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Television Media Sci-Fi

The Prisoner To Be Remade On U.K. TV 244

An anonymous reader writes "Various UK news sites are reporting that Sky One is to commission a remake of the cult 60s UK TV series, The Prisoner. See u.tv and This is London." From the This Is London story: "The series, which made its debut 1967, is today credited by its fans as being ahead of its time. Featuring McGoohan as a former secret agent trapped in an isolated seaside village, it was shown in more than 60 countries. The new version will not be placed in the original setting, the north Wales village of Portmeirion, or have the arty, 'pop' feel of the original, according to the magazine Broadcast. Damien Timmer, who has been lined up to executive produce the show, told the television and radio industry magazine that the new series 'takes liberties with the original'."
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The Prisoner To Be Remade On U.K. TV

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  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:48PM (#14072955) Homepage
    Why do we constantly need a remake of everything? Battlestar Galactica is about the only good remake to come in a long line of them.

    I can see maybe another series LIKE the Prisoner, but not a complete remake of the series. The series is a classic. The way it uses music, and of course the mannerisms of No. 6.....

    • by negative3 ( 836451 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:52PM (#14072975)
      And what exactly do they mean by "take liberties with the original." That is probably code for "when we got done with this bitch it will be damn near unrecognizable."
      • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:00PM (#14073001) Homepage
        Seriously. The Prisoner is a classic. It would be like remaking Citizen Kane. Of course, they did remake Psycho.......another classic. And look at the results there. Terrible remake.

        A petition should be started to prevent this remake from happening.

        • by sg3000 ( 87992 ) * <sg_public.mac@com> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @10:43PM (#14073334)
          > Seriously. The Prisoner is a classic.

          Agreed! The Prisoner (minus the last two incomprehensible and silly episodes) was an incredible show. I remember it came on one night late on PBS (after Red Dwarf), and I recognized it from the description on The Straight Dope [straightdope.com].

          We were all set to make fun of it (hey, look! a campy 1960s era show!), but we quickly became engrossed in the plot (it was one of the better episodes -- The Schizoid Man). I was actually quite surprised how much I enjoyed it.

          I ended up buying the A&E boxed set, and I was amazed at McGoohan's understanding of how society tries to mold its citizens. Plus the whole "spy versus spy" part was an intriguing bonus (particularly "Hammer and Anvil").

          This is a show that doesn't need to be remade. Today, they'd have to cut it in half, make Number 6 run around shooting people with a machine gun, and have a hooter babe leading woman.
          • You missed a huge reason why the Prisoner was so shocking. The last two episodes were a bare-naked call for violent overthrow of the government. If that didn't leave an impression on you, but the rest of the series did, then I wonder what else in life and the literary and performance arts you are missing.
    • Why do we constantly need a remake of everything?

      Dunno, I find this one odd.

      Although there are things I'd like to see remade... Logan's Run has been mentioned by Brian Singer a few times, that would be nice. The idea was good, but badly executed.

      The Prisoner, however, was well done. It doesn't need to be remade.
    • Think of us poor Yanks. We will likely get a cheap ripoff of your remake in a few years if your remake does well.....

    • I agree. The series has all the markings of meaning and intention, but its so esoteric that no one really has figured it out. People don't even agree what order the series should be played.

      For all the political grandstanding people are putting in shows these days, I seriously doubt that a remake would be able to maintain enough aloofness as to preserve an elusive point.
      • by crucini ( 98210 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:48PM (#14073551)
        For all the political grandstanding people are putting in shows these days, I seriously doubt that a remake would be able to maintain enough aloofness as to preserve an elusive point.

        Exactly. McGoohan was so zealously independent and iconoclastic that The Prisoner remains accessible to any individual feeling at odds with a totalist environment, whether that environment is liberal, conservative commercial or whatever. The TV makers of today couldn't resist mixing in their dislike of Bush, Christians, etc. That would prevent the new show from enjoying the wide-ranging and long-lasting appeal of the old.

