So, a number of people have mentioned to me that AMC is making a new version of the prisoner. It airs tomorrow night. Now, some people who know me well, and some who hardly know me at all, have speculated that I’m probably very excited for it. I am. But excited in a very cautious way.
It has a lot going for it, right off the bat. Ian McKellan is going to be Number 2, and let’s face it, if I had done the casting myself, that’s who I would have chosen. The guy is solid gold Number Two material. And if anyone is going to make a new prisoner, one could do a lot worse than AMC. I mean, A&E released the box set, and we all know that if A&E remade The Prisoner, it would suddenly be a procedural cop drama about a team of sassy forensic investigators. Finally, special effects and fashion have changed a little bit. Because of the era in which it was made, a lot of things about the original Prisoner seem goofy today. A version with today’s sensibilities has the possiblity to be a distinct and delicious permutation.
But you may have noticed that I said I was cautious in my optimisim. Oh, there are many possible pitfalls. First of all, Jim Caviezel is playing Number 6. Patrick McGoohan was an awesome Number Six because he was a proper, old-fashioned gentleman. In one episode he actually gets mad at a guy for trying to light a cigar with a lighter and not a match. Number Six was the incarnation of all the essence of proper manliness. Which to me, I suppose, is something along the lines of stoic defiance, traditional values, hard drinking in underground caves, and snappy comebacks.
On the other hand, I will admit I know little about Jim Caviezel. From pictures, though, he’s less the everyman and more the underpantsmodelman. He’s what commercials for hair gel want me to think a man is. A few days worth of stubble isn’t handsome. It’s stylish. But as I mentioned, I know almost nothing about him. Perhaps judging him on the fact that he looks the way I’m told a man should look, and not the way a man really does look, is unfair.
Anyway! On the website and commercials, they’ve also done away with the word ‘number.’ Caviezel plays ‘six,’ not ‘number six.’ I guess that’s why their tagline isn’t “No man is just a number.” I’m not sure why this makes me so suspicious. Calling someone ‘number six’ makes them a faceless statistic without personality. Calling some ‘six’ means that their parents were hippies. Harumph.
And finally. I will wager gen-u-wine american cash money that they shoehorn a love interest into it somehow. Now, I’m not necessarily against this. In the original series, Number Six treated women with a respect that bordered on distaste. But he showed affection a number of times, and went so far as to drive one of the Number Twos completely mad in retaliation for harsh treatment of a woman.
The problem, at least for me, is that in today’s society, a love interest automatically means the characters need to have a shirtless makeout section and rub their sweaty beefs against each other. Seriously. Every movie I can think of that has a love interest goes something like this: boy and girl meet. Boy and girl smile at each other. Boy and girl are lying naked in a bed. I guess you just can’t have any sort of a relationship on TV without juggling the porkmeat around. It’s so cliche that it, frankly, irritates me. If I want to see people make time, I’ve got like 50 channels devoted to nothing else. That’s cable for you.
Anyway. They’re going to shoehorn in a love interest, and they’re going to do it stupidly. That’s my main worry. I think it’s great that people are taking an interest in TV’s first masterpiece, and I am really looking forward to tomorrow, but I am looking forward to it in a cautious way. And for the record, I am calling it now, the day before: they’re going to drop some cliche turkey slapping in there.