"Checkmate"--A giant outdoor chessboard features unique pawns, human chess pieces. Number Six joins the game, and starts a game of his own. "The Chimes of Big Ben" (broadcast version)--A mysterious new resisdent offers a ... more »tantalizing clue as to where they are imprisoned. Together with Number Six, a plan for escape develops. "A, B and C"--Cruel, dream-invading drug experiments on Number Six attempt to reveal why he resigned. "The General"--A powerful, subliminal "educational" technique, Speed Learn, is made mandatory for all Villagers. How will it ultimately be used?« less
The original cult Television series is at last Digital!
raneymatt | THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS USA | 08/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1967, The Jackie Gleason Show (live, from Miami Beach) received a summer replacement like no television program before or since. Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner have become cult talismen... from the saying "Be seeing you", the Lotus Super Seven (KAR 120C), the Highwheeler logo, The Village typeface on "The Tally Ho" to the village of Portmeirion, Wales, itself. Of the seventeen episodes, though, this second set, including "The Chimes of Big Ben," "The General" et.al., is both brilliant in its scope and indicative of the series in its depth of characters. Second only to McGoohan himself is the greatest No. 2, Leo McKern (more recently famous as John Mortimer's "Rumpole of the Bailey") His falstaffian portrayal as No. 6's nemesis in "The Chimes of Big Ben" brings the series to an early, tangible terror of truly Kafkaeque proportions. That episode alone (usually ranked as first, even in comparison with the initial "The Arrival" and surrealistic conculsion "Fall Out") makes the price, and the wait for DVD, worthwhile. Long relegated to the local editors' butchery in syndication, or the caprices of Public television station managers' pledge drives at two a.m., we can now all enjoy the series that made true television history. The golden age was not just one of kinescope and black and white. The roaring guard (weather balloon) 'Rover' and the sandy stretches of northern Wales call again. Follow the "Secret Agent" into his early retirement, trials, and escape. "Be seeing YOU.""
The Prisoner: Leaving 1984 and Brave New World In The Dust
Brett Cooper | Alaska | 10/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Each episode of The Prisoner could provide for a week's debate in a classroom or home setting. Although the entire series works together, each installment can be separated out as a story unto itself, each with layer after layer of allegorical content.I think one of the main differences between The Prisoner and its predecessors (1984 & Brave New World) is that those authors, Orwell and Huxley, were saying that this is what *could* happen if we weren't careful. I think Patrick McGoohan was saying that this was *already* happening in our society. Furthermore, what could inspire McGoohan to leave a profitable network TV series for such a gamble as The Prisoner? I theorize that McGoohan, somewhere in his past, was "blackballed" or has become very angry about certain issues explored over the course of 17 episodes. Additionally, characters in the series represent people in McGoohan's actual life that he was pointing fingers at. When they watched, they knew who they were--and they more than likely squirmed at having such a magnifying glass put on them.Interestingly, The Prisoner seems to have more resonance in our society today in 2000 than it did 33 years ago during its initial network run. Is it possible that the futher we go, the more accurate McGoohan's magnum opus will be?"The man that would not bend, simply broke. Shattered and alone, he chose a number and christened himself Number One." -Number Two, THE PRISONER Comicbook, Book B (1988)"
"A, B, and C" is one of the most brilliant episodes of TV
Kenneth Stuart | Northern California | 04/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Prisoner" is one of the handful of all-time great television series (one of the others - "I, Claudius" - is also now on DVD).After seeing the series originally on a 9-inch B&W TV and then later on a very snowy UHF PBS channel, it's great to see it now in DVD quality.Unlike one of the other reviewers, I find this particular set to be possibly the best of the lot (although certainly Set One is the best starting point).The episode "A, B, and C" has many levels, and is an excellent spy story, an outstanding "dream" story, and would be appreciated by fans of Dr. Who, Forbidden Planet or the Twilight Zone, as well. Amongst the other colorful elements is a posh 1960s party for the upper crust of society.While not wanting to reveal any spoilers, I can say that the scene where Number Two and his accomplice both turn to look at the door is one of the great moments in TV drama.Enjoy!"
If you only get one Prisoner set, get this one
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 07/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you plan on purchasing only a single set of The Prisoner DVDs, then this would probably be the one because the episodes here are some of the finest that the series produced. Each one highlights a different method used of breaking down the individual, each with its own degree of success or failure.One of the standouts of this set is Leo McKern's portrayal of one of the villainous Number Twos. His character is a delight to watch -- unpredictable, amusing and dangerous. The other Number Twos on this DVD are certainly passable. Colin Gordon appears twice and his character isn't nearly as strong as McKern's, yet the episodes featuring him reflect this, letting Patrick McGoohan's Prisoner subtlety undermine his authority.The whole series of The Prisoner comes highly recommended, but this particular set would be an excellent choice to show someone unfamiliar with the show. The four episodes contained ("Checkmate", "The Chimes of Big Ben", "A, B and C" and "The General") exemplify the best of 60's style paranoia and individualism-over-conformity that is still important today."
