The Prisoner, one of the most remarkable and challenging science fiction series of all time, follows "No. 6," a former government operative sent into a seemingly idyllic but twisted prison known as "The Village," where he ... more »struggles to retain his identity in the face of sophisticated and relentless attempts by the powers-that-be (known as "No. 2") to extract his secrets. Patrick McGoohan's complete classic 17-episode TV series is presented in the fan-preferred viewing order, which follows events and dialogue within each story to provide a consistent and enjoyable viewing experience.« less
Eric Pregosin | New Carrollton, Maryland United States | 08/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well not exactly Patrick McGoohan's opening from The Prisoner, but it did catch your attention :-). Seriously here they are, all 17 episodes plus the Prisoner Video Companion originally offered on MCI Home Video now on DVD compliments of our good friends at A&E. What's nicer is the episodes are arranged in what the fans believe to be the chronological order of the episodes in terms of Number 6's time in the Village rather than order of original airdate (although some of them are in airdate order). As a hint at this look carefully at "The General" and "A, B and C". Both star Colin Gordon as Number 2, but in the opening for "A, B and C" he says "I am number 2" rather than "The new number 2". Also this set contains something released on video previously but only in England, a special edition of the 5th episode of the series, "The Chimes of Big Ben". Definitely the best of McGoohan's 3 British Secret Agent types series, but also the quintessential scifi series as well. By the way, a special debt of gratitude to A&E Homevideo. When this series first came out on VHS on MPI Homevideo in 1990, they made a muff in the episode "Checkmate". In the "Where am I" segment of the opening sequence it started with McGoohan doing it with the fore mentioned Colin Gordon even though Peter Wyngarde played Number 2 in this episode. By the third line "That would be telling" the tape was ok. I can't speak for the new A&E VHS copy, but on these DVDs the muff has NOT recurred. Which means either A&E acquired a better copy of the episode to restore on DVD or someone told them about the flub from 11 years ago. So kudos to A&E Video for to repairing this decade old "blooper". This 10 pack is much better buy than the 5 sets of 2 DVDs individually. Get it now, return to the Village and escape at your own pace."
A must for Prisoner fans
Alexander E. Paulsen | Jacksonville, Fl United States | 06/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I myself did not think the transfer was all that bad. In fact I think it looks good on my 61" Sony and Sony DVD.
I started watching the Prisoner when it first released in the US as summer replacement. I have been hooked ever since.
Yes it is about a spy or "Secret Agent" who resigns in obvious disgust and is kidnapped, taken to a very mysterious, secret and very secure place known as "The Village". It is also about his attempts at escape and other intrigues. Leading edge spy stuff for its time.
To appreciate The Prisoner you must go beneath the surface at what The Prisoner really means. The series is full of symbolism and social commentary while The Vilage is referred to as "The model for a new world order" by one of the constantly changing #2's.
The series blew everyones mind in the late 60's when it aired. I knew many people who could not get it and never watched more than one or two episodes. The die-hard fans hung in there and got our own minds blown in "Fall Out" the final episode.
After years and careful noticeof the world and politics and social upheavals The Prisoner now makes sense immediately to people who are just now seeing it for the first time - like my 22 year old daughter. she had it figured out (correctly) by the 3rd DVD.
Anyway, this is an important series and TV's first true masterpiece. It is a work or art, it is a social commentary and it is very prophetic and more relevant than ever.
I love this set. I enjoyed the bonus tracks. To those who think the bonus tracks are lacking, remember this is a TV show produced in 1967. This is a veritable gold mine of bonus material.
After seeing all 17 episodes again in order, sharing them with my daughter had brought me to even new revelations about the series and the genius behind them.
My daughter thinks the special effects and action sequences are not realistic - BUT be reminded again, this is a TV series from 1967.
Could The Prisoner be remade and updated? Perhaps, but I would have a fear of losing the message. This series was created in an era of relative innocence when most people trusted the government. This is one of the things thsat made the series so remarkable.
Here we are 37 years after production and we are STILL discussing it;s significance. While I might agree with my daughter that modern production values and updated special effects woulc be a good spice to the series I would fear destroying the essence and the uniqueness.
Mc Goohan had a degree of freedom when producing the series. Any newer production would most likely be polluted by attempts to make it more mass-market acceptable.
The Prisoner is a sensitive work and a work of genius. Buy the DVD set and enjoy."
Great for people who didn't get the previous sets
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 10/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While the previous review was correct that the special features, remastering, audio and video are identical in this new release (including the fold out of the classic village map) there are a couple of things this version of the Prisoner Megaset has that others don't, but should have had from the get go. The first advantage is this collection has the disk collected in ten slim line cases, which cuts down on your shelf space considerably compared to previous releases and their full sized DVD cases. Also this release has a pretty extensive PRINTED episode guide booklet that gives more than just a synopsis. You also get a little history of the making of that episode.
Now these extras may not be worth the double dipping for those who already bought the previous sets, but for those who never took the plunge now is the time. Not only do you get the great features from the original set, but also stuff you can read and enjoy without having to put a disk in your player. I give the higher rating for this set, which is a more complete and more compact set than all the rest (minus one for not getting it right the first time)."
Amazing quality, a must buy for any fan of The Prisoner.
Brother Bish | 10/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought The Prisoner on Blu-ray yesterday. Contrary to the one star reviews that were written before the Blu-ray release by people that had not seen the Blu-ray set yet, I can definitively say the picture and sound quality is top notch and is 100x better than the previous US dvd releases. (which I also own and compared it too.)
There really is no comparison here. The previous dvd's were muddy and the picture quality was severely lacking. The image on the Blu-ray release is crisp, clear and looks absolutely amazing. It looks like it could have been filmed yesterday.
