The Unmutual Reviews: 2009 Comic Con AMC Remake trailer premiere

Review and photos by Rob in Dago.

Wednesday was preview night at Comic-Con, and it promised more than it would, or could deliver – the invitation to “Get a Number at the Prisoner Booth!” was somewhat antithetical to the original series, and it was very much a push-promotion: a fair number of hired lads and lasses in black suits with white piping, getting everyone queued up over there first to take a mug-shot picture, and then queue up over here to pick up your official badge I.D.!! It was well received, any way, by lots of attendees and as I waited in line in No.6 attire, an amazing number of people recognized who I was and that the costume was from the original series.

The re-releases have really done well, in the recognition of the original Prisoner series by many people who
wouldn’t have had a clue before, and the level of young people with an interest in the original is nice to see, and hearing them talk knowledgeably about it is a good sign for its long term influence on TV and popular culture. The booth also had clips from the upcoming series, and a new Prisoner comic-book from Marvel Comics and AMC is being passed out for free. Here’s a link to the download if you are interested:

I spoke to the booth “Prisoners”, who seemed to have less knowledge than the attendees about the original, and were hired strictly to run the booth and numbers scheme, and had no real idea about the airing dates or much of anything about the new Prisoner series.

Friday was the real boon to more info, as the new Prisoner panel was in one of the larger halls at the Convention Center, and was packed full.

Lennie James said at the Prisoner Panel: Whenever someone on the set said something or did something that was curious, they would say,"Well, that's very Village.", or "How Village." They really were in tune with the whole aspect of the series.

Jim Caviezel is the lead as No. 6, and was there with Lennie James, who plays No. 147 – a taxi driver in the new Village, and Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays (do not read on if you wish to be surprised watching the show) the son of No. 2, played by the great Ian McKellen – a better No. 2 certainly wouldn’t be found – who unfortunately wasn’t able to be at The Comic-Con.

The panel was rounded out by Bill Gallagher, the writer for series, and Vlad Wolynetz, the honcho from
AMC. They all seemed to like the aspect of being Villagers for the 21st century, and spoke of the intensity on the set for a real worthwhile product to come out it.

They also spoke of Swakopmund, Namibia, the desert set used as the new Village, which is very real place they borrowed – it has elements of the original Village in its very apartness from everything else, as it’s fairly isolated. The taxis in the Village are all red and white Renault Dauphines from the sixties, and older Mercedes and I think a DKW were trundling around onscreen. Very retro looking. No “uniforms” like the original per se, but it looks like summer wear suits and a holiday place – speaking of which, Mr. Gallagher mentioned a part of the Village is for persistent troublemakers, and is called a “Resort”, where everyone is attired like the original Prisoner series, one of the many touchstones, like “Be Seeing You” as the common catchphrase,
and yes, Rover is in evidence as big white ball, and possibly more powerful than before.

There was some discussion about using different more horror-themed Rovers, but in the end, they opted for McGoohan’s brilliantly lucky creation – there is no substitute for Rover’s menace, even today. The theme is individuality can be subverted into conformity, and can be just as dangerous as conformity. A word about one of the storylines underlying the main one – No. 2 lives with his family in the Village, and his son is becoming aware of the outside world, and part of the character developments seems to be a more three dimensional No.2, something I think the writer has built on from Leo McKern’s brilliant work in the original. There are plenty of families in this Village, and children are part of the trapped population, something only touched on briefly on the original in ”The Girl Who Was Death” episode. It has a big budget, was filmed on 35MM, and looks beautiful, a nice tribute to how well the original looked. It’s planned on being shown in the States as three two-hour episodes on consecutive nights in November, but unfortunately, no one knew the exact airing dates in the UK – even Vlad Wolynetz, AMC’s ramrod for the entire creation and marketing of the new show, told me personally he didn’t know what ITV has planned, I’m sorry to say. They had a Con-exclusive 9 minute promo for it that was shown at the panel, but it’s now available online at AMC’s website:

There was also a very short segment with Ian McKellen tormenting a Village lackey, that was clever and funny, and chilling, too. The series looks well-made, and is not strictly a remake, but more a following-on, in an independent and new direction. It has an excellent cast, and yes, it will be more of a relevant show to this century than the last one, and if the panel guests are anything to judge by, a respectful attempt to bring Patrick McGoohan’s vision into these times. Mr. McGoohan was well aware of the show, and had a look at the
scripts for at least some sort of approval – he told them he himself should play No. 2 (!!!) , but then allowed that Ian Mckellen would do a great job! AMC and ITV wanted Patrick McGoohan on the show in a small cameo role somehow, but sadly, he really wasn’t in good enough health evidently. I came away with anticipation, if nothing else, it may be a noble failure, but it looks like a damn good show with a real appreciation for the real Prisoner TV show we know and love so well.


Stars of AMC’s highly anticipated mini-series “The Prisoner,” including Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, Thin Red Line, Pay It Forward), Jamie Campbell-Bower (Sweeney Todd, The Twilight Saga: New Moon) and Lennie James (“Jericho”) descend on Comic-Con 2009 for a panel event and exclusive sneak preview of the highly anticipated six-part series. “The Prisoner” panel, scheduled for Friday, July 24 at 11:30am, also features “The Prisoner” writer Bill Gallagher (Conviction, Clocking Off) and AMC’s Vlad Wolynetz, vice president of production, and will be moderated by producer and director Robert Meyer Burnett. “The Prisoner,” a re-imagination of the 1960s cult classic created by the late Patrick McGoohan, premieres this November on AMC.


Couldn't make it out to San Diego? Not to worry -- check out AMC’s video recap of The Prisoner panel at Comic-Con and hear Jim Caviezel on what it's like to be Two facing off against Six (Ian McKellen); Lennie James contemplates the meaning of The Village's ID numbers; and Jamie Campbell-Bower confesses how he was moved by the script straight from the start:

You can also watch the 9-minute preview of The Prisoner which premiered at Comic-Con:


For the most up-to-date news check out the official blog:

Follow The Prisoner on Twitter:

The Prisoner Facebook:

The Prisoner premieres November 2009 on AMC

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