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Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 10: It’s Your Funeral

No. 6 learns of an assassination plot against the retiring No. 2 and fights to prevent it.

It may seem against character for No. 6 to help his captors, but this episode seems to be a case of the good of the many outweighing the good of the few. But is his behavior so altruistic? Yes, he works for the benefit of the Village, but isn’t he also undermining the system that entraps him?


Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 9: Many Happy Returns

The Prisoner escapes and makes it back to England! Again!

Do you think this episode perhaps inspired Rescue from Gilligan’s Island ten years later?


Mini-View: Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim

At this weekend’s New York Comic Con I had the chance to sit down with Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim. Last week we discovered that his character, Jin, did not die when the freighter blew up. This wasn’t exactly a surprise to me, because the producers just love to throw curveballs, bring back characters, and generally mess with viewer’s minds.

As much as the audience is sometimes confused or thrown by the many twists and turns on Lost, it must be a strange journey for the actors as well. They discover new tidbits about their characters as they receive the scripts and often don’t have any more information about where the show is going than the viewers do (except knowing sooner).

When he first started on Lost, Kim had some reservations about Jin’s character–particularly the way he treated his wife, Sun. “For me, as an Asian actor, it’s always been important that I don’t portray stereotypes or negative images. That’s not to say I don’t want to play interesting characters that are full of flaws — Jin is one of those characters. But if all you see is something negative that leads you to make assumptions about all Asians or people of color, that’s something I’ve always tried to shy away from. So that’s why [Jin’s initial characterization] concerned me.”

Though the producers didn’t give Kim many specifics about Jin’s background, they did tell him that he would not be the same person later as he appeared in the beginning. “As in so many other elements of this show, the producers are very smart and they’re very aware and, thankfully, they’re very conscious of those issues. I think that’s why the show is as interesting as it is.” Kim said. “That’s one of the things I love about Lost: what you see is not necessarily what you get.”


Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 8: The Schizoid Man

No. 12 is the new No. 6! In the obligatory doppelganger episode, the doubles compete to prove their identity.

This is a pretty convoluted plot, seemingly designed to wear down No. 6 and force him to confront his own identity–not for the last time. Who do you think won this round: No. 6 or the Village?

This episode’s title was reused for a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode about a brilliant man who implants his consciousness into Data’s body in order to gain immortality. Though the title was mainly used because the producers originally intended Patrick McGoohan to guest star, the two episodes both deal with questions of identity. Which do you think wrestles with them more effectively?


Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 7: The General

We continue our tribute to the late Patrick McGoohan with Episode 6 of The Prisoner: The General.

The Prisoner seeks the dark truth behind a new speedlearning course that is altering the minds of his fellow inmates in the Village. All he has to do is peek behind the curtain…

This episode is clearly a commentary on education, making a case against booklearning in favor of independent thought. How much of this episode is also a criticism on our dependence on technology?


Blog For A Beer: Far-Reaching Influence

We’re about a third of the way through our rewatch of The Prisoner, so I thought it would be a good time to pause and look back over the first six episodes. The thing that struck me when I watched this show for the first time a couple of years ago was how much it had influenced SF/F or geek-themed shows and movies I watch. I never wondered about the references when I didn’t know the source, but now that I do I wonder why I wasn’t more curious.

What elements of The Prisoner have you seen in popular culture?

And what other shows and movies gave you a similar experience? They’re considered canon or classics, but you didn’t see them until long after everyone else. Did getting to know that media deepen your appreciation of the things that reference it, or did it just make you feel that much geekier?


Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 6: A B and C

In this episode, a desperate No. 2 is driven to extremes, inflicting dangerous experiments on No. 6 to manipulate him through his dreams.

In this episode, the viewer is made complicit with No. 2 and his minions, who are also watching the Prisoner on a screen of their own.


Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 5: The Chimes of Big Ben

In this episode, No. 6 meets a woman who convinces him she knows a way out of the Village. Stay for the closing credits, which bear an interesting difference from the standard sequence.

In some episode orders, this is placed as the second episode of the series. Do you think it serves better there than as the fifth episode?


Crossing Lines: Stargate Atlantis — The End Has Come…And It’s Not Pretty

I want to acknowledge that my last column infuriated more than a few folks. Some had some valid complaints, some were just too obsessed with Joe Flanigan’s gravity defying hair to listen to reason but this is a new column, the last column on Stargate: Atlantis (at least until the movie comes out!) and I have a lot to say and possibly more folks to piss off, so let’s get cracking!

First of all, I avoided “Brain Storm” for quite a while. Last column I expressed my distaste for episodes that focus simply on John Sheppard, well I also feel annoyance with ones that focus on the Rodney McKay/Jennifer Keller relationship. I just think that David Hewlett and Jewel Staite are much better actors than Flanigan so I can watch more easily through my annoyance. But I will again send up the question I have asked myself so very many times this season: Where are Ronon and Teyla? At least this episode we get a little something on where Ronon is, Teyla’s whereabouts are an unaddressed mystery.

McKay and Keller go to a super-secret science gathering where an unstable invention once again threatens lives. The highlight of the episode for me was the inclusion of Bill Nye, the Science Guy in the gathering of scientific geniuses. Not only does the mocking of his persona and scientific knowledge provide some of the biggest laughs of the episode but his facial reactions to the insults are hilarious. The relationship between Rodney and Keller seems exceptionally more unbelievable as time goes on, I don’t know what it is but the whole thing feels so pasted on. It’s almost as if the actors themselves are tired of the storyline or no longer care about it.

Conclusion — An overconfident scientist must bow to the genius of McKay, Keller almost dies but Rodney saves her which leads to the overconfident scientist claiming all the credit for stopping the horrific machine he invented in the first place. It, like many episodes this season, feels like filler and honestly in the last few episodes of the show altogether I expect a little bit better.


Rewatch: The Prisoner — Episode 4: Checkmate

This episode literalizes the metaphor with a giant chess game played with human pieces. It’s important for No. 6 to know what part he plays and whom is on his side; and he thinks he’s got the game figured out.

The Prisoner is obviously a pawn, as he soon discovers. His approach in this episode suggests he thinks he can win over his captors through strategy. Do you think he’s going about his resistance in a logical way? Is he making the right moves, or does the Village have the edge?