Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am not a number, I am a free man

This is one of my favorite TV intros, from The Prisoner (1967):

Music by Ron Grainer, who also wrote the theme for Dr. Who.

There's now a remake of The Prisoner, which began airing this weekend.

I'm not convinced by it. It's certainly different from the original. It's okay that it's different, of course. James Caviezel shouldn't be the same Number Six as Patrick McGoohan any more than Daniel Craig should be the same James Bond as Sean Connery. You have to change, or there's no point in a remake. But so far I don't like it.

Here's one way in which it's different: The premise of both series is that a man is imprisoned in a surreal environment, an isolated village, where someone tries to break his mind. But Caviezel's Number Six is a victim. McGoohan never was. McGoohan was always in charge. Caviezel plays Number Six like a character from Lost. McGoohan played him like free will incarnated. Someone who doesn't bend. Who falls when he's struck, but always gets back up again.

Caviezel's Number Six is someone you can feel sorry for, sympathize with. McGoohan's Number Six is someone you can admire, be inspired by.

I'll try to watch the new series on its own terms. But if you haven't seen the original, that's the place to start. Despite the .. weird second half of the series.



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