Also, by this time, McGoohan was growing tired of the spy format and decided to start a new show, despite the fact that filming had already begun on the next series. What was needed was a concept that would continue to utilize his popular public image of good-looking leading man hero and his Bond-like secret agent character, while twisting them up in psychedelia and strange psychological concepts. McGoohan was, although there appear to have been no consciously stated thoughts on the subject, about to turn the world inside out.

The obvious angle to understand The Prisoner is the literal interpretation: A secret agent, most likely McGoohan's character from "Danger Man" (called "Secret Agent" in the US), resigns from his job. We never know why and in the opening his dialogue is covered by thunder clapping and music. We know he's mad and he slams his resignation on the desk. He is then drugged, kidnapped, and wakes up in the Village, which is like a resort hotel (it is in real life). Its a place he can never leave. He doesn't even know who's running it; East or West. All they want to know is why he resigned, but he's a stubborn man and an expert spy. Only the most sophisticated methods could get him to talk. He is not called a name. No one has names, only numbers. He is Number 6. Each week he is continually tortured, etc, by a revolving set of Number 2's, the seeming master of the Village. But, there is a Number 1 ... always unseen, always watching. Throughout the remainder of the episodes, the Prisoner is forced to undergo mind-altering experiments, some subtle, some not, all the while attempting to escape. He never does. Or does he?

The second way to view the series is as an allegory for the plight of the Everyman against the machine-like nature of society. This is the stated aim of the program's bizarre, seemingly undecipherable ending. The revelation of the identity of Number 1 was awaited with such anticipation in Europe that the actual event itself caused McGoohan to return to his birthplace (the US) for good.

However, the Everyman allegory doesn't quite fit all the facts. It seems more personal and, as the series went on, McGoohan seemed more and more determined to ditch the original "espionage prison camp" idea, much to the annoyance of his co-producer and the TV executives. They couldn't do anything, as McGoohan had complete control. The subconscious underpinnings of the years leading up to the Prisoner seem to emerge as pieces of a twisted media mind-game. Is he messing with us because we messed with him? The show very quickly became about McGoohan's fight against his public image (how a good-looking face becomes associated with so many positive concepts, whether or not its true of the person), the constant pressure of fame, loss of privacy, and continual nagging demand to know his "reasons" for his decisions (for not doing Bond, for not continuing Secret Agent, etc.), and the subconscious hypnotism/supplication each of us must fight everyday.

When a person is literally "in the spotlight" they see the world from within a bubble. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the concept of the "eye" is so important to the world of The Village. The eye is a ball that perceives objects upside down and backwards. Our brains then translate these images automatically and we percieve them as normal ... but does our subconscious mind fully understand what is happening? Since, one question that seems to be central to the piece is the psychological concept of authority, is it not unreasonable to ask "why do we allow people into our heads and assume they are our betters?" The Butler who never speaks, but answers to the "authority" of the moment. He is the real "everyman." Number 2 is always different, but always the authority figure (only answerable to an unseen Number 1.) He or she is seated in a half-circle chair, generally facing away from Number 6, which then rotates back to face him. This could represent the mind's way of percieving another human being and accepting that person as mentally superior. The Boss. The message is obvious and yet completely subtle: everyday the mind subconsciously let's go of personal individuality by believing that another human being is in anyway superior. The person in question can range anywhere from a parent, school teacher, boss, politician, King, or even Pope. Sometimes they are merely "emotionally" manipulative, as in "The Girl Who was Death." The point seem to be the moment the individual loses control to another human being. And, worse, it isn't the obvious acts that are the most dangerous. The world is conditioning the mind to behave.

The eye percieves all of this and the brain translates it. If you accept this, you'll find that it is no coincidence that the revelation of Number 1 should come through the a crystal ball. (no spoilers.)

In short, this show will force you to think. If you refuse to think, you will probably still find it a wild ride. Only the few, the weak, will dislike it because they are too mentally lazy to work out the finer points. But, then again, "One must either be hammer or anvil."
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for people who didn't get the previous sets, October 22, 2009
SRFireside "ZOOM!" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Prisoner: The Complete Series (DVD)
While the previous review was correct that the special features, remastering, audio and video are identical in this new release (including the fold out of the classic village map) there are a couple of things this version of the Prisoner Megaset has that others don't, but should have had from the get go. The first advantage is this collection has the disk collected in ten slim line cases, which cuts down on your shelf space considerably compared to previous releases and their full sized DVD cases. Also this release has a pretty extensive PRINTED episode guide booklet that gives more than just a synopsis. You also get a little history of the making of that episode.

