‘The Prisoner’ Marathon

(Above: Patrick McGoohan in ‘The Prisoner.” Source: YouTube video)

This Sunday, June 9, Comet TV will run a marathon of The Prisoner, the cult favorite science fiction series starring Patrick McGoohan as a British secret agent who learns you can never leave the service.

Comet TV will show 14 back-to-back episodes, starting with “The Arrival” at 10 am ET/PT. (The British series consisted of 17 episodes and first aired in the US on CBS in the summer of 1968).

The Prisoner, which featured one of the longest opening credit sequences in TV history, explains how, having resigned his spy job, Number Six (McGoohan) is kidnapped and wakes up in “the Village,” a lovely, quaint place that is nevertheless a prison.

“Where am I?” asks Number Six.
“In the Village,” replies his inquisitor.
“What do you want?”
“Information.”
“Whose side are you on?”
“That would be telling.”

Number Six is questioned episode after episode by different interrogators (including Number Two, played in a few episodes by Leo McKern) about his reasons for resigning. Resourceful Number Six’s numerous attempts to escape, which seem teasingly attainable, only land him back in the Village.

The Prisoner is replete with riddles that may or may not have answers, but that’s part of the fun. For example, what does the penny-farthing symbol mean? (Check out this fan page to explore further.)

The show’s modest budget became the mother of invention, including the use of a giant rolling balloon that engulfs prisoners who don’t play by the rules.

McGoohan created The Prisoner, directing five and writing six of the episodes. The feel of the show is very ’60s mod, including a finale underscored by The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.”

To check for air times in your area, visit CometTV.com/schedule.

To see if you’re in one of the 100+ markets that can access Comet over the air via antenna, go to comettv.com and enter your zip code.

You can also watch the channnel online at comettv.com or access it on Roku or Apple TV.

All 17 episodes are also available on demand – for free – from Tubi and Archive.org. Some episodes are also on YouTube, including “The Arrival,” which you can watch here:

The Prisoner was rebooted in 2009 as a decidedly drabber seven-episode AMC miniseries starring Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel. You can buy individual episodes for $1.99 or the entire series for $16.99 from iTunes.

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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2 thoughts on “‘The Prisoner’ Marathon”

  1. It is clear even from the 2 episode of the “prisoner that Number 6 who resigned from MI6 British Secret Service has to much Secret information about his own Country to truly let him be “free”. One of the episodes shows him escaping from the “village” and landing right back at his house he owned and it so clear that only the government of Britain is involved with changing his deed of the his home and installing this very kind woman who is just a bit to friendly with him and when he goes back to his government job all the higher ups are so guilty and make it very clear to me as he gets back in the plane to find this mysterious island that his fellow agent seeing him off say’s very coldly and sinister, “He’s an old, old friend..” !!! Number 6 is from “MI6” furthermore to make absolutely sure he won’t blab secrets they play all kinds of physiological games on him to see if he will squeal !! All the character are British because it’s an inside job.. It’s so obvious !! I think it should have been make as a movie not as a series for T.V. It’s just to boring to watch over and over again unless your a bit nuts !!

  2. Would like to see more of the series. The ending I remember tells the real reason they did what they did to him. The main idea was for the ppl who control world events to study him an his methods so they could use them to their advantage. They would of known why he wanted to resign. Intel is their job. He escaped numerous times an ended up back there. Shows that the people in control had others as spys who could stop any effort to disclose their organization. In end he does escape but the door to his apartment opens just like it did in the village meaning the organization could now control him in public. They used the knowledge they gained from him to control him an others. Just like real life today.

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