        Of course there's also the inevitable addition of sex, sticky sentimentality, bogus ethical dilemmas, and cheap laffs.
    • by toxic666 ( 529648 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:28PM (#14073494)
      Was that even a serious question? Whenever the "entertainment factory" runs out of ideas and needs to get something in front of an audience, they go for a remake. Sadly, they've chosen the culmination of a great actor's TV spy incarnation to mistranslate this time.

      Check into the Danger Man -- First Season (1960-1961) and Secret Agent -- aka Danger Man (1964-1966) series if you like The Prisoner. There is a lot of interesting context. McGoohan was the first choice for James Bond in Dr. No based upon the cancelled, original half-hour series. As the spy-genre took hold, the character was modified and came back in the Secret Agent series (you'll recognize the theme song from the Wal-Mart "Roll-Back Man"). That was cancelled after two seasons and then McGoohan went on to make The Prisoner. Agent John Drake was the antithesis of the Hollywood spy-genre because it relies on plot instead of sex and violence.

      The Prisoner was the result of the evolution of a concept that had (arguably) failed twice before. McGoohan just managed to get it better each time.

      And now the entertainment industry wants to remake something a real talent took to its logical (??!!) conclusion almost 40 years ago. They don't have the vision to evolve the concept, so they will goose it for a couple bucks.
    • Why do we constantly need a remake of everything?
      For the same reason some genres of music get recycled... a proven successful formula and a fresh new audience. It's a lot cheaper repackaging the past then developing new stuff. I've never seen the original Prisoner so I might catch the new series... although I doubt it, the premise is kind of stale by today's standards.
      • I've never seen the original Prisoner so I might catch the new series... although I doubt it, the premise is kind of stale by today's standards.
        Wow. How remarkably arrogant and naive you are.
    • Why do we constantly need a remake of everything?

      To renew copyright.

      You see, if a company owns the rights to a copyrighted script/movie/show/etc then by making another one with essentially the same script/plot/etc they can effectively prevent others from doing the same even though the copyright for the originals ran out. Once you change enough so that the big media conglomerates can't go after you for copyright infringment, you've created an essentially different story.

      Of course the originals ca
    • "Questions are a burden to others"
    • Answer - We don't. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      You are correct that remakes are terrible, with NO exceptions to date. (The American version of Red Dwarf being the exception only in that "terrible" is far too nice a term.)

      There ARE other stories to tell, though, based on the series. What of the agent who faked his death in the first episode? How did he break in the end? Several Number 2s admitted to being prisoners themselves - was there a natural progression going on from prisoner to guard to authoritarian figure? How did The Village start in the first

    • Battlestar Galactica is about the only good remake

      I still don't understand what people see in the remake of Galactica. I see that it has a lot of fans here, but IMHO is the worst show I'd seen in the last years.
      • Oh my God. The content and the story lines are great. That is the reason why Galactica has a huge following. Edward James Olmos has been awesome in just about every episode. It's a very powerful show.
    • Because remake is a good business plan. Small risk. Guaranteed profit. Who cares about content?
  • by gadlaw ( 562280 ) <gilbertNO@SPAMgadlaw.com> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:48PM (#14072960) Homepage Journal
    My favorite show of all time. Ahead of it's time and gave me a view into reality when I was growing up. I remember when it was on PBS stations and after the show there would be a panel discussion about what it all meant. Classic. And of course, they'll totally screw it up. God, I hate remakes.
    • Probably one of my favourite shows too. Though, I'm probably one of the only ones of my generation to truly admire it, which is a pity, considering it really has that same lasting appeal that say, Clockwork Orange has. I still wear my "I will not be pushed, stamped.." shirt with pride when I'm out and about.

      As a family we stayed in Portmeirion every year, often in different houses, and to be fair, if you take that out of the equation, it ceases to become The Prisoner. The location was perfect: completely ou
      • And besides, the entire point of remaking the series in a modern context is entirely contrary to the point of the Prisoner: you remake it and you cheapen it, you make it become a fad or a brand rather than a unique point of history (let's face it, the second episode makes a reference to the fact man hadn't landed on the moon yet!). If you want to preserve the legacy, make your own drama rather than ruining another.

