The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series broadcast in the UK from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968. Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama.
The series follows a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious seaside village where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although sold as a thriller in the mold of McGoohan's previous series, Danger Man (called Secret Agent in its U.S. release), the show's combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surreal setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general.
The series features striking and often surreal storylines, and themes include hypnosis, hallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination. A major theme is individualism versus collectivism.
Awards and Honors
- The final episode, "Fall Out", received a Hugo Award nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1969, but lost out to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- In 2002, the series won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.
- In the 30 May – 5 June 2004 issue of TV Guide magazine, The Prisoner was voted #7 of the 25 top cult shows ever.
- In 2005, readers of SFX magazine awarded the series fifth place in a poll of British fantasy and science fiction television programs.
- A 2006 survey of leading rock and film stars by Uncut magazine ranking films, books, music or TV shows that changed the world, placed The Prisoner at #10, the highest for a TV show.
A TV miniseries "reinterpretation" aired on the U.S. cable channel AMC from November 15-17, 2009. It is written by Bill Gallagher and stars Jim Caviezel as 6 and Ian McKellan as 2. While the original series was filmed in North Wales, the filming location of "The Village" for the remake was in Swakopmund, Namibia.
Additionally, Christopher Nolan has been widely reported to be considering a film version.