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The Prisoner (Miniseries)

3 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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(Mar 23, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Prisoner

Enter the mysterious world of The Prisoner. Nobody resigns from Summakor. Once he had a name, a job with the mysterious spy-ops outfit Summakor and a life in New York. Now he has a number. He's called 6, and everything has changed since he quit the many-tentacled agency. Suddenly he lives in The Village, a too-perfect paradise wretched with conformity. A society where all names are numbers. Where secret eyes watch over hollow bliss. Where dissent is rare and whispered. Where 6 knows he has one option: escape. Jim Caviezel portrays disoriented, determined 6 and Ian McKellen plays the serenely cunning Village overseer called 2 in a brilliantly re-imagined, six-episode sci-fi riff on the Patrick McGoohan series of the 1960s. Are 6's experiences real? Happenings of a parallel universe? Imaginings of his own walled-in mind? Enter The Village…


"Assimilate or die." No, it's not high school, it's the Village, a seemingly postcard-perfect community where everybody knows your number. The newest arrival in the Village has no idea how he got there. He only knows that he wants out. Only there is no out. With only flickering flashes of his former life in New York ("There is no New York," he is ominously informed), he is determined to escape. The very idea of a Prisoner remake may be sacrilege to those still enthralled by the ever-elusive what's-it-all-about 1969 cult classic, but the nightmarish Kafka-esque conflict at the core of this "reinterpretation" still packs a paranoid punch. Jim Caviezel stars as 6, who is engaged in a battle of wills with the sinister No. 2 (Sir Ian McKellan), who is trying to, what, break him? Obtain information? Those devoted to the original will appreciate some clever homages: the Lava Lamps in one apartment, the Rover, the iconic white balloon that foils any attempts at escape, and the signature catch phrases "Be seeing you" and the defiant "I am not a number, I am a free man." The original Prisoner was star and cocreator Patrick McGoohan's pet project. Caviezel does not capture his passion or gravitas. McKellan's 2 is the more fascinating figure. This version gives him a son, 11-12 (an unnerving Jamie Campbell Bower), in whom 6's plight plants seeds of doubt about the Village. Among the captivating special features is the Comic-Con panel with writer Bill Gallagher and cast members who pay respectful lip service to the original and to the majesty of McKellan. But there is a great moment when Gallagher recalls his phone call to McGoohan (who passed away before the production commenced) seeking his blessing on the project. McGoohan offered an intriguing casting suggestion of who should play No. 2. This Prisoner may not be as buzz-worthy as the original, which was truly a one-of-a-kind creation, but it stands on its own as an expertly played mind game. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

Unaired scenes
Commentary on two episodes
Beautiful Prison: The World of The Prisoner
A 6-Hour Film Shot in 92 Days: The Diary of The Prisoner
The Prisoner Comic-Con Panel
The Man Behind "2": Jamie Campbell Bower interviews Ian McKellen

Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Caviezel, Ian McKellen, Hayley Atwell, Ruth Wilson, Lennie James
  • Directors: Nick Hurran
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Widescreen, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 288 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002U0KHNS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,683 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Prisoner (Miniseries)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
... with a nod to PHILIP K DICK.

I have been a HUGE fan of Patrick McGoohan since I was a kid in the 60s via SECRET AGENT/DANGER MAN, was blown away by THE PRISONER at the age of 11, have turned may people on to that series since then and attended PORTMERICON, the annual gathering of the show's "Appreciation Society" SIX OF ONE, held on the grounds of the Hotel Portmerion itself in Northern Wales.

Yeah, I'm a fan.

Except in name & some affectations, this mini-series ain't THE PRISONER, in the same way that the movie J.J. Abrams directed in 2009 ain't STAR TREK! Abrams directed a damn fine film, but it's more derivative of a certain 1977 film directed by George Lucas than anything dreamed up by Gene Roddenberry or his successors.

In the same respect, this mini-series isn't like anything that Patrick McGoohan might have dreamed up, either.