        I think it is perfectly valid to remake the series in a current conext though. The beauty

  • Sixth post (Score:5, Funny)

    by AEton ( 654737 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:48PM (#14072961)
    I am number six... ....wait, who is number one [slashdot.org]?
  • Prisoner (Score:2, Funny)

    by dao_way ( 917961 )
    I always wanted to be chased down the beach by a big bouncing transparent ball. I know, I'll take a really innovative TV series from the late 60's, steal the name and "prisoner" idea, change it completely, and dump everything that was cool about it; that is, "the arty, 'pop' feel." My guess is that the ball will be bouncing after the producer, or should we just wait until the "other ball drops"?
    • Or take a great book, like "I, Robot", and change it completely, add Wil Smith, and hype it to no end.
    • When I passed my driving test the first road trip I went on was to Port Merrion, where it was filmed. Amazing place, well worth a visit if you're anywhere near. Anyway - the gift shop sold weather balloons, we wanted one soooo much, but as penniless students it wasn't possible (plus we had nothing to blow it up with). So we settled with going down to the beach (the same one he was chased on) and drew a huge bicycle in the sand.

      Fun times :)
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:55PM (#14072985)
    Standby for Version 2.0 of The Prisoner. Or is that Version 6.1? Hmmm...
  • Gah. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by solios ( 53048 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:55PM (#14072986) Homepage
    The Prisoner is absolutely one of my favorite shows of all time. I really don't see why a remake is necessary - the original was just fine, thank you. If we're talking "liberties" I can only assume it'll be in the "sex sells" department as opposed to the allegory department, or the Iconic Representation department.

    Sorry, I just don't see The Prisoner working without McGoohan or that 60s Bond-esque Secret Agent flavor.
    • Re:Gah. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      I really don't see why a remake is necessary. . .

      Because the "creative" people don't actually have any "ideas."

      KFG
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @08:56PM (#14072988)
    > The new version will not...have the arty, 'pop' feel of the original...

    That wasn't pop, it was lysergic acid diethylamide.

  • The danger that a remake will face is that many of the elements that made the original fun will be downright annoying to the reality-tv generation.

    skribe
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:01PM (#14073005)
    The Prisoner was great because of the disorienting plot lines and characters - it was seldom clear why #6 was there, what they wanted him to do, or how they were manipulating him. Half the time he seemed to be getting away with some little bit of rebellion only to find that he was doing exactly what they wanted him to do.


    I can understand that they may not be able to reuse the old setting, but I hope that they can recreate some place for the "Prison" that has a similar feel of idyllic ordinariness to contrast with the surreal psychological drama.

    • A setting eerily like Microsoft Headquarters!
    • Most of the series was filmed in the Welsh village of Portmeirion [portmeirion-village.com], which has some incredible architecture. It was an excellent choice for filming the series, if for nothing else, all the scenery remains on site, and wasn't dismantled or auctioned off.

      I hope they could build a new village or sets somewhere permanent, so that it could become a tourist attraction if the new series were to take off. Although, I think it's going to be hard to compete against such a classic series.
    • I can understand that they may not be able to reuse the old setting, but I hope that they can recreate some place for the "Prison" that has a similar feel of idyllic ordinariness to contrast with the surreal psychological drama.

      That's exactly why they have to change the setting. They need some place for the "Prison" that has a surreal psychological feel to contrast with the idyllic ordinariness of remake "drama".

      -
  • by isny ( 681711 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:06PM (#14073020) Homepage
    Guantanemo Bay.
  • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:08PM (#14073021)
    The ending of the original series was a big let down. Looked like the producers and writers got afraid to take a stand and settled for a "you have to imagine it" ending. I hope that this time they'll fix it and make it plain instead of cheating the audience.

    And I sure hope they won't put together a half-baked end chapter where they blame the CIA or the Nazis or involve an alien conspiracy.

    C'mon, guys, grow a spine.

