Dec 18, 2006

You'll Be Seeing The Prisoner Remade On TV

The oft-mooted TV remake of the classic Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner is at long last actually happening, according to Variety. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the original is such a sacred text that I'm going to remain steadfastly pessimistic until a see a reason not to be. (But I do hope they give me such a reason!) I don't think it can't be done; I just think it will be very, very difficult to do right.

According to the Variety story, the new series is being co-produced by Sky One in Britain and AMC in the US, along with Granada International. The mastermind behind the new version is Bill Gallagher. I'm not familiar with any of his work, but apparently his biggest splash to date is a UK show called Conviction. The trade calls it "a modern-day reimagining of the TV series classic" and says that "production will begin next spring for a debut in both the U.S. and the U.K. in January 2008." AMC has committed for "at least" six episodes.

This TV series has nothing to do with the movie remake that Universal is planning (announced last summer), to be written by Twelve Monkeys scribed David and Janet Peoples and directed by Christopher Nolan as a follow-up to his upcoming Batman sequel.

That's right, both projects are currently moving forward. There's been some speculation as to whether the movie announcement meant that the rumored series was off the books, but that's not the case as it turns out. Apparently, Universal has the film rights while Granada has the TV rights to the original.

What can we expect from the TV series?

Variety says: "AMC execs were tightlipped regarding details of the updated version but said it will similarly involve themes of paranoia and deal with sociopolitical issues. What the new show won't be is an exact replica of the original. 'The show isn't just a re-creation,' said Rob Sorcher, AMC exec veep of programming and production. 'What we're doing is an entirely new reinterpretation that stays true to the components of the McGoohan's vision.'"

So it looks like we'll be getting more Number 6 on the large and small screens, even though he only lasted seventeen episodes when the show originally debuted almost 40 years ago. Wow. But what is Number 6 without Patrick McGoohan? How does he feel about these new versions? If one of these productions gets him aboard in some creative capacity, then that's the horse to back. Right now, I have to say that I'm more interested in Nolan's version, since he did a great job reinventing Batman and made a fascinating movie in The Prestige. We shall see...

And if, for some reason, you haven't seen the original (not only one of the best spy shows of all time, but one of the very, very best TV shows of all time period!), I implore you to do so before the remakes attack!

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