BLOGS

The Telefile
Can We Give The Prisoner a Break Already? After the brutal early reviews of this new AMC series, I expected The Prisoner premiere to feel like something akin to the time I had to watch nine consecutive hours of the Real Housewives of Atlanta for work, but condensed, maximized and worse. But I don't know -- perhaps it's a testament to going into something with the lowest expectations possible, but dare I say I kind of enjoyed the two-hour episode? I don't think it's nearly as bad as it's being made out to be.

That isn't to say there aren't problems; of course there are. Ian McKellen is kind of wasted in the role so far; the narrative that's meant to confuse the viewer in terms of what's real, what's a memory, what's actually happening, and what may be a drug-induced illusion is a bit too confusing at times; all the anvillicious wordage all over town is irritating ("Escape" buses, "Way Out" doors, etc -- c'mon, we get it); I was so sick of seeing that goddamn buried anchor by the end of it I actually groaned every time it showed up (constantly) and how come the only really captivating scenes were the ones with the creepy therapist twins? It was like a whole different writer created those and they were crammed into the episode by someone else in editing, but you can't deny that they were fantastic and genuinely scary when Gandalf was present.

I also thought that the way it was slowly revealed that other people besides Six and 93 are hep to being prisoners was interesting and sufficiently varied enough to remain so over the two hours. The cab driver's knowing nod, the bus passenger who swore she heard the ocean once, Two's increasingly suspicious son, the man (16) who shakily revealed he knew he wasn't really Six's brother -- all of it was pretty well done. And the scene where 16's family ignored the news that he'd been killed in favor of laughing at the only television show on the air was as effectively creepy as anything I've ever seen on Lost.

And can everybody stop freaking out about how they dropped the "Number" prefix to everyone's names from the original? They probably did it because Ian McKellen's name would have been "Number 2," which would have made his character feces embodied, and we've already got far too much heavy-handed allegory going on with the "Way Out" doors, people. It's not that big of a change.

At the very least, the first two hours of The Prisoner were smarter and faster moving than Flashforward has been in eight, for random example, and while comparing miniseries and series may not be exactly fair, pacing-wise, it's not like The Prisoner is anywhere near as boring as some of the other things we all watch every week. In fact, I think it's favorably darker than its predecessor, and while it may be a little too trippy at times, I'm in for the rest of the miniseries. There are payoffs here, I'd bet my life cherry cake savings on it.

Did you see it? Did you hate it as much as the critics? Talk it out below.

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