a prison drama as the title might lead newbies to
expect, but the remake – or rather “reimagination” (to
use Hollywoodese) - of a cult 1960s spy / sci-fi TV
series of the same name . . .
A man played by Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ,
Outlander) known only as Six wakes up in the desert
with no idea of who he is or how he got there.
He stumbles across “The Village” – it looks more like
a resort really - a settlement literally in the middle
of nowhere where everyone is known by numbers instead
of real names. The inhabitants also have no
recollection of their lives before they came to the
village. It however seems that everyone is under
surveillance and that Six can trust no-one, especially
Two (Ian McKellen) who seems to be running the whole
It is clear that Six is a prisoner, but just who is
he? Why exactly is he there? And what is The Village?
More literal-minded viewers will be happy to know that
unlike the original series all these questions do get
answered in this miniseries.
Fans of the original series won’t be too happy though.
The original series had quite an impact on popular
culture (you know something is of cultural importance
when The Simpsons go to the trouble of
lampooning it). It is however difficult to see this
remake ever having a similar impact.
The original series had quite an anti-authoritarian
streak: in each episode Six made an asshole of
authority (in the guise of Two), even if he didn’t
manage to escape. The series investigated
countercultural issues such as individualism vs.
collectivism amongst others that are typical of the
‘Sixties. (“I am a not a number,” Six would intone. “I
am a free man.”) The series seemed to suggest that we
are all prisoners of society.
This remake has been stripped of all ideology. After
all, in our post-Thatcher times individualism at the
expense of the collective is OK as long it is to make
money, right? It has also been stripped of the
original ‘Sixties setting even though some sequences
are still pretty downright weird and dream-like for
THE DISC: Six one-hour episodes are spread over
The third disc contains only special features. They
are worth checking out if you’re interested just where
exactly the series was shot. In the original series
The Village appeared to be an ordinary small English
town. In the remake it is set in a surreal real-life
vacation resort in the middle of the Namibian desert
replete with dusty roads and palm trees. Interiors
were filmed in Cape Town.
The Comic Con panel featurette is boring, but we just
loved Ian McKellen going “dah-ling” in the short
interview co-star Jamie Campbell Bower has with the
X-Men and Lord of the Rings star.
WORTH IT? Taken on its own terms, this remake
isn’t too bad. The chances are that most people
(especially those who haven’t seen the original
series) will keep on watching the series even if it is
just to find out what the hell is going on!
[SPOILERS!] More sharp-eyed viewers will
however probably guess the whole “brain in a jar”
denouement and the more ideologically minded amongst
us will probably decry this as the series in which Six
becomes The Man! [END SPOILERS!]