I think if I had one complaint it would be that the fifth disc that contains many of the extras is a regular DVD and not in HD. However knowing that I would still have bought this set and been completely happy with my purchase.
The Prisoner has never looked or sounded better."
What's it all about?
landru141 | Planet Houston | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DVD - overview. Well, they are excellent transfers. Visually its as clear as it will ever be. The sound is a bit thin and could have used the detailed thought that went into the Original Star Trek series. The miracle would have been to actually interview or have McGoohan himself do a commentary. Since he's notoriously closed mouthed about this series, don't expect it. Ever.
The Show - What's it all about? There are at least 3 ways to view this series, which is at least 2 more ways than almost anything generated by popular culture in the last 50 years. However deeply you decide to invest your thoughts, it will not go unrewarded. The Prisoner is simply the best television show ever made and one of the few that actually attempts to make the disposable medium "art." The fact that I'm writing about it nearly 40s years later is a testament to the achievement of the singularly minded force behind it: the star, Patrick McGoohan.
McGoohan had come off a second 2-year run of his popular "Danger Man" series. The first series ran from 1960-62, the second from 1964-66 ... look them up on this site for further info ... and were hugely successful both in the UK and in the US. He had already turned down the role of 007 before it was offered to Sean Connery for various "moral reasons" which still seem vague to this day. He seemed to find the character of Bond's habit of killing and womanizing distasteful. In 1962, this wasn't such a big deal. James Bond had been a popular series of novels and the first movie was considered a modest undertaking at best. (Future Bond and current star of "The Saint" Roger Moore was approached and also turned it down.) Fast-forward to 1966, as McGoohan's own show was now going into its 5th year, he was offered the role again. It had gone from a cult possibility in 1962 to international icon status in just 5 years. It would have made McGoohan an international superstar. He turned it down again. There are rumors that he was even offered the role a third time, though I can't figure out when that would have been. Also, by this time, McGoohan was growing tired of the spy format and decided to start a new show, despite the fact that filming had already begun on the next series. What was needed was a concept that would continue to utilize his popular public image of good-looking leading man hero and his Bond-like secret agent character, while twisting them up in psychedelia and strange psychological concepts. McGoohan was, although there appear to have been no consciously stated thoughts on the subject, about to turn the world inside out.
The obvious angle to understand The Prisoner is the literal interpretation: A secret agent, most likely McGoohan's character from "Danger Man" (called "Secret Agent" in the US), resigns from his job. We never know why and in the opening his dialogue is covered by thunder clapping and music. We know he's mad and he slams his resignation on the desk. He is then drugged, kidnapped, and wakes up in the Village, which is like a resort hotel (it is in real life). Its a place he can never leave. He doesn't even know who's running it; East or West. All they want to know is why he resigned, but he's a stubborn man and an expert spy. Only the most sophisticated methods could get him to talk. He is not called a name. No one has names, only numbers. He is Number 6. Each week he is continually tortured, etc, by a revolving set of Number 2's, the seeming master of the Village. But, there is a Number 1 ... always unseen, always watching. Throughout the remainder of the episodes, the Prisoner is forced to undergo mind-altering experiments, some subtle, some not, all the while attempting to escape. He never does. Or does he?
The second way to view the series is as an allegory for the plight of the Everyman against the machine-like nature of society. This is the stated aim of the program's bizarre, seemingly undecipherable ending. The revelation of the identity of Number 1 was awaited with such anticipation in Europe that the actual event itself caused McGoohan to return to his birthplace (the US) for good.
However, the Everyman allegory doesn't quite fit all the facts. It seems more personal and, as the series went on, McGoohan seemed more and more determined to ditch the original "espionage prison camp" idea, much to the annoyance of his co-producer and the TV executives. They couldn't do anything, as McGoohan had complete control. The subconscious underpinnings of the years leading up to the Prisoner seem to emerge as pieces of a twisted media mind-game. Is he messing with us because we messed with him? The show very quickly became about McGoohan's fight against his public image (how a good-looking face becomes associated with so many positive concepts, whether or not its true of the person), the constant pressure of fame, loss of privacy, and continual nagging demand to know his "reasons" for his decisions (for not doing Bond, for not continuing Secret Agent, etc.), and the subconscious hypnotism/supplication each of us must fight everyday.
When a person is literally "in the spotlight" they see the world from within a bubble. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the concept of the "eye" is so important to the world of The Village. The eye is a ball that perceives objects upside down and backwards. Our brains then translate these images automatically and we percieve them as normal ... but does our subconscious mind fully understand what is happening? Since, one question that seems to be central to the piece is the psychological concept of authority, is it not unreasonable to ask "why do we allow people into our heads and assume they are our betters?" The Butler who never speaks, but answers to the "authority" of the moment. He is the real "everyman." Number 2 is always different, but always the authority figure (only answerable to an unseen Number 1.) He or she is seated in a half-circle chair, generally facing away from Number 6, which then rotates back to face him. This could represent the mind's way of percieving another human being and accepting that person as mentally superior. The Boss. The message is obvious and yet completely subtle: everyday the mind subconsciously let's go of personal individuality by believing that another human being is in anyway superior. The person in question can range anywhere from a parent, school teacher, boss, politician, King, or even Pope. Sometimes they are merely "emotionally" manipulative, as in "The Girl Who was Death." The point seem to be the moment the individual loses control to another human being. And, worse, it isn't the obvious acts that are the most dangerous. The world is conditioning the mind to behave.
The eye percieves all of this and the brain translates it. If you accept this, you'll find that it is no coincidence that the revelation of Number 1 should come through the a crystal ball. (no spoilers.)
In short, this show will force you to think. If you refuse to think, you will probably still find it a wild ride. Only the few, the weak, will dislike it because they are too mentally lazy to work out the finer points. But, then again, "One must either be hammer or anvil." "