Monday, November 16, 2009

Prisoner


I haven't seen The Prisoner, the currently airing remake of the classic series The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan, at this point. Frankly, little I've heard has me tempted to rush out and make the effort.

Having read, via Christopher Mills originally, that screenwriter Bill Gallagher says that the series is shooting for "less individualistic" and "more community minded" approach, I wrote the I think a less individualistic version of "The Prisoner" is like a more pro-Imperial version of Star Wars. The modern world disturbs me.

Now, there are two obvious things raise my concern here. First, frankly, arguing against individualism is not necessarily my leaning, but there are things to be said for community, sure. Second, I'm skeptical it's ever a terrifically good idea to use a remake of a story to argue against the original. It seems morally sketchy.

But mostly, I'm concerned it's reasonably unlikely that any writer, outside the brilliant, can make the anti-individualism argument using basic storytelling techniques. The usual result is usually something like The Complainer is Always Wrong cliché from '80s cartoon shows or something equally morally reprehensible.

Like I said, the value isn't my natural leaning here, but it's not an argument I'm unwilling to accept as a value, just one that can't easily be captured as a story moral, I believe. I suspect it's like trying to make an action movie about the value of letting go of your hostility or a rock & roll song about the value of sexual abstinence. Impossible? Probably not, but not subjects to be taken lightly by those of us who probably aren't brilliant.

How will Gallagher et al do at subverting the ideas and themes McGoohan and George Markstein put out there? I guess we'll all see. Me possibly later than everyone else, and, as word comes in, probably even later than I'd have originally expected.

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