This does not mean that it's bad. It means that as viewers, we need to re-think our perspective & perhaps discard the prerequisite expectations that the title implies, before passing judgment.

The first time I viewed this mini-series, I was trying to make a connection to the original and could not. I think that this inability to connect is what has disappointed most of the nay-sayers. I wanted to see it again, but this time, taken in the context of it being a science-fiction story on its own terms, without any expectations of connecting to the original 1960s series.

This was almost as big a challenge as it was to re-watch BLADE RUNNER without the voice-over to see if I could arrive at different conclusions about the characters.
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Format: DVD
Not so much a re-make, more a completely different series all together, with some common threads, such as the individual vs the system. Some homage to the original - the obvious like rover, and the almost subliminal in visibility like the penny farthing and the Caterham car.

Bleaker, and also more visually stunning from the location.

As there is only one 2 and one 6, so we see a lot more of what motivates 2. Not so much of a relationship 2 with 6 though more development between 2 and family members. The personalities are very different as well. Pre village, 6 is an observer rather than a field agent, so fewer fist fights and less running around, more watching to find what is going on.

The original had more impact, probably because there was almost nothing like it around. This version comes after all kinds of film and TV series exploring this area, so we are more used to it. In the original, it was apparent fairly early what was wanted - answering one resignation question would lead to eventual loyalty or corruption of the individual. Here there is much more of a mystery of what 2 wants from 6, and indeed the motivations may change gradually and for good reasons in hindsight.

This series wraps up more tightly - seems like the script ending was known before completion, while in the original the writers had little idea of how to finish it.

4 stars - a good series but there is more competition in the genre so harder to be completely new.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Here are a few things this TV series was not:

1. A continuation of the original story.

2. A faithful remake of the original show.

If you are looking for the adventures of Number Six as presented by Patrick McGoohan with a new cast, you will absolutely be disappointed by this series, as it does not do that or try to do it.

If you are expecting a sequel to the original series, again, you will be disappointed. It is very clear that this show and the original show share essentially no continuity.

That said, this is an extremely intelligently written television show with many themes that are highly relevant to the modern, digital world. I can't fully explain the plot without spoiling significant parts of the plot, but suffice it to say that this is a TV show with a lot to say, with very interesting characters, and with a very entertaining plot.

Yes, nobody could ever be the original #6. McGoohan's dogged, clever, steely-eyed defiance cannot be matched by any modern actor, however this show does not ask its lead to try. The much more human character played by James Caviziel is very interesting in his own right, as is Sir Ian's fascinating #2.

You can have your love for the original series and still enjoy this as its own, and very clever and intersting thing.

People angrily punching out "one star" reviews really need to think this over. Are you seriously giving an interesting, intelligent mini-series one star just because it wasn't a good remake or didn't measure up possibly the greatest TV show of all time?

In a world in which Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of Insane Screaming Rich Person County exist this is not a one star show.
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Format: DVD
Those who have commented about this series without seeing the original do not know whereof they write. The original series went beyond mere entertainment (and it was very entertaining) but also stimulated the viewer into thinking about subjects such as illegal incarceration, autonomy, the illusion of democracy, identity, education, truth, life, death, manipulation, propaganda, loyalty, war and violence (as well as innumerable other topics). As a youth, I was profoundly influenced by the exploration of the concepts in this series.

Plus, I loved the car. Rover was cool too.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could be remotely influenced by any of the ideas in this mini-series remake. In fact, I couldn't find any profound ideology in this mini-series.

If one had not seen the original series, this new rendition would have had to have been completely incomprehensible.

The fundamentals of the show were missing. Number Six was not defiant or angry, merely befuddled. Number Two was not desperately seeking information from Number Six while under the scrutiny of an anonymous Number One. He was also acting aimlessly.

Everyone was wandering around as if they were in a dream (wow - a spoiler!)

After waiting so long for something to be done with the Prisoner property; and with so many hard core fans craving to view a remake, I am surprised this weak series was the best effort that the entertainment industry could muster.
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