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A Report On The First Hour

I am – Hercules!!
Here at AICN's West Coast TV offices we’ve seen all six hours of AMC’s new “Prisoner” miniseries launching Nov. 15 and can tell you Jim Caviezel’s portrayal of Number Six is, predictably, nothing like Patrick McGoohan’s. The other big difference is we don’t know whether the world outside The Village is real or just a figment of Number Six’s imagination. As to whether the new “Prisoner” is anywhere near as good as the amazing 1967 version, I’ll likely get into that closer to the premiere date. Until then, here’s “Dr. Manhattan” with a look at the first hour:
Hello, Harry & Co. You've never heard from me before, though I've been reading your entertaining and informative site for years. Tonight, I finally have something to give back, if you want it. I was at the screening for episode 1 of AMC's "The Prisoner" tonight in, appropriately, the West Village at the IFC Center. Jim Caviezel., Ian McKellen, some of the writing/directing talent and a gracious and non-grandstanding Michael Gladis from Mad Men were all there; a too-crowded party at Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's pub/restaurant The Waverly Inn followed. I'm a Big Fan of the original series and rooting for the remake to be good and it was. Not great, but good. There are flaws, but mostly what I saw was more film than television and I am eager to see the rest. As soon as it ended, somebody in the audience shouted "More, please!" and I could agree with that. It's not genius, but it's not an insult, either. It's good, solid, non-lowest common denominator entertainment. The new "Prisoner" has core similarities to the original, but a lot of differences in the details. The new guy has amnesia, we're not even sure he's a spy, and we get flashbacks to his life in New York as his memory gradually comes back to him. The Village is in the middle of the desert and there's a romantic interest (maybe), but I guess we all know that from the extended trailer. Caviezel comes off as more of an enigmatic, narcissistic jerk than McGoohan's intense but disciplined stoic, but that's okay -- I don't want a rehash of the previous character. Honestly, I was just relieved that he didn't totally tank, since I've never considered him that great an actor. There are numerous references to the original series, including a character I'm pretty sure is supposed to be the ORIGINAL number six, but I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say, check out the wardrobe of number 93 and the interior decorations at his place. Ian McKellan is great, there's really not much more to say there. He's such a good actor I have no right to comment about him. The supporting cast is uneven, serviceable at best, and a few of the performances are stilted. You'll know when you see them. What really bugged me was that after 40 pretty gripping minutes, the last 10 minutes or so suddenly cram in a ton of TV-series events and developments that made me wince. Big explosion. Dying revelation. Forced "I am not a number, I am a free man!" Rover. It went from movie to TV suddenly and jarringly. If you use this, call me Dr. Manhattan. Thank you, and keep up the good work!
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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:04 p.m. CST

    nothing will top the original

    by eoneon

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Who is first poster? You are Second Poster.

    by lmoroney

    Nuff said.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Any chance DirecTV will give me AMC in HD before the starts?

    by bryan007

    I'd getting sick of watching Mad Men in standard def and will probably just wait for the Blu-Ray on this one.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 12:11 a.m. CST

    You can't top McGoohan, so it's wise not to try.

    by ToMonicker

    I used to love this show back in the day... not so reverential about it now, but I'm hopeful this reboot will be at least interesting.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Does it end with: And then he woke up.

    by kabong

    It was all just a dream. <P> I hope I didn't spoil anything.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 12:37 a.m. CST


    by Dr Lizardo

    Had to.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Caviezel was brilliant in The Thin Red Line.

    by RedJester

    Great actor? Perhaps not, but very good actor? I'd say yes. I wouldn't be surprised if he wound up winning an oscar in his lifetime, let's put it that way...

