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Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Prisoner

A few weeks back I decided to write a Quest entry comparing the finales of 3 shows that all finished for good around about the same time. Trouble was, I was trawling through all that horror channel stuff and then I went offline for a while and one thing leading to another I forgot all about it. So it now feels a hell of a lot less topical but fuck it, I'm gonna do it anyway.

The 3 shows in question are Ashes to Ashes, The Prisoner and Flashforward. All, coincidentally enough, shows that traded a great deal on ambiguity and mystery. And yes, I'm well aware that the ultimate in ambiguous storytelling, Lost, also ended at around that time but I'm a bit behind and have only just gotten around to watching the first few eps. of its final season.

To get on with it then, I'm gonna kick off with The Prisoner. Now, I have watched the original in its entirety but while I have fond memories of enjoying it, I have only the vaguest memories of what actually happened. A rewatch may be in order, if the complete set of tapes has remained intact on my travels. Point is though, I'm not someone who feels particularly territorial or protective of the original. It's not a sacred thing for me. For that reason I was able to go into this new version with much more of an open mind.

An open mind that was sorely tested. I hated the first episode before deciding that it wasn't that bad after all, quite liked the second episode and then spent episodes 3 through 6 moving through stages of confusion, irritation, anger and finally acceptance that yes, this really was pretentious wankery of the highest order and I was wasting my time trying to convince myself that it made any kind of dramatic sense. I mean, seriously, did anyone even read the scripts for this drivel before chucking money at it?

For a while I thought that it was just me. That I wasn't bright enough to fully comprehend the nuances and subtleties of it's intricately crafted world. Then I realised that it wasn't intricately crafted, it was just thrown together willy nilly in the hopes that an excess of weirdness would disguise the fact. I did 'get' what they were trying to do, with the whole 'giving the subconscious life in the village to help people in the real world' shtick, which isn't the most terrible idea ever but they got so caught up in trying to be clever, rather than just telling their story, that the whole thing just degenerates into a disjointed mess. I kind of wish that this series had been called something else because I can't help but feel that they felt compelled to live up to or surpass the ambiguity of the original and without that "it's The Prisoner so it has to be weird" mentality they could have been on to something quite special here.

No talk of this show would be complete of course without mention of the one thing that did entertain me throughout the run. I speak of course, of Ruth Wilsons mouth. I'm sorry, but the woman has a weird mouth, there's no getting away from it. The run of Luther on BBC1 overlapped with this show and she was in that as well so for a while there I had 2hrs a week of Ruth Wilsons mouth to cheer me up when I felt down. I'm not trying to be mean, and it's not weird in an ugly or unattractive way (quite the opposite, she's very bonny) but it is just ... It's the only thing I can look at when she's on screen, put it that way.

Shit, this one has dragged on again and if I do all three shows it'll be a fucking book so I'll sign off and do the others separately. If anyone is still reading this waffle I apologise, I'm still getting the hang of this blogging lark. This wasn't meant to be a series (nor was the horror channel stuff when I started writing it) but I just can't control my long windedness.

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