  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:10PM (#14073028) Journal
    Poll: For the new Prisoner series, which of the following liberties is most likely to be taken?

    a) 80% of the production budget will be for explosions
    b) 80% of the production will be for cleavage
    c) the Lotus Seven that McGoohan drove will be replaced by a Toyota Echo
    d) the Rover balloon will have advertizing pasted all over it
    e) Adam Sandler in the main role
    • For the new Prisoner series, which of the following liberties is most likely to be taken?

      a) 80% of the production budget will be for explosions
      b) 80% of the production will be for cleavage

      The breakdown is likely closer to:

      1. 35%: Clueless producer who visits the set once a month.
      2. 22%: Explosions
      3. 21%: Cleavage
      4. 20%: The set that everybody finds cheesy and annoying.
      5. 1.5%: Snacks served to the actors/actresses/vistors on the set.
      6. .5%: Writing.

      To a modern TV producer "real depth" means "explosions an

    • a) 80% of the production budget will be for explosions
      b) 80% of the production will be for cleavage
      c) the Lotus Seven that McGoohan drove will be replaced by a Toyota Echo
      d) the Rover balloon will have advertizing pasted all over it
      e) Adam Sandler in the main role


      All of the above, of course.
      Except it's obviously not 80% for explosions and 80% for cleavage. That's just silly. It's only 60% of the budget for explosions and 60% of the budget for cleavage.

      And before any math nazis jump in bitching that I made s
    • d) the Rover balloon will have advertizing pasted all over it

      Actually, that's kind of a good idea. I'd have "Sony" and "Microsoft" on them, and if the companies complained, I'd tell them to get bent.

      I just hope rover is not replaced by some overdesigned CGI creation. The reason the white ball worked was that you didn't know what the fuck it was. The viewer had no reference point to deal with it. It was a clinical, sinister... something. Intentional or not, it was a brilliant thing.

      If they just do a ro

  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:14PM (#14073044)
    There was going to be a Prisoner movie, did it go away? There's no mention of it in IMDB anymore even. Here's something at least: http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hp&cf=prev&id=18084 05507 [yahoo.com]
  • the new Kolchak. Yikes!

    Anyway, I vote for number 6 and pretend it makes a difference. I wouldn't want to appear unmutual, now would I?
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:36PM (#14073102) Homepage Journal
    I'm guessing that they're going for a Battlestar Galactica style re-imagining. So maybe Number 6 will be a woman this time! I must say though that the new Battlestar Galactica has become one of my favorite shows, so there is a chance that something good can come from a Prisoner remake.

    Be seeing y....oh never mind...
  • Did anyone else have a Kolchak chill go up their spine? Picking the bones of dead TV shows is what passes for original thinking in entertainment today.
  • by Eryq ( 313869 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @09:54PM (#14073170) Homepage
    A one-season hit that was inexplicably cancelled, "Nowhere Man" combined elements of "The Prisoner" and "The Fugitive". Some of the scripts were weak, but the show as a whole was brilliant.

    And the theme music Kicked Ass.

     
  • This reminds me of what happened to "the night stalker". They decided to remake it, take some 'liberties with the original', so it became a cheap copy of the x-files (which aparently was heavily influenced by the original night stalker), and now it's cancelled.

    I hope they make something interesting out of this, and not just try to ride on Lost's popularity.. (I didn't really care for the x-files or the night stalker, but I like the prisoner and lost).

  • Ok, now a lot of people are complaining, and asking why a remake is necessary (necessary? What TV is necessary? ).

    Christ, people. At worst, it'll suck. Big deal, so does most of everything on TV. It certainly couldn't be worse than yet more Eastenders, Are You Being Served?, 'Allo 'Allo, or any of the other crap that's been spewed by the BBC over the years.

    On the other hand, The Prisoner touched on a lot of interesting themes, first among which was the tension between individual liberties and the
    • From the description they've given, it sounds like it won't be a remake at all. More than likely, it'll be a crap series that was inspired by a creatively handicapped producer seeing an episode on TV late one night.

