The Prisoner Reboots the Panopticon

I spent last week chatting up actors Jim Caviezel, Ian McKellen and other principals behind the reboot of Patrick McGoohan’s culturally influential sci-fi allegory The Prisoner — and it was good. I’ve been researching McGoohan’s work for months now, steeped in both nostalgia and wonder. They don’t make them like they used to. That goes for artists like McGoohan and his work.

So I’ve made it my mission for 2009 to bring him back into pop cultural consciousness, through critical analyses, interviews and news, and features about the forthcoming Prisoner iteration this November. I started today with a breakdown of McGoohan’s masterpiece for Wired, as well as an update on what’s coming next. Look for more McGoohan-related content all year from me. He remains one of television’s most criminally underrated talents. But not for long.

Be seeing you!

The Prisoner Reboots the Panopticon for 21st Century
[Scott Thill, Wired]
The Prisoner‘s bold ambition and cult celebrity earned the ’60s show a spot in TV history. Now the creative team rebooting the sci-fi spy classic for the 21st century is hoping to recapture both the dystopian fear and the cultural cachet of the original.

Rather than replicating the source material’s essentially British mainframe, the team is going international, in cast, location and geopolitical concern. Instead of juxtaposing totalitarian surveillance society against bright color schemes, ubiquitous marching bands and enforcer balloons called Rovers, the new Prisoner miniseries is striving toward domestic normalcy in a world torn apart by terrorism, technology and the idea that being an individual just isn’t what it once was cracked up to be.

“We’re all total fans of the original, but we couldn’t copy it,” producer Trevor Hopkins told a crowd gathered Thursday at the Universal Hilton to preview the new Prisoner for the press. “We wanted to reinterpret it as a thriller. We wanted it to be as unfathomable as the original.”

Though just 17 episodes of the original Prisoner aired in 1967 and ’68, the show went on to become one of the most influential sci-fi series in television history, thanks to creator and lead actor Patrick McGoohan’s brilliant political and pop-cultural instincts. The short-lived series’ subversive innovation has since inspired television shows (Lost, Battlestar Galactica and even The Simpsons), comics (Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles) and music. MORE @ WIRED


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