Patrick McGoohan, the star and creator of “The Prisoner” passed away earlier today. For those who aren’t familiar with “The Prisoner”, it was a 17-episode British TV series from the 60s that was like nothing that ever came before it. Every TV show that hinges on an unknown overarching mystery (I’m looking at you “Lost”) owes a bit of creative debt to “The Prisoner”.
Amazingly, the show last aired 12 years before I was born, but I still love it. In fact, there are a handful of TV series that I never watched on TV that I count among my favorites. The key here is the strict application of the word “never.” I know I saw at least 2 episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” during its original run, and I watched “Angel” for probably about a season (but sporadically). So those don’t count. These 5 do.
5. The Flintstones
My parents tell me that when I was a kid, I used to carry around a Flintstones T-shirt religiously. I don’t do that anymore, but I still think this cartoon was great (and before its time).
4. The Twilight Zone
The original episodes ran from 1959-1964, so obviously I couldn’t have seen any of them. But once you’ve seen a few of these, you get hooked. I still haven’t seen every episode from the original run, but I’ve seen the important ones.
3. Dead Like Me
This one is semi-cheating, because I watched it “while” the show was on TV, just not “on TV”. I didn’t subscribe to Showtime, so I had to rely on the Internet and DVD to catch the whole series, which only lasted 2 seasons. A shame, because it was great.
2. The Prisoner
After watching this series for the third time, I finally gave up trying to figure it out, and just enjoyed it for the incredibly well-produced series it was. Now with McGoohan’s passing, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get any answers on what it really all meant, but it’s still fun to watch and try and guess.
Was there any doubt? There wasn’t much of a chance for me to accidentally catch an episode or 2 of this on FOX, since the network cancelled it so quickly. But man, it is good. I try to rewatch the series once a year (much easier than rewatching “Buffy”, since it’s not even a full season of episodes).