Now these extras may not be worth the double dipping for those who already bought the previous sets, but for those who never took the plunge now is the time. Not only do you get the great features from the original set, but also stuff you can read and enjoy without having to put a disk in your player. I give the higher rating for this set, which is a more complete and more compact set than all the rest (minus one for not getting it right the first time).
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything a fan of THE PRISONER could have hoped for!, October 28, 2009
I put the first disc of the new Blu-ray of THE PRISONER on with some nervousness. Not all shows from the sixties do well in high def. For one thing, they were usually filmed with the knowledge that much of the detail was going to be lost when shown on the tube televisions of the time. Others have not been preserved well. But if there was a series from the sixties that seemed likely to survive translation to Blu-ray, it was THE PRISONER. Putting it on I worried that it might be merely an updating of the previous DVD, with a bit of surround sound thrown in for good measure.

I was ecstatic from the very first moment the famous opening credits started. I simply can't rave enough about this. I watched the first episode from my DVD set shortly before trying out the Blu-ray and the improvement of the picture is enormous. The increase of definition is amazing, as details as any show you will watch today in high def. The sound is bright and vibrant, with the option of listening either in 5.1 stereo or in the original mono (though I much prefer the surround sound -- it leads to a much more immersive experience, and I'm sure that they would have made it in surround sound had the technology existed at the time). But perhaps the biggest improvement is in the color. All of the colors are much deeper than in the older DVD. The total improvement is so extreme that it is almost like seeing the series anew, which is not all that easy to do since this is about the 8th or 9th time that I've watched the series. I saw the whole thing as a child when it first came out on American TV in the summer of 1968. I had never seen anything like this in my life (well, there wasn't anything like this). Then a few years later, in the mid-1970s, I caught it again on a PBS station. At Yale in the spring of 1977 I saw it on the big screen at Berkley College's film society. Then around 1984 I saw it on one of the cable stations (I don't remember which). Next, I saw it on VHS with a woman I was dating in 1989. Then I watched it a couple of times on DVD, once on my own and then with my daughter. But I have to say that I've never enjoyed watching it as much as I have in this new edition. Never, ever has it sounded this good or looked so spectacular.

One reason the show looks so great on high def is that few TV series have ever taken so much care with the way they look. I would be willing to bet that the show has more set ups per minute than any show in the history of TV, including miniseries. There are an astonishing number of shots during the course of each episode. The show is almost profligate in the number of shots. For instance, in a 20 second sequence showing Number Six walking across the village we might get 7 or 8 set ups. This simply is not done on television, where the emphasis is on shooting quickly and economically.

If I have a disappointment, it is that there are not as many special features as I would have liked. For instance, while there are commentaries galore, there are not some things that I would have liked. For instance, how about a two-hour documentary on the making of THE PRISONER. Few TV shows demand a feature like that, but if THE PRISONER doesn't demand that kind of treatment, what show does?

Another mild disappointment is that Patrick McGoohan did not live to see this edition of his masterpiece. I'm sure he would be enormously delighted to know that new generations of fans of his great series will see it in in ways that no one ever has before (even the big screen version I saw had a scratched print).

The series is, of course, one of the greatest things ever made for television. On the off chance that the reader of this review is unaware of the story, Patrick McGoohan (who not only created and starred in this series, but wrote and directed most of the episodes, frequently using fake names to disguise just how complete his involvement in the show was) had been the star of the highly successful British TV series DANGER MAN, released in the United States as SECRET AGENT MAN, and with the finest theme song in the history of TV, Johnny Rivers's hit single of the same name (originally Rivers had only a verse and the chorus, but when radio DJs wanted the "complete" song to play on the airwaves, he returned to the studio and added more verses). McGoohan's show was a huge hit but he bowed out and made this series. It is easy to read into THE PRISONER his experience in leaving DANGER MAN, especially given that Number Six clearly seems to be John Drake from DANGER MAN. Similarly it is easy to tie the show into all kinds of issues of the sixties. Embracing the liberal themes of the sixties, McGoohan clearly wanted to deal with issues of the individual of conscience in a time when governments were pressuring individuals to conform to specific ideologies. Number Six's resistance is across the board, but is focused on a single thing: his refusal to explain why he resigned from the secret service. Interestingly, the series does not proceed in serial fashion, but instead is largely episodic. Luckily, some of the individual episodes are spectacular. The series has only one lamentable aspect: the series finale is a let down, descending into near incoherence. But ignore the ending. The show as a whole is unforgettable. Once you have seen it you never quiet let go of it. References to is permeate our culture. For instance, in naming the memorable Cylon in the red dress, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's Ron Moore gave a nod to THE PRISONER by dubbing her Number Six.

