joy magnetism: I (don't) know why the caged bird resigned...

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Friday, January 23, 2009

I (don't) know why the caged bird resigned...

Magnet #336 - San Francisco Joy

That little spec on the horizon under JOY, is Alcatraz, which I've talked about before. But, I'm using this magnet to get me to my The Prisoner marathon. It's a bit of a stretch, but really - how many prison magnets do you think I have?

Right. So The Prisoner. Somewhat obscure for my generation, given the show aired more than 40 years ago in 1967. But, because Patrick McGoohan passed away last week, and because I hate missing out on something so iconic, but mostly because AMC has the classic series streaming on their site to promote their Ian McKellen remake (which you know I'll totally watch), I've been marathoning the show.

I'm on the fifth episode (there are only 17) and I gotta be for serious here: I dunno about this show.

It's a pretty good premise: Guy resigns from his government spy job, wakes up, and finds he's been squirreled away on an island he can't escape from by people who have one goal - to find out why he resigned.

I can see how LOST takes some of its cues from this show - this island is a fully functional, actually kinda cool, self-governing, self-sufficient island - complete with oddball and ofttimes nefarious neighbors in funny uniforms with odd little badges, helicopters that don't actually let you escape, giant unidentified objects hovering and attacking, and supercute signs done in supercute fonts.

It's a pretty cool setting as well, quite amazing, in fact. What I had thought was a huge backlot at Pinewood Studios, was actually shot in North Wales, in a gorgeous private Italianate resort called Portmeirion.

It has the same fairly cool opener for every episode. It's interesting that the producers gave up like 3:17 in airtime for the opening, and we've now been reduced to the 10-sec logo build or swoosh and accompanying sound effect.

And it has a supercool lead. Mr. Googhan plays the ever-so-smooth prisoner Number 6, well-suited for the role. The guy spends every week alternatively beat down and stymied at every turn.

So don't get me wrong, overall, there's some good stuff here.

But, I think I'm having fundamental issues with it. Instead of a running MoW (Monster of the Week), it's more like an EToW, Escape (from the village) Tactic of the Week, or Extract (info) Tactic of the Week. Or even, IoW (Ingenue of the Week).

Can a show sustain itself if it's really all about how he's going to try and get off the island, or find out who these people are? Then again, with 17 episodes, maybe you don't have to. Then again, LOST's been doing it for more than 100.

Frankly, the MacGuffin of "why did you resign" is getting old. At some point, who cares? It feels like if, after all this, he won't tell his captors why he resigned - he's not going to sell whatever information is in his head, and it certainly won't be squeezed out of him involuntarily.

I'm also a little worried, because I saw somewhere that the show's ending was never truly resolved, and the mystery of his resignation solved. That will drive me batty. Like, forever.

Again, I'm only at the fifth episode. I'll keep watching, because really, even after all my brazen talk above, I'm way too far in to go back now.

Poor Number 6. I hope he makes it off the island. But maybe he can hook up with the Oceanic 6 if he does!
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1 comment:

Gordon said...

two words - gilligan's island