      What bugs me most about this is that the relevance of the Prisoner was in its setting and mood and social commentary. It sounds like this will have a different setting, different mood, and no doubt different social commentary. Why not actually create something (gasp!) original at that point?
    • If the (extremely excellent, don't get me wrong) Patrick McGoohan Prisoner is so holy to you, go buy the goddamned DVDs. They'll still be there long after the remake has aired, no matter how good or bad the remake is.

      The agony comes from the confusion that inevitably results. When we talk about the Prisoner from here on out, it'll be yet another show we have to carefully specify the *original* to the video store clerk, who likely won't even stock it because it'd compete too much with the straight-to-DVD r

  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vmxeo ( 173325 )
    I'm a huge Prisoner fan, and at first glance was very interested to see it being remade. But after more thought-it's considered one of the best sci-fi shows of all time. How to do you even hope to improve on that? Create a new CGI animated Rover? Write a more surreal and confusing final episode? Replace number EVERY week, instead of every other?

    Sorry, just don't see it happening...
  • Might as well get these out of the way now....

    I for one welcome our new Number One overlor.. oh wait.

    In Soviet Russia, TV kidnaps YOU. Damn, that doesn't work either.

    All your island are belong to us. Drat I'm oh-for-three.

    How about a nice game of human chess? Lame.

    Get rich quick:

    1. Find cult classic.
    2. Announce a remake
    3. ???
    4. PROFIT!!!

    And finally....

    When they broadcast this in HTDV, will Number One personally set evil-broadcast-flag-bit?

    MOD +5 JUST_PLAIN_STUPID :)

  • It's not like you need to watch it. If you don't, you won't have your fond memories of the show ruined. And, just so you know, not everyone here has seen the blasted show anyway, nor are we likely to do so - unless it's remade.

    Why? Well, why on earch would I want to go and spend a fortune on DVDs of a show, that noone in my circle of friends have ever seen? Why should I trust a bunch of weirdos on Slashdot of all places that this is a must see series? Are you going to reimburse me if I don't like it? I don'
  • by crucini ( 98210 ) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @12:26AM (#14073663)
    In case the producers of the new show are reading, here are my suggestions:
    1. Add a sultry female co-star, #7. Initially, she and #6 suspect each other of being spies for #2. Develop inevitable romantic plot. She tends to bail out #6 when he screws up his plans. Optionally, wrap in black leather.
    2. Use monumental, fascist-inspired sets with towering spires, grim tunnels and riveted doors. Light dramatically. Every footstep must echo loudly and every slamming door must sound like a dumpster being dropped by the garbage truck.
    3. Make each #2 a caricature of utter, unsympathetic evil, ala Voldemort in Harry Potter. Optionally, monsterize #2's face with latex appliances.
    4. Replace Rover with a hi-tech CGI robot that floats around firing laser beams.
    5. Highlight #6's human side via friendships with other inmates. Feature sticky scenes of sentiment in which #6 exchanges a manly hug with his buddy before one of them heads off to near-certain death.
    6. Use the show as a megaphone for the political issue du jour. Frex, have #2 refuse to sign the Kyoto treaty, whereupon the island becomes choked with pollution until #6 persuads him to sign. Of course, there must be a "vote fraud" episode.
    7. Add montages with hip-hop and rock.
    8. Replace the ironic distance of McGoohan with someone more meaty, sweaty, earthy and hunky. Let him bellow from the diaphragm, "Like, it's so lame being a number! I'm an individual!".
    • It's a right-wing network that's doing this, remember. They'll probably make the #2 characters be liberals, while #6 will be a crusader for the right, a follower of neoconservatism and Ayn Rand.
      • They'll probably make the #2 characters be liberals, while #6 will be a crusader for the right, a follower of neoconservatism and Ayn Rand.

        Just as poor. Thinly disguised and overly obvious political messages are never very watchable much less enjoyable no matter what the orientation.

