(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?”
“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.
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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