Magazine article Metro Magazine

On the Prisoner

Magazine article Metro Magazine

On the Prisoner

Article excerpt

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, MOST 'cult' shows we talk about really aren't all that cultish. True, Star Trek, The X-Files and Buffy have their obsessed, semi-religious followers but everyone knows about them. If you're looking for a real cult show, one that has been kept alive over decades by a small band of enraptured followers yet largely forgotten by the general public, look no further than The Prisoner.

Running for a mere seventeen episodes over 1967 and 1968, the show was the brainchild of star Patrick McGoohan (Capitalizing on his phenomenal success as a TV super spy in Danger Man) and script editor George Markstein. Its premise was simple: a high-ranking Secret Service operative (McGoohan) resigns from his post, is ambushed and comes to in a picturesque, inescapable village whose inhabitants have numbers instead of names. Our hero (whose name we never learn and know only by his assigned number, 6) immediately resolves to resist the Village's masters' attempts to find out why he resigned, and to escape.

Although dressed as a spy show with an ironic twist, it made no bones about commenting on such philosophical themes close to McGoohan's heart as the stigma attached to individualism in a conformist society, the dangers of technology and the corruptibility of personal freedoms. As McGoohan gradually attained creative control during the show's production, these themes became increasingly dominant. However, ironic allegory does not a successful TV show make, and with a poor reception from the public (who were expecting Danger Man Mk. …

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