        That is because often such messages exist to the exclusion of well-thought plot. And really isn't a good plot what we are all looking for any any fiction?
        • I find South Park quite watchable, although (or because) it's often a thinly disguised swipe at liberals. But South Park is not on the same level as The Prisoner. The Prisoner is real art, and says something universal about man and civilization.
          • OT: South Park (Score:3, Insightful)

            by David Rolfe ( 38 )
            I find South Park quite watchable, although (or because) it's often a thinly disguised swipe at liberals.

            What a weird thing to say. I find that South Park is often a thinly veiled swipe at conservatives. I think this is why they still enjoy such a large audience. Matt and Trey are equal opportunity 'haters'. I guess the genius is that we all see it through our own colored glasses.

            E.g., when a stupid liberal watches this [imdb.com] all they see is a hilarious parody of ham-fisted American colonialism; but when a stupid
      • Number 6 already seemed rather Randian to me. He's a kind of superman--he outsmarts just about everyone, even when at a significant disadvantage, he wins most physical confrontations, again, even when outnumbered or at a disadvantage, maintains his integrity where NO ONE else in the Village has--and his character never really changes through the whole series, just like a character from one of Rand's books.

        Number 6 is also being in much the same way as, say, Howard Roark was: his purpose is to show you an u
      • It's a right-wing network that's doing this, remember. They'll probably make the #2 characters be liberals, while #6 will be a crusader for the right

        Cuckle. That would be so fucked-up and twisted it would be worth watching :D

        Episode list:

        1) Number 6 wins because Number 2 is too much of a wuss to use torture to get the secret information.

        2) Number 6 wins because Number 2 doesn't want to go to war.

        3) Number 2 is killing babies... and making Solyent Green out of them. Obviously Number 6 strangles him to death
  • Y---Y-EEEEE--SSS--!
    -Y-Y--E-----S---S-!
    --Y---EEE----SS---!
    --Y---E-------SS--!
    --Y---E-----S---S--
    --Y---EEEEE--SSS--!

    Doctor Who on BBC, Prisoner on Sky One. It's hard for me to think of a better situation that doesn't violate the laws of physics.
    • YEC?
      What does YEC mean? And why would you build it out of the letters 'y' 'e' and 's'?

      -
    • Doctor Who on BBC, Prisoner on Sky One. It's hard for me to think of a better situation that doesn't violate the laws of physics.

      I can: Prisoner on Channel 4 or BBC or somewhere else I don't have to pay for endless pap imported from the US and various seizure-inducing Pokémon derivatives, all wrapped up in a 1:3 adverts to programming ratio.

  • I never thought the original series had had much of an impact on me. But yesterday a friend sent me a package of surplus weather balloons, and I started filling some up with air to test them out.

    Those things were seriously creeping me out, jiggling around in the living room...

  • The new version will not be placed in the original setting, the north Wales village of Portmeirion, or have the arty, 'pop' feel of the original, according to the magazine Broadcast.

    They can do without me watching, then.

    Really without the subtle, brilliant McGoohan, it scarcely matters. His vision made The Prisoner a landmark of subversive entertainment.

    And that is what we so desperately need in the age of the Bush-Blair Disaster. Our societies are riven by lies and led by fools, and it's high time t

  • Count me as one who loathes the idea of a Prisoner remake. That show had a frission about it which, I submit, would be *impossible* to reproduce today. As well you might say you were going to re-make the Mona Lisa using Paris Hilton as your model - what makes the picture special isn't the subject, but the presentation, dummy! *(Me imagining I was gripping a TV executive by the lapels and bashing his head on the desk.)

    Meanwhile, there's tons of gold waiting to be mined, in the form of forgotten books. Larr


  • But I doubt they can do better than McGoohan, who was the main force behind that show.

    While the last two episodes were highly allegorical (and I still don't comprehend parts of them), there's no denying the significance of the last scene, as the door to his London apartment closes with the same sound as the door to his house in the Village...We are all in the Village at all times.

    And of course, as a Transhuman, the significance of Number Six ripping off the mask of "Number One" and seeing, first an ape's fa

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