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 2:49 a.m. CST

    I haven't seen it, but I think it should be retooled

    by V'Shael

    instead of being a story about a mans identity and what is at his core, like the original, they should make it into a spy show like Danger Man. <p> Oh wait... wrong show, wrong sock puppet. <p> Actually, this review makes me want to check it out. Although I'd prefer if they stayed away from hinting that the original number 6 was in the village. I'd rather this be a remake than some weird sequel.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:02 a.m. CST


    by NovaBlue

    Sounds Interesting, but the U.K should have it first as it is a U.k show! the yankie doodles will prob mess it up! what next an american version of Dr Who??? J Cavalli for Captain America

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:06 a.m. CST


    by Mister McClane

    J Cavalli would make a GREAT Captain America!

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:33 a.m. CST

    Does it end with: You're still in NY... or what's left of it.

    by tangcameo

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 5 a.m. CST

    Just a shame

    by Denty420

    ... that they didn't use Portmeirion.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Can't Wait For This

    by Crow3711

    I'm sure it won't top the original, but this has been by far my most anticipated television event for almost a year now. I. Can. Not. Wait. <p> I am not a Number! I am A free Man!

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:33 a.m. CST

    9-3 = 6

    by Phimseto

    I suppose that's the new "6 in 1...".

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Does it end with him getting crucified?

    by tonagan

    And everyone singing "Always look on the bright side of life."?

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    HERC YOU PRICK! You're not a superstar - just f-ing say if its g

    by silentbobafett2

    Do I need to bother with it? Just say for God's sake! All this I'll tell you it if it's good or not nearer the time! BS mate! Tell us now or both! You drop in some spoilers but not whether it's good enough! You need reigning in mate!

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Took a lot of guts to remake this

    by NippleEffect

    The original is held in such esteems by so many that there's no way that a remake will hold up or even be judged on it's own merit

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Herc doesn't know if its good or not.

    by V'Shael

    He has to wait until some free goodies arrive (or don't arrive) in the mail. <p> Then, and only then, will he tell people if it was great, or shit. <p> But if you think the free stuff will have anything to do with his review, then you're a liar and a communist.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    The Prisoner - what's it all about?

    by johnnyangelheart

    I thought the original was a metaphor for society's dehumanization of the individual. But what do I know.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 9:52 a.m. CST

    no offence vshael

    by therealrockinrolla

    your argument doesnt make sense. if its crap for example why would he want free shit in the mail that was related to it? having crap related to a crappy show does not generate a postiive review not that im saying this is bad im looking forward to it despite my lack of cable

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    The Original Had Big Ideas

    by Aquatarkusman

    Today's ideas are "how can we dumb this original work down."

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 10:19 a.m. CST

    @therealrockinrolla : One word answer for you...

    by V'Shael

    EBay. <p>

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST

    I actually think the TV spots for this have looked good...

    by Mrhazard

    Seems darker and more sinister than the original. Could be wrong tho...

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I just hope it works.

    by Red43jes

    Hey, it doesn't have to be perfect. I don't mind them tipping the hat at all to the original, I just don't want it to suck. One of the actors claimed you won't see things coming. Last time that happened was the first 2 seasons of Lost. Now, if it can pull something like that, then I'll be blown away.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    still doesnt work

    by therealrockinrolla

    its simply mnot rational. giving something a that merits a lousy review a good based on the free shit doesnt make sense. if he sold it on ebay for the monatery value of it the return profit returned would have to be greater then the investment of time and effort put it and then whatever return he would get would still have to be weighed agaisnt whether it " was enough to generate a positive reveiw" or not. it simply doesnt make sense that hed put so much effort into something that wasnt good in the first place. so it is not rational to assume that herc assigns reveiws based on the quality of the free shit distributed which is probably all novelty items and tshirts anyway

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST


    by ulcer

    It's more likely that Herc is under embargo. In any case, why flame so rudely? And it's not like you have to plan your tv time weeks in advance

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:11 p.m. CST

    The Prisoner

    by NudeandAroused

    The original was very strong in the sense that the people of any society these days are less individuals and more like numbers. look at how everything is a number these days! Six's one thing that stood him out as an individual was his refusal to disclose why he resigned. If he did that, then you have the perfect individual becoming just another number. I very much hope that the mini series will examine that. Based on the bits that I have seen, they may not. Still, I will give it a shot. "Pop goes the Weasel!"