And now the show, always brilliant, can now be seen in this glorious new version. If you are a fan of THE PRISONER and have a Blu-ray player, you simply must get this. If you have never seen THE PRISONER, you also must get this, simply to experience one of the greatest series in the history of television.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection, July 18, 2002
"drstrange12" (Somewhere, Sometime) - See all my reviews
A previous review here stated that the video quality of this collection was on par with 60's broadcasts. While this is accurage - the images are of broadcast quality - I would say that it would be particularly superior broadcast quality. The sounds and images maintain the fidelity of the original media and, in a world of digital-remastering, I found it quite refreshing.
The DVD set further makes a cunning use of the fade-to-black commercial breaks as a Chapter transition. The DVDs have the grace of flow of linear magnetic cassettes with the fidelity to source of the DVD format.
The DVD collection itself presents the episodes in the "Six of One" format. "Six of One, The Prisoner Appreciation Society" is the official "The Prisoner" fan club and the club is recognized by Patrick McGoohan, creator and star of "The Prisoner". The Sci-Fi Channel has also used this viewing order. One would presume that the order is also endorsed by A&E, as they released the set in question.
As to the show... what can I say? It's "The Prisoner". You really have to see it to get the full effect, and I think that this box-set presents the show in a manner where one can get the most out of the experience.
As the price has lowered, I would fully recommend this DVD collection to anyone with the money to spare and an interest in "The Prisoner".
I don't buy many DVDs, but I heard good things about this set and I took the chance. I'm rather glad I did.
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65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New package, new book, that's it, August 4, 2006
Alas, owners of the previous DVDs have no reason to upgrade: A&E has simply improved the packaging (dumping the clamshells for slim cases), throwing in a map of The Village and a nicely done 60-page episode guide. The DVDs' numerous but mostly unexceptional extras are ported over.

