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Check it TV: Can you escape The Prisoner?

November 16, 2009

Obey...Resist...Cherry Cake!

With last week’s season finale of Mad Men, it seemed like a hole opened up in the universe where great TV spawned from.  Relax, fans of drama that keeps you guessing, AMC, the same network that hit one outta the park with their first original series sucks you into a wormhole with the revamp of the classic series The Prisoner.  I’d never watched the original, never even knew of its existence until this reboot which probably serves me just as well.  This latest incarnation is so full of….stuff…so much stuff I’m going to pull out my very own $0.25 word and call it phantasmagorical.  So much so, I fell like I’m actually tripping watching it.

The visual style is disorienting and if you blink, well, there’s a rewind button on your DVR remote for shows like this.  It’s Dark City meets Jacob’s Ladder meets Lost.  In fact, now that I’ve written it, I’m expecting Ben to walk out from that anchor, do some tuning, ask 6 of 9 where Locke is and convince you to get back to Shell Beach STAT.

The basic premise, well, the only thing I can relate, is that some guy (called 6) wakes up in a place called the Village, not knowing how he got there and convinced there is life beyond it.  The rest of the natives are an ensemble of happy residents, half-believers, and those actively trying to escape the ennui of their seeming shadow lives.  Quick cuts, time reorganizing, and the lights rolling as if you were strapped to a gurney (most obvious Jacob’s Ladder comparison) guarantee that you have to pay close attention in case the clues of what the F is going on are in front of you.  But I’m missing them and I’m developing a fear of large white cushy balls and little girls in school uniforms.  There must be a video game reference in this somewhere.

The show isn’t for the impatient.  There is no quick reveal and the point is surely misdirection so the ride and the mindplay are what are apt to suck you in.  In addition, the cast is impeccable….anyone want to dole out another award for Sir McKellan?  If you love a good mystery, love being taken for a sci-fi jaunt like a modern day Alice, then The Prisoner is a good bet to keep you entertained.  Check it out…with a full supply of red, green, and blue pills.  Just a little pinprick. 

The Prisoner is currently showing on AMC and, therefore, will be showing in heavy rotation and massive encore repeats until the next season of Mad Men.

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