Saturday, July 24, 2004

In The Village

Recently watched the Prisoner series on DVD - well, most of the series anyway. Enough to get the plot point that there's no escaping the world's wackiest retirement village for secret agents, enough to want to go live in the world's only retirement village for buildings otherwise known as Portmeirion for real, and enough to be astounded at what Patrick McGoohan achieved.

Nobody is ever going to make a TV series quite like this again, except possibly Japanese animators.

What the flaming hellfish was the Prisoner all about? Why didn't we watch this in class instead of having to crawl through all those tomes about the language of thought, the politics of language, and the perception of reality? Here's how propaganda works, in one easy episode. Here's another episode about the perception of freedom, and one on the methodology and function of education, and another on the individual's place in society, and...

Nobody writes about these things or as inventively as the Prisoner series did. Who today constructs an entire TV series around an allegory? About being prisoners of the society we've created? Who would dare? Who'd pay for it? Even if you could persuade an A+ star like Will Smith or Russell Crowe to helm your opus, who'd be willing to back it or promise to broadcast it nowadays? The public (read the Money) won't. Too risky. Too dangerous. You musn't draw viewers' attention to the fact that everything they see on TV is politicised and paid for.

And these days, when an innocuous Muppet character like Harry the Crazy Bomber is considered unacceptable because of the present situation ( We haven't had bombers before?), what chance could there be for something like the Prisoner?

Damn, I hate when somebody sets a benchmark this high. It's like a dare.

Be seeing you.

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