The Prisoner

BOOK REVIEW: "The Prisoner #1" by Thomas Disch (1969)

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The Prisoner is easily the best Science Fiction series in television history. When it came out in 1968 I was one year old. When I was ten or eleven, PBS re-ran the series, and I became an avid fan. I even taped 'em on our Betamax, and annoyed my friends by incessantly whistling the theme over and over and over again. When PBS abruptly stopped re-running the show, I happened to have a tape of the bizarre final episode, Fallout, and I watched it repeatedly every couple of months until our Betamax finally went to that big Thrift Shop in the Sky circa 1982.

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FAN FILM FRIDAY: "The Prisoner" by Jessica Erskine (2009)

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The definition of "Fan Film" is pretty broad. Generally it refers to people making their own episodes of TV shows they like, or tying things in to movies, but it can also refer to parody, to homage, Mashups, and so on. So does creating your own parody titles to the greatest SF series of all time count as fan film stuff? Well, maybe it doesn't and maybe it does, but who really cares? This one is done by Jessica Erskine, and she's freakin' adorable.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Tower Prep: “Election” (Episode 7)

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One of the more overtly allegorical episodes of “The Prisoner” is called “Free For All.” In it, the titular Prisoner is cajoled into running for office. At first he intends to do it just to destroy the system and set everyone free, but as the race progresses he gets more and more into the whole thing, and when he wins, he honestly thinks maxims like ‘Obey me and be free’ make sense. He tries to run the place his way, and is immediately slapped down by those in charge. Why?

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EPISODE REVIEW: Tower Prep: “New Kid” (Series Premier)

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A guy wakes up in totally unfamiliar surrounding, with no idea how he got there. The place seems non-threatening enough, even pleasant, but there’s a fundamental disconnect in that he doesn’t know where he is, and no one will tell him. An annoying-voiced woman is on the PA making announcements. A strange flag flies above the place. Society in this place seems a bit too conformist, and of course everyone wears a kind of uniform. He’s hauled off to meet with the person who seems to be in charge, who seems to know everything about him, but still wants something more.

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SCIENCE FICTION MUSIC REVIEW: "Free For All" and "Resigned" by Michael Penn

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We haven't done one of these for a while, and this'll be a short one dealing with something that's stymied me as to how to deal with it for a bit.

Michael Penn (Brother of Sean, Husband of Aimee Mann) is the vaguely alterna- vaugely folkie- musician who had a big hit in the late eighties with "No Myth," an absolutely great song. Remember that one?

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EPISODE REVIEW: The Prisoner (Remake): “Checkmate” (Episode 6)

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And it’s done. Finally, mercifully, it’s over. I’ve refrained from really judging this to see if they had some grand concept that would make it all pay off in the end. Did it work? Was it worth it? Find out in the observations below.

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EPISODE REVIEW: The Prisoner (Remake): “Schizoid” (Episode 5)

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This episode is named after “The Schizoid Man,” probably my favorite episode of the original show, in which Six is abducted, renamed, his appearance modified and his habbits altered, then told he’s another person, brought in to impersonate Six. Meanwhile, an actual other person has been brought in and is acting as six. This is supposed to make Six (Who’s being told he’s another person) question his own identity, and thereby “Go fuzzy ‘round the edges” and crack.

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EPISODE REVIEW: The Prisoner (Remake): “Darling” (Episode 4)

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Widely regarded as the worst episode of the original series, “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling” tells the tale of Six being used by the village out in to the world to solve a problem for them. How do they know he’ll come back? Because they’ve done the old brain-switch-a-roo on him: His body is held hostage back in the Village while he’s running around in someone else’s skin. (Don’t ask.) In the process he meets up with his fiance, and we find out a few things about the spy’s heart.

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EPISODE REVIEW: The Prisoner (Remake): “Anvil” (Episode 3)

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This episode started out much, much better than the previous two, with a tone that could almost - but not quite - be called ‘jaunty’, and for a while there, maybe twenty minutes, I thought “Say, this has some promise!” but then it all fell apart into a ponderous and portentous muddle, and kind of a disturbing one at that.

PLAY BY PLAY

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