Lost in the Movies: The Prisoner viewing diary begins...

The Prisoner viewing diary begins...

The Prisoner aired on British television in 1967 - 68 and became a hugely influential cult classic. It stars and was created by Patrick McGoohan and is known for its twists and wild experimentation, especially in the final episode (in which someone sings "Dem Bones" unless I've just mixed it up with The Singing Detective, or was that scene a tribute to The Prisoner?). It takes place in some sort of prison colony, a futuristic prison colony...I think?

Don't tell me because for now, that's all I know about it.

When I announced these Wednesday viewing diaries back in April, I said that I would have seen these shows ahead of time and written all the entries before the first one went up. Well, that isn't the case here - despite having the episodes at hand for months I haven't begun The Prisoner yet even as the viewing diary officially begins with this intro today (the pilot is scheduled to be reviewed next week). Should be a wild ride and I look forward to being surprised along the way!

The episodes were not produced to be viewed in a particular order (except for the premiere, the finale, and perhaps a few others in between) so they've been shuffled around like crazy on the air and on multiple video and DVD releases. Many fans have their own preferences, and I've decided to go on the recommendation of Prisoner fan Christopher Yohn and watch them in the order listed below. Afterwards, I will publish my discussions of the series with him as well as two other commentators.

Here is the lineup:


Dance of the Dead

Free For All


The Chimes of Big Ben

The Schizoid Man

The General

A., B., and C.

Many Happy Returns

It’s Your Funeral

Living in Harmony

A Change of Mind

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling

Hammer into Anvil

The Girl Who Was Death

Once Upon a Time

Fall Out


Robert A Vollrath said...

Love The Prisoner and all its weird ways.

Nathaniel Drake Carlson said...

Joel, I've been following your writing for awhile now due to your excellent and insightful work on Twin Peaks(I have passed along word on your video series to everyone I know as it's some of the best work on the series I've seen). I'm tremendously excited to see you taking on my other favorite series and am only surprised that you haven't seen it till now. Again, you've been posting some wonderful and unique insights here and that's especially appreciated as I've been a fan since the mid 80's (when my mom bought me the episodes on overpriced MPI home video tape--$30 an episode!) and I've read a lot on the series in that time (I used to belong to Six of One, which is a remarkable organization, for a period of years and accumulated and still have much of their splendid and in-depth output-I eventually let my membership lapse simply because I felt, after 10+ years that the ratio of new insights vs. going over familiar terrain was leaning more and more heavily toward the latter; still, that average is astonishing for a series comprised of 17 episodes). I finally picked up a copy of the Blu-ray set of the series--the UK edition as the US is long OOP. I probably spent the majority of my decades of Prisoner viewing experience wearing down those old MPI tapes! Anyway, thanks again for the pleasure of this viewing journal, and I look forward very much to participating in your eventual conversations on the series.

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