Sunday, November 15, 2009

ROCK Sex: "THE PRISONER: I Am Not a Number!"

"I loved THE PRISONER, which was a very odd sort of hybrid of sci-fi, mystery and character, and certainly there are elements of THE PRISONER in both ALIAS and LOST. "
-J.J. Abrams

THE PRISONER is uniformly hailed as one of the greatest, smartest, and most innovative TV series ever made. Its relentless defence of the rights of the individual against a repressive state has made it a timeless classic. Everything comes around again and here's a charter course of the loop.

"THE PRISONER" Opening Credits; music by Ron Grainer (1967)


Patrick McGoohan plays a nameless secret agent who resigns. He is abducted to an unknown location called The Village, a mod and cosmopolitan 'rest home' for those who know too much. He is renamed Number 6, but rejects it vehemently and defends his identity against a parade of interrogators called Number 2. Will he get out, and who is Number 1?


THE PRISONER was 17 episodes that fought fiercely against the encroaching corporate/military state, and ended with one of the most surreal, challenging, and outrageous epilogues ever broadcast.

Marvel Comics attempted to do a comic of THE PRISONER in the mid-70's. Here's unreleased art by the legendary Jack Kirby interpreting our hero's resignation from the secret agency...

THE PRISONER is supposed to be the inspiration for this rare B-Side by The Clash...

THE CLASH -"The Prisoner" (1978)

It is definitely the inspiration for this hip homage by The Times, filmed in Portmeiron, the Welsh village where THE PRISONER was filmed...

THE TIMES -"I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape" (1982)

(During this same period, there was a Mod/Garage band called The Prisoners who may have been named after the series.)

And here's another fun homage video by Altered Images...

ALTERED IMAGES -"See Those Eyes" (1982)

Iron Maiden paid tribute to THE PRISONER twice...

IRON MAIDEN -"The Prisoner" (1982)

IRON MAIDEN -"Back In the Village" (1984)

XTC filmed two videos in Portmeirion that tribute the series...

XTC -"The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" (1987)

XTC -"The Meeting Place" (1967)

In 1989, DC Comics published a superior illustrated sequel to the series called "THE PRISONER: Shattered Visage", by Mark Askwith and Dean Motter. It carefully homaged and extended all the best apsects of the story, and was universally acclaimed by fans with attention spans. If there had been a Money Suit with any sense, it would have made a brilliant film or TV mini-series.

Smart Art fans should also check out MIRACLEMAN #21, by Neil Gaiman, for another take. (This is currently out-of-print but may see reprinting by Marvel Comics in 2010.)

This SUPERGRASS video was also filmed in Portmeirion with subtle winks at THE PRISONER...
SUPERGRASS -"Alright" (1995)

THE PRISONER was a prime inspiration for the NOWHERE MAN TV series starring Bruce Greenwood...

"NOWHERE MAN" (1995)

THE SIMPSONS did a hilarious tribute/parody of THE PRISONER, in which Homer was exiled to The Village and met Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan himself). The clips aren't legally avialable so here's a photo...

The album/dvd "Hullabaloo" (2002) by Muse uses imagery that was inspired by THE PRISONER...

Top: a free man
Bottom: Muse

The final episode of THE PRISONER, "Fall Out", featured The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" in the score. The influence of mod clothing styles, mid-60's pop, and The Beatles still rings through the sounds, fashions, and videos of The Times, Altered Images, XTC, and Supergrass.

Fittingly, here is George's son, Dhani Harrison, cheekily taking the name of his band thenewno2 from the series and a lot of its rebel outlook in this video...

thenewno2 -"Choose What You're Watching" (2008)

And now the Arrival of thenewno6...


"Be seeing you!"

No comments: