Make sure you re-acquaint yourself with the original Prisoner before it gets lost in the hype of the US re-make.
The original series of 17 episodes ran on ITV from 29 Sep 1967 until 1 Feb 1968. The reasons for its termination remain unclear.
It was part written and directed by the star of the show Patrick McGoohan, who had already made a name for himself with 'Danger Man'.The plots all revolve around the theme of a British spy who unexpectedly resigns from the 'service' and finds himself incarcerated in a strange place. He does not know which side runs the 'prison' only that they want to know why he resigned. He is assigned a number and is known as 'Number 6', never being allowed to use his (unknown) real name. He is in constant mental combat with an ever changing 'Number 2'. Every defiance or attempt 'Number 6' makes to escape is thwarted, usually by Rover the huge wobbly white rubber beach ball (you have to be there!).
The whole series was quirky and built up a vast cult following that exists to this day.
The setting, Portmeirion, Penrhyndeudraeth, North Wales, gave it a very surreal appearance. After all, in those days not many people knew that such a place existed. The futuristic 'technology' involved, mind control, change inducing drugs and Big Brother also fitted in with the general 1960s view of the power of the state versus the rising power of the individual.
The new series, due out this year, will be an American affair of 6 episodes made in conjunction with ITV. Jim Caviesel (who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ) will play the lead and Ian McKellen will be the enigmatic No2. It is due to premier on Nov 15th 2009. Portmeirion, for which the series has generated so much tourist income, will however be dropped in favour of a desert location.
I hope a better job is made of this than the awful US remake of the British cult film 'Get Carter'.