The web tells me that I am not the only person out there disappointed by AMC's remake of the classic 1960s British spy / sci-fi / conspiracy theory television show The Prisoner. I'm a fan of AMC nonetheless. In addition to Mad Men, which with the possible exceptions of HBO's Bored To Death and NBC's Thirty Rock is the best thing currently on the tube, AMC has generously made each and every episode of the original Prisoner available for viewing on the web.
At one time I'd planned to blog my way through all of the original Prisoner programs, but of course life and work got in the way of that overambitious project. My thoughts about the original show, and why you should watch it, were blogged and can be found here.
Shorter version: The Prisoner may not be the best television show ever made, but it is the best anyone's done on the universal human emotions of fear, self-doubt, and paranoia. You need only read the news to understand the extent to which these emotions dominate our world today.
Many don't understand it or turn away from it in disgust despite its garish colors, friendly surf music soundtrack, charming setting, and humor, because television giant Patrick McGoohan's masterpiece is as close as anyone's ever gotten to putting Franz Kafka on the tube: Franz Kafka mixed with Ian Fleming. That's the show's premise: what if James Bond went off the reservation? What would They do to get him back? How would he resist? And in fact, aren't They doing the same thing to us all. Like Kafka, the show is best viewed as an allegory for the world.
You can watch the entire original series by clicking here. It won't just take your Friday afternoon. It will imprison many afternoons and evenings to come.