Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Christmas Prisoner Marathon!

Why bother wasting time opening unwanted gifts and swilling eggnog when you could instead be watching Patrick McGoohan's THE PRISONER (1967-1968), the most important television show ever made?

Courtesy of Shout! Factory, every episode of THE PRISONER is available to be seen right HERE!

Back on July 26, 2016, I published a blog post entitled "United Together (or) Everything You Need to Know About Campaign 2016 Can Be Learned from THE PRISONER," in which I wrote the following:

Anyone confused by the blatantly Machiavellian/Orwellian/Huxleyesque machinations on display during this unique campaign season need only watch a single episode of an almost fifty-year-old television show to fully comprehend the peculiarities of the nightmarish dilemma in which we now find ourselves. In 1967 writer/actor/director Patrick McGoohan created The Prisoner, which remains the most prescient drama ever aired on television. The series chronicles the Kafkaesque adventures of a man known only as Number Six (McGoohan) who attempts to resign from his highly sensitive position as a secret agent, and as a result is abducted, held prisoner, and tortured repeatedly by entities unknown.

In light of the surreal overtones of our current campaign season, it's noteworthy to keep in mind that such absurdities are not at all unprecedented in the world of dystopian fiction, The Prisoner being the prime example. Everything you really need to know about Campaign 2016 is embedded in "Free for All," one of the best episodes of the series, in which Number Six is recruited to run for political office in The Village, a fascist island resort where life would appear to be utterly pleasant and utopian, except when one attempts to contradict the party line, speak one's mind, and tell the truth.  

Though I recommend watching all seventeen episodes of The Prisoner, McGoohan himself felt there were only seven essential episodes: "Arrival," "Free for All," "Dance of the Dead," "Checkmate," "The Chimes of Big Ben," "Once Upon a Time," and "Fall Out." McGoohan wrote and directed at least three of these episodes. After absorbing these seven stories, an equally illuminating experience can be had by watching a rare 1977 interview with McGoohan on a Canadian show called The Prisoner Puzzle, in which the actor offers further prescient comments on the real world parallels to his (at that time) ten-year-old allegory.  

United Together.

A Still Tongue Makes A Happy Life. 

Questions Are A Burden To Others; Answers A Prison For Oneself.

Be Seeing You.... 

If you want to get a head start on the imminent PSYOP-madness that will no doubt be the 2020 Presidential election, feel free to spend the holidays indulging in all seventeen episodes of THE PRISONER!

Here's the aforementioned 1977 interview in which McGoohan, in a rare moment of candor, discusses the overarching themes of the series....

THE PRISONER PUZZLE with Patrick McGoohan (1977)

And as a special bonus, watch the late Harlan Ellison introducing the latter episodes of THE PRISONER (i.e., "Hammer into Anvil," Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling," "Living in Harmony," "The Girl Who Was Death," "Once Upon a Time," and "Fall Out"). These segments were originally filmed for a Sci-Fi Channel PRISONER Marathon that aired on Labor Day in 1992....


For further information, read Alan Moore's insights regarding the lasting impact of THE PRISONER in this two-part interview conducted by David Bushman in 2018 (to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of THE PRISONER'S finale)....

Alan Moore Remembers Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner”: Part 1


Alan Moore Remembers Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner,” Part 2

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