Sunday, November 11, 2007

Modern Steampunk Notables: Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner

Number Six in the Village

Perhaps an unlikely choice for a "Modern Steampunk" notable, Mr. McGoohan’s brilliant series, The Prisoner, stands out for two reasons. First, the Village, where he is held, has a very Neo-Victorian atmosphere to it, albeit with a good number of 60’s modifications (perhaps a "mod-Victorian" – I’m certain the British readers will be rolling their collective eyes at that comment)! The residents of said Village dress in Victorian attire (with some modern changes, such as updated materials in clothes, and streamlining some attire’s appearance), and engage in numerous social events, but speak in modern speech modes, (hmm… sounds like SL (lol))!

The show logo, with its iconoclastic penny farthing

Secondly… the technology. It is quite 60’s (e.g. the mini-mokes jeep/taxis, strange telephones), but there is quite a dose of "Unexplainable Technology" (e.g. a teletype that continues to work even after it has been riddled with bullets, mind transference technology, cloning (not called that, but essentially that)). Again, era-specific (one episode has a computer the size of Mt. Everest – an antiquated idea compared to today’s computer systems), but much is unexplained, and remains unexplained technology – akin to Steampunk, with electronics instead of gears.

An example of the attire in the Village (note the lady's pin - it designates her number... because everyone has a number...)

Of course, I note the Prisoner for these reasons only as Steampunk-ish… the writing of the Prisoner is genius. Even today, the episodes never fail to enthrall viewers (as I’m certain our brethren across the water will attest). If you have the opportunity to see even one episode, do so! You’ll be fascinated not only by the overarching story line, the conflicts with number two’s, and the astoundingly superb writing (a fresh reprieve from today’s treadworn stories), but the subtle nuances from this series that have intertwined into modern culture – that only a Prisoner fan would recognize!

A nice map of the Village

Be seeing you!

For further information, please see...

** The first episode, "Arrival", is on YouTube in five ten minute portions… the first one is below, with