The chimes ring a little truer this way.
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 02/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Patrick McGoohan's classic 1967 miniseries begins as an offbeat spy thriller and ends as a surrealistic allegory. It concerns an ex-secret agent (McGoohan) held captive in The Village, a prison camp that looks like a vacation resort. Everyone is identified solely by number, and our protagonist is No. 6. The Village is managed by No. 2, who reports to an unseen and unidentified No. 1 -- and who gets replaced regularly. THEY want to know why No. 6 resigned, he wants to know who THEY are and where he is.A&E presents the miniseries in a revised order, intended to arrange events in their proper sequence, but having several additional benefits:-Showing No. 6's increasing level of confidence and command of his situation-Beginning with some of the more surrealistic episodes (in set 1), thus foreshadowing the surrealistic and allegorical conclusion.-Keeping the original concept as intact as possible. McGoohan wanted only seven episodes, but was required to do seventeen. A&E groups five of the seven "essentials" together, at the beginning, in McGoohan's prescribed order. All ten additional episodes are inserted before the two that must conclude the series."Checkmate" is now one of the early episodes because of a reference to No. 6 being new. It also gives us our first look at the kind of "treatment" one gets in the hospital. I suspect "Checkmate" was originally postponed to save the large-scale escape attempt for later, but I feel it shows that No. 6 still had a lesson to learn. He'd progressed beyond the half-baked escape attempt in "Free for All," but still hadn't learned how few people he could trust. Although I felt the specific reason for his plan's failure was a bit predictable, I also found it interesting in light of how one of the BIG QUESTIONS would ultimately be answered in the final episode. A&E corrects a technical blooper found in the MPI release. "Checkmate" is an episode where the actor who will play No. 2 also performs the introductory dialog. But in the MPI release, the first few lines are done with that "generic" No. 2 (Robert Rietty) before switching to the correct voice -- with a rather obvious splice."Chimes of Big Ben" has been moved from second* to fifth -- which makes perfect sense to me. Yes, it also makes sense to put one of the more straightforward episodes at the beginning, but, as A&E points out, "Chimes" takes place over several months and establishes that No. 6 has been missing for several months, so it cannot precede the three episodes that call No. 6 "new." Furthermore, No. 6 has completed his transition from defensive to offensive tactics, and knows his way around The Village, as evidenced by his taking charge with Nadia. Two details that stood out for me were (1) his giving Nadia the nonalcoholic liquor spiel we saw him getting in "Free for All," and (2) his telling Nadia that an attempt to escape by sea has already been tried -- presumably a reference to "Checkmate." And it seems that No. 6 has learned his lesson from "Checkmate." This time, he involves only Nadia in his escape attempt, because she's a new arrival and hasn't been infected by Village mentality -- or so he believes. What I find interesting about the ending is that it combines victory and defeat. No. 6 fails to escape, but thwarts a plan to trick him into revealing information. The ending also suggest that his own people might be running The Village.And now for the nonessential episodes. "A. B. and C." originally came early -- third* -- at least partly, I suspect, because it's both straightforward and upbeat. No. 6 doesn't escape, but he does make fools of No. 2 and the lady doctor who's been enlisted to help force information out of him. A&E places this episode later because dangerous drugs wouldn't have been used on No. 6 until other methods had failed. I agree with this reasoning, and would add two more points. First, No. 6 appears to have taken as much command of his station as possible. Second. I prefer this episode as an antidote to "Free for All," rather than a setup for the defeatism of that episode. I also find No 2's terrified discourse with No. 1 on the red phone interesting now that I've seen the whole miniseries and thus know who No. 1 is."The General" is what I call a "side trip" episode. Departing from the central conflict, it concerns an instant university-level education that's really a scheme to brainwash most of the Village population This episode introduces us to the gray-uniformed, white-helmeted goons we'll see in the final episode, as well as some of the equipment and underground corridors seen in that episode.This is one place where I would debate A&E's order. Yes, "General" must come after "A. B. and C." because it features the same No. 2, who states the "No. 6 and I are old friends." But should it come IMMEDIATELY afterward? A&E theorizes that No. 1 said, "Okay, you get one more chance," but he could have just as easily said "You're fired," then later, "I'm calling you back in," as implied by the original order*. A&E also claims "General" must precede "Schizoid Man,"because the No. 12 in "General" has been there "a long time," and so can't logically appear after the recently-arrived No. 12 in "Schizoid Man." This makes it wrong to put "General" IMMEDIATELY after "Schizoid Man," but the insertion of several episodes in between would solve the plausibility problem.The bonus material in this set is limited, but that's not a major problem, considering it includes four episodes. I do wish, however, that the alternate version of "Chimes of Big Ben" had been put here instead of in set 1.*In both the U.K. and U.S."