The Prisoner: The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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Since its CBS debut in the summer of 1968, the masterful British TV series THE PRISONER has captivated American audiences. Now A&E presents a definitive collector's edition of the cult classic which is considered one of the most innovative TV series ever filmed.
After resigning from a top-secret position, a man (McGoohan) is abducted and spirited from his London home to a mysterious place known only as 'The Village.' Village Residents, known only by numbers, are held captive because each possesses valuable knowledge. The Prisoner, now known as Number Six, battles to protect his mind -- and his humanity -- while struggling to discover the identity of Number One and escape captivity.
If a top-level spy decided he didn't want to be a spy anymore, could he just walk into HQ and hand in his resignation? With all that classified knowledge in his head, would he be allowed to become a civilian again, free to go about his life? The answer, according to the stylish, brilliantly conceived 1960s British TV series The Prisoner, is a resounding no. In fact, instead of receiving a gold watch for his years of faithful service, our hero (played by Patrick McGoohan) is followed home to his London flat and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a picturesque village where everyone is known by a number. Where is it? Why was he brought here? And, most important, how does he leave?
As we learn in Episode 1, Number 6 can't leave. The Village's "citizens" might dress colorfully and stroll around its manicured gardens while a band plays bouncy Strauss marches, but the place is actually a prison. Surveillance is near total, and if all else fails, there's always the large, mysterious white ball that subdues potential escapees by temporarily smothering them. Who runs the Village? An ever-changing Number 2, who wants to know why Number 6 resigned. If he'd only cooperate, he's told, life can be made very pleasant. "I've resigned," he fumes. "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own." So sets the stage for the ultimate battle of wills: Number 6's struggle to retain his privacy, sanity, and individuality against the array of psychological and physical methods the Village uses to break him.
So does he ever escape? And does he ever find out who Number 1 is? "Questions are a burden to others," the Village saying goes. "Answers, a prison for oneself." Within this complete 17-episode set, all is revealed. Or is it? --Steve Landau
Also on the discs
The 2009 Collector's Edition has the same video content as the 2006 40th Anniversary Edition, but does not include the booklet or paper map. The principal other difference is that the 10 discs are packaged in five Thinpaks instead of 10. For an improved video transfer and new supplemental features, try the 2009 Blu-ray release. --David Horiuchi
Top customer reviews
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Here was a mystery wrapped in a pop-art engima. Who was the prisoner? "I am not a number" was a catch phrase but one that struck the war weary world a bit too close to home for them to feel comfortable with it. Why was he there and, more to the point, where exactly is there?
Although I saw it before, this time I noticed cordless phone, flat screen televisions and other things that were too minute that I did not get them the first go-round.
The Blu-Ray DVD, providing us with all the episodes (including the infamous LIVING IN HARMONY wild west episode that was excluded when the program aired originally in the USA) does one of the best jobs of reproducing the series to disk. The colors are vivid and intense and for the first time you can see the details of the village. Suddenly everything (the colorful uniforms and umbrellas - are they rainbow bright? the colors of the Vatican guards?) and the scenery pops out at you. But there is still the haunting and captivating tale that awaits viewers. It is truly one of those series that you can watch many times over and discover something new or different with each viewing.
The final episode, FALL OUT, sparked a controversy. A series that had captured and confused with its allegorical illusions now confounded the audience. But the scenes as Number 6 reached for Number 1, will remain etched in everyone's minds long after seeing it. Did it mean anything? Did it mean a lot? Much like the last episode of THE SOPRANOS, the fade to black story line will never satisify the viewer. After sixteen episodes that captivated and provoked the viewer, how could it?
But if you are seeing it for the first time or the hundreth, get the Blu-ray version and you will find another aspect of this feat - a visual one.
On Blu-ray every detail looks crisp, there are just a few grainy scenes, & my guess is that the original camera frames were blown up for a closer view during the original editing of the shows. But this is few.
I do suggest if you are watching on a TV without going through a surround system, you will want to select the ORIGINAL soundtrack. There is an echo effect on some sounds when listening to the surround track without a surround system.
The standard DVD Disc #5 did play on my SONY BDP-BX2 Blu-ray player. So it appears that some Blu-ray players can play this disc.
A must for fans of the show, and a for anyone who wants to see the best and most timeless series ever put on television. The surrealistic quality of the show is awesome. Watch it with friends and you will have things to debate or argue about for hours, days, weeks, or maybe even years.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent series, worth the price, great to think
About all the deep psycho games of the village !
I've always admired the opening sequence: wordless, with jumpy hipster...Read more