I hear that when work began on The Prisoner, the intention was not to remake the original, but rather to re-imagine it. I think they have succeeded in doing just that.
I know that many may consider this heresy, but I actually liked the new iteration of The Prisoner better than the original. Having not actually experienced the ’60s, I felt that I could relate much better to the new one. That is to say that I am not denouncing the original; I still find it incredibly brilliant.
I appreciated that, this time around, the show had much more focus on the fellow villagers, rather than only focusing on Number 6. Also, I really enjoyed that they kept the idea of mirroring current fears/interests. In the ’60s everything was about spies, but today the focus seems to be on evil corporations. The original addressed the former, while the new series addressed the latter.
I was very pleased with Jim Caviezel as Number 6; however, it was difficult not to compare his performance to that of the iconic Patrick McGoohan. As great as Caviezel was, he was not able to top McGoohan’s performance. Ian McKellen, on the other hand, has proven time and time again that he can take iconic characters and make them his own. The man is one of the best actors around, and he does not disappoint.
The new version of The Prisoner is definitely worth watching. Although, if you have not seen the original, you need to watch it. The classic laid the groundwork for modern sci-fi television. Shows like Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and V all owe a huge debt of gratitude to McGoohan’s masterpiece.