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Watch Cult Classic "The Prisoner" For Free

Excuse me... that should be WHOM is 'number one'?

I can't say enough about the tremendous 1960's British TV series "The Prisoner". I don't want to give away too much of the the 17 episodes that together tell a twisted tale. Psychedelia, pop psychology, and dystopic paranoia all met to synthesize a rare show that's not been equaled since. Never seen it?  How about checking out the opening montage that tells the series' entire backstory..

A while back, AMC & ITV announced that they were remaking the series. I am always wary of any remake, but am even more suspicious of taking another crack at such a Just seeing the logo makes me hear the brassy & twangy theme singular series (especially with an American in the lead of a quintessentially British series). The locations, the pop art interiors, the influence of new wave filmmaking... could those perfectly balanced aspects work again outside of the 1960's? Any attempt to recreate the show is going to invite direct comparison to the classic show, so imagine my surprise when AMC announced that they were making the entire original series available to watch for free on the net.

The Prisoner has always been a critical darling, the kind of thing that people who are deeply into television (not just sci-fi or spy-fi fans) reference in reverent tones. Never a hit, the show has remained an enigma for decades. I would think that a new "reimagining" of The Prisoner would rely on audience's unfamiliarity with the original, but providing these episodes for free openly reminds audiences of the greatness of the original. The new series producers must be very confident of their new direction.

Maybe... but 'when in Rome, do as the Mormons do...' We lost Prisoner star and series creator Patrick McGoohan earlier this week. In interviews he'd said that he created the landmark series out of a sense of boredom with TV (and that was 40 years ago!). He famously turned down the roles of James Bond and Simon Templar as he tired of the super-spy image. Instead he applied his talents to subverting the whole genre by creating this influential series bringing counterculture themes and art house cinema thinking to the TV screen.

It's a rare tribute to McGoohan to offer the entire history-making series streamed for free (though I still recommend the DVD's, to see all that 60's eye-popping filmmaking at its best). I admire the sentiment behind it, and the bravery of the new producers. I will definitely be checking out the new show.

Be seeing you.

Free episodes of "The Prisoner" online
Get the complete series on DVD

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