I am a number

Thursday, May 4, 2006 by

Being possibly the only science-fiction genre television watcher to have only seen one episode of The Prisoner, and with only a passing idea of what the series is about, I’m slightly non-plussed that Christopher Eccleston would decide to do only one series of Doctor Who before falling headlong into the starring role of Number Six in a revival of Patrick McGoohan’s 1960s series.

Although this is being marketed as a “radical re-invention” that will tell its tale within six episodes, it’s sure to be another hellish shooting schedule, which is one of the reasons Eccleston gave for only staying in the TARDIS for a single year.

I’m more intrigued to see this version than the original (which I know will have some readers wanting to throw their monitors out of the window) if only because my taste is for drama series that have a format which provides answers and a natural conclusion, as is promised in the six episodes on offer here. Much as I love Twin Peaks, I find it really difficult to return to for a repeat viewing because I know that the secret of the black lodge will never be revealed. I’m one of the three people who thought the proposed X-Files crossover to close off those unanswered questions would have been a good thing, especially with all the possible mileage that might have occurred with Mulder turning up and looking not unlike a certain transvestite who crossed paths with Cooper.

Certainly, the one episode of the original series of The Prisoner I’ve seen (the one in which a body is found on the beach of someone I think was supposed to be an associate of Number Six) looked very pretty in Portmeirion. It’s a shame the British village approach will be replaced with something in foreign lands, although that’s probably because of the vagaries of co-production money, to increase the ease of selling the series abroad and to play to as wide an audience as possible, not to mention the attempt by every new series to be the new Lost.

Lord knows what the real fans of The Prisoner are thinking. Will they welcome Eccleston as readily as Whovians did last year?


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