The original discs looked OK but it's a bloody shame this imaginative and colorful series didn't get the first-rate restoration it deserves. What's up, A&E No. 1?
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Archetype Prevails, June 1, 2004
Avant-Captain_Nemo (Aboard my black outlaw submarine cruising through the sewers in a city near you.) - See all my reviews
There are no greater television shows than "The Prisoner". Not ever. Perhaps shows such as "MASH" or "Twin Peaks" rise high enough to catch a glimpse of Patrick McGoohan's Big Idea racing off into the distance but they will never catch up. "The Prisoner" is one of the few works of art in the twentieth century that actually deserve to be called revolutionary. But, Patrick McGoohan, the show's creator and star, has no time whatsoever to rebel against things that lesser figures and would-be rebels wish to rebel against -stoking up the fires of their tiny egos. McGoohan means business and his series, "The Prisoner" rushes up to all of the Big Questions and grabs them by the neck. "The Prisoner" is a declared war against tyranny in all of its forms: sexual attraction, the lure of comfort, the facade of democratic politics, science, fundamentalist anti-science, conservatism, cheap liberal progressivism, group-think in any form at all including "individualism" (which is just another form of group-think),the ultimate prison which is one's self, and more. Number Six, played by Patrick McGoohan himself, is absolutely relentless on his assault upon the Village which would keep him there against his will. And he desires to leave no matter what wholesome blandishments are offered to him. In that way, Number Six is a greater human being than most of us. He is more than a common human individual living out his life. He is an archetype. He can never quite escape but the octopoidal snares of the Village can never quite hold him. In that way, his story resembles the myth of Sisyphus. And yet Number Six is more than Sisyphus. I will not give the end of the series away but I will say that at the end Number Six comes to a true understanding of himself. The only good true understanding of one's self is if that understanding destroys the cycles. The strangest idea at the base of "The Prisoner" is the idea that morality itself, at its most secret heart, is the ultimate form of rebellion. Number Six has a devotion to pure justice, profound freedom, actual compassion ( as opposed to its sentimental counterfeits), and rigorous truth telling that is so extreme - more extreme even than the great Jewish prophets in the Bible - that he actually is an archetype, and not merely a single human being. Number One is the secret Archon that rules the Village. The Village is, of course, demon possessed, though the demons mostly reveal themselves as Angels of Light. Under Number One is paraded a grand series of Number Two's. They come and they go. Each one of them is yet one more attempt to seduce or brutalize Number Six into giving up his freedom. One of the strangest things about this series is that Patrick McGoohan's idea of freedom rejects both the dionysian and the apollonian as categories of human thought and endeavour. McGoohan believes there is a third way that carves its own path, disdainful of the sharp and controlled, fascist geometries of the apollonian and compassionately rejectfull of the oblivion and disintegration offered by the dionysian. No better show exists. I don't think the fifth grade schoolboy bullies who dominate Hollywood or the television studios could allow such a great work to be made or shown on television today. But that is both their fault and their impotence. The Number Two's come and go but the Archetype prevails.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably unique and imaginative TV masterpiece, August 13, 2004
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Even today, THE PRISONER stands out as of the most remarkable achievements in the history of television. It is so unique that it can't be said to have been influenced by any other show and so inimitable that it really hasn't inspired copies. One can only approximate THE PRISONER by imitating it. I think there is little doubt that whatever television shows from the 20th century are still being viewed in the 22nd, THE PRISONER will undoubtedly be among their number, and even then viewers will watch it with surprise and wonder.

THE PRISONER is entirely the vision of star Patrick McGoohan. Any fan of the show knows that the American-born actor had previously been the star of the 1950s British spy show DANGER MAN, later renamed SECRET AGENT MAN when it was renewed during the James Bond mania of the 1960s. It has been widely debated whether Number Six of THE PRISONER was John Drake, McGoohan's character in SECRET AGENT MAN. I definitely take the position that he was. The one thing that is beyond question is that it was from first to last McGoohan's show. He created and developed the concept, wrote a substantial amount of the series, directed many of the episodes, and oversaw all creative aspects of the show, all while, of course, starring in it. In fact, he performed so many key tasks on the series that he began disguising some of them by using aliases so that his name wouldn't show up so often on the credits.

More than anything, THE PRISONER was McGoohan's attempt to make a set of comments on what he saw as the lingering insistence on social and political control that society was attempting to exert in limiting individualism and freedom of expression. In that sense, he fit quite easily with other sixties radicals who were if not actively calling for a revolution at least expressing a wish for it. Number Six has been imprisoned because he wanted to quit being a spy and wanted to get away from that and find a new mode of life (just before being imprisoned--a scene we see repeated each week in the credits--we see the travel brochures of the tropical beach he is obviously yearning for). Like Thoreau, Number Six finds a host of ways to reassert his individuality, and refuses to conform regardless of the pressure exerted.

If Thoreau provides the political context, Kafka provides the nightmare. Indeed, the show as a whole reads like Thoreau meets James Bond meets Kafka meets Salad Days, with the weird, strange, surreal pseudo-Edwardian Village serving as Number Six's prison. It is an amazingly personal and powerful vision. What is amazing is how potent the series has remained, even as it nears its fortieth anniversary. Despite some dated stylistic touches and regardless of the primitiveness of some of the special effects, the show still feels contemporary. One feels that McGoohan has hit upon something universal.

The care that went into the series is obvious throughout. For instance, to this day perhaps no show, whether series or mini series, has employed so many camera set ups. There are scenes in which Number Six will walk two hundred yards that might employ a few dozen camera shots. Simply walking up a spiral staircase might use ten or twelve. Nothing like this had never been seen before, and certainly has never been seen since. The quality is part of the reason that even today in many polls of the top series of all time, THE PRISONER is frequently acknowledged. It will long remain one of the more singular achievements of the medium.
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The Prisoner: The Complete Series
The Prisoner: The Complete Series by Patrick McGoohan (DVD - 2009)
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