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 4:15 p.m. CST

    There is no Number Six

    by DennisMM

    McGoohan pointed out on more than one occasion that in the scripts and on-set, his character was called "Number Six" only in dialogue. Stage directions always referred to him as "The Prisoner." A small thing, but significant. I wonder whether the creators of this version are as clever. <P> I hope to like this. I'll probably catch it on DVD, given my talent for failing to watch TV shows when they air and my lack of DVR. (I missed the first episode of "V" last night because I was at work and didn't set the old VCR/DVD recorder. Of course, half of that was Leno's fault. In a reasonable world, a two-hour pilot like "V" would air from 9-11 Eastern. I'll have less excuse with "The Prisoner.")

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 4:27 p.m. CST


    by RaRoMo

    We have DirecTv too. The carrier will not be offering the show in HD. DirecTv expanded its HD offerings more than any other carrier, but then about a year or so ago hit a broadband ceiling. They launched a new satellite to take care of that, but the satellite failed. My understanding is that DirecTv is now in the process of again adding significantly to its HD offerings. This apparently is going to happen in the "near future." (Read: within the next year.) I would think AMC would certainly be one of the channels it would upgrade, since it's become so high profile.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 4:33 p.m. CST


    by mach6

    Please stop trying to impress people with your faux reasoning skills. <br> <br> The reason why Herc would want free shit is simply to get free shit, in order to make himself feel important. It doesn't matter whether it's rational, or whether the cost-benefit ratio makes the effort worthwhile. It's worthwhile to Herc, because it furthers the delusion that studios actually give a shit about his reviews.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 10:26 p.m. CST

    its not faux reasoning

    by therealrockinrolla

    please pardon my spelling. its perfectly reasonable to assume that herc will act in the way that he derives the most benifit. At a certain point does the free shit really matter? you can only have so many tshirts for canceled shows before how trivial they are as promotional tools is revealed. that being the case can a package of novelty items really create enough of a incenive for herc to write a review that is an out and out lie? it couldnt possibly. if a studio only had to send free shit to get good reveiws then movies and shows on a whole everywhere would be revwied a lot better. you could counter that movie/show reveiws everywhere dont matter in this case only hercs. you would argue that he is probably stupid enough to be swayed into a positive review by cheap mass produced novelty items, but these items really dont matter there inconsquencial, promotional, and have a limited value. also they would by your argument be provided before the review is published so herc having the goody bag of shit already would have no incentive to lie. the only time he would have a real incentive was after the reveiw was published when he could be rewarded for his behavor with the crap you think he desires. the total logic of your argument rests on a reveiwer writting a positive view based on the number of cheap promotional items said reveiwer is bribed with, which is foolish. Now if they bribed him with something of value... say cash or trips, that is reasonable bacause those have value and add real incentive to lie. None of us can prove either way if herc takes bribes or for that matter how many promotional items he recieves for any given tv show. so any speculation on the quality of the reviews is based solely on weither or not you disagree with him. Your logic pitiful and weak as it is says that if a reveiwer disagrees with your tastes then he must be on the take. which as you probably realized but ignored doesnt make a damn bit of sense. what your apperantly underused reasoning abilities should have told you is that oh i diasgaee with this reviewer more often than not, i should find a reveiwer whose tastes i am more in line with. did you follow that? you see it makes sense. is it possible that herc takes bribes of swag or money? concevably. do you have any solid proof? whats that? no? then piss off

  • Nov. 5, 2009, 1:31 a.m. CST

    please go away

    by punto

    "was more film than television"? "it went from movie to TV"? if you don't understand TV please GTFO. we don't need some film elitist reviewing tv shows, I hear the latest Jim Carrey movie is out, go jerk off over that.

  • Nov. 5, 2009, 5 p.m. CST


    by Wolfone

    So 93 may be the original #6? Well, 3 from 9 is... yeah.