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AMC's "The Prisoner" Remake: Not Worth the Wait, Or the Time
November 15, 2009  | By David Bianculli
PRISONER-sand.jpgDespite a fine performance by Ian McKellen as the chief antagonist, AMC's six-hour miniseries remake of 1968's classic The Prisoner series is not worth watching. And that's not news I'm pleased to report...

Whereas Patrick McGoohan's original series was playful as well as thoughtful, this new remake, which runs Sunday through Tuesday nights at 9 ET on AMC, is depressingly dour, and, with its rethought finale, ultimately unsatisfying. Much as I love the original Prisoner, I can't recommend this remake.

For my full review, from Friday's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, click HERE.




Michael Valenti said:

I agree with you that the show is such a huge disappointment. I am a big fan of the original and I have been looking forward to the remake since it was first announced. I guess it was the television equivalent of trying to remake Citizen Kane. There was no way they could do it justice. If anything, at least this gave A&E the initiative to release the original on Blu-Ray. I was in your TV History II class last semester, and can't wait to read your Smothers Brothers book. Best of luck.

[Thanks, Michael -- You were a good student, and now you're a good, tasteful blog commenter, and full-fledged member of the TV WORTH WATCHING family. And my policy is, professors always will sign books presented by former students. Hint, hint. -- David B.]

Comment posted on November 16, 2009 10:46 PM

Rich said:

It sounds like it's hashed out 'left-overs' from "The Prisoner" movie that got shopped around a few years back (That at one point had Russell Crowe attached). This AMC series suffers from the sad fact that someone thought the Original was too 'cerebral' and needed to dumb it down for a modern audience.

Proof that the original would still work is all the times it's aired on A&E & PBS as well as 1993 airings late night on Sci-Fi channel where they had an interactive scroll running along the bottom where fans could comment and chat LIVE over the internet and watch the show with people across the country. It was very popular and informative as I recall.

***As for your 11/16/09 picks:

The O'Reilly Factor, Big Bang Theory, How I met Your Mother, House, & Heroes - ALL on the same window recommended by You....as I live and breathe. Or basically: Medical genius, Nerd Genius, Relationship Genius, Super Hero Genius, News analysis titans....(I don't count Charlie Sheen!) There's a lot of Genius on this list, what is Dave trying to tell us??

[What he's NOT trying to tell you, I want to make clear, is that I would ever use O'Reilly and genius, or titan, in the same sentence. -- David B.]

Comment posted on November 16, 2009 11:24 PM

Mac said:

Thanks, David for saving me the frustration of watching this first time around. I have only read one positive review of this series (Rachel Ray of the British Daily Telegraph) and even in her glow, she doesn't get it. "The Prisoner" was never about the leader; they are just different pawns in this chess game. The pawn we are concerned with, #6 (evidently,close buds just call him Six nowadays), has a known past (going on original co-creator George Markstein's belief that #6 was Secret Agent/Danger Man John Drake all along) and is a true hero with a moral code with secrets galore. This new guy looks like he was picked up by accident and it appears that any secret he may be hiding isn't worth the effort. Maybe I'll tape this on a six-hour EP whenever AMC decides to marathon this (they will have to give multiple screenings to try and recoup the investment) but I expect to be fast forwarding through more than commercials.
I can't say I used the first two hours not watching "The Prisoner" wisely: I chose the Coen Bros. "Burn After Reading" and watched a whole bunch of great actors waste my time.

Comment posted on November 17, 2009 8:27 AM

Rich said:

About "News Titans"...lol. I meant O'Reilly's 'titan' as in Ratings (not his style or POV) and Dobbs is the last of the original CNN anchors (Which is historic in it's own way) and now he's done.

My point was you picked 4 out of 6 shows that had characters with one of multiple Genius traits (in their various expertise)...seeing as how You, the TV Critic (of many decades) had picked them all- I was mocking Charlie Sheen by putting even "O'Reilly & Dobbs" as part of your choice (for it's Historic value)- the joke being what is Sheen the 'Genius of'??

Comment posted on November 19, 2009 8:35 PM
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