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"The Prisoner" – (The Complete Series)-{Blu-ray)-(Taylor)
Reviewer:
Taylor Carlson
Studio: A&E
Genre:
TV-Series
Release Date:
10/27/09
Special Features:

Don't Knock Yourself Out: Feature-Length Documentary, Two Brand New Featurettes: The Pink Prisoner and You Make Sure It Fits!, Promo For AMC's The Prisoner Miniseries, Newly Restored Original Edit Of Arrival With Optional Music-Only Soundtrack, Original Edit Of The Chimes Of Big Ben Episode, Production Crew Audio Commentaries On Seven Episodes, Trailers For All Episodes, Archive Textless Material, Including Title Sequences, Commercial Break Bumpers, Image Archive With Over 1200 Stills, Production Paperwork Archive, Featuring Scripts, Call Sheets, and Press Releases

Review:

The Prisoner was created by and stars Patrick McGoohan. The series ran from 1967-1968 for 17 episodes, all of which have been remastered and rereleased in this 5-disc Blu-Ray set. ***

While The Prisoner only ran for 17 episodes and never quite reached a mainstream level of popularity, there is no denying the show’s cult classic status. Demand has been strong enough that we have seen numerous home video releases over the years, across various formats. After an extensive remastering process, the show finally hits the Blu-Ray Disc format for its 1080p debut. How does this set fare? ***

The story behind The Prisoner goes something like this. A nameless secret agent resigns from his position. After heading home following his resignation, he is knocked unconscious and awakens in a strange, quaint setting known only as “The Village.” Confused and angered by what has become of him, he strives to escape from this new setting but is foiled by upper-level “villagers” who want to get information he supposedly knows from his old profession. ***

Okay, I admit it. Prior to this Blu-Ray release, I had never seen The Prisoner, aside from bits and pieces of episodes on TV here and there. After watching this Blu-Ray set (which I pretty much bought on reputation alone and the good reviews of the transfer), I realized not discovering this cult classic earlier was a huge mistake on my part. ***

I won’t deny The Prisoner is more than a bit dated in a few places. It’s very much a product of the era in which it was created – just a few seconds of viewing is all it takes to know this show was made in the 60s. But that doesn’t derail the sheer awesomeness of the show. With a gripping plotline, intriguing locations and surreal imagery and situations, the show was in many ways ahead of its time. McGoohan is excellent as our hero (who gets rebranded as “Number 6”, and each episode will keep you guessing and have your eyes glued to the screen.) The episodes run about 50 minutes each (as to fill an hour block on television), yet don’t feel at all like they drag. It’s great to see A and E give this show a long-overdue Blu-Ray release in Region 1 territories. It must be seen to be appreciated, and with the low price being offered on many internet stores, what better time than the present? ---

Image and Sound:

One of the main reasons I decided to “blind buy” this set was due to the excellent reviews I had been hearing for the transfer. Like many shows of the era, The Prisoner was shot on high-grade film, meaning a 1080p transfer done right could only look excellent. Let me be the first to tell you this package doesn’t disappoint audio or visual-wise. ***

The image quality is astounding, and a lot of work clearly went in to remastering the show for its Blu-Ray debut. The level of detail is astounding, and there are very few negative visual anomalies to speak of. The only scenes that tend to suffer visually somewhat are the reused “stock footage” shots that appear every now and then, but even these don’t look terrible. The colors are vibrant throughout, and being a 60s show, it’s VERY colorful in a literal sense. This is in all ways an upgrade from DVD releases of the show. ***

Audiophiles will be disappointed to discover there is no lossless audio track, but the track included more than gets the job done, and I doubt fans of the show will have any serious complaints about this little issue. For purists, the original Mono track is included as well.

Special Features:

You’ll be delighted to know that the set doesn’t disappoint in this department either! There are a TON of features included in the extras DVD (it’s a DVD, not a Blu-Ray), all of which will appeal to fans of the show. These include behind-the-scenes featurettes and interviews with cast and crew, rare early edits of episodes, photo galleries, and even a sneak peak at the upcoming AMC adaptation of the show which is to star Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen. The real cream of the crop featured here is a 90-minute documentary on the making of the series, which every fan must watch. ***

The only disappointment features-wise is that the set is missing the book that was included with the UK set. Fortunately, the price corresponds to this. -

Final Words:

You just finished reading my review. As a result, you are no longer a number. You are now a free man. Now get out there and buy this set! The show itself is one of the greatest television series of its kind ever made, and a great Blu-Ray transfer and tons of bonus features only sweeten the deal. This set gets my highest recommendation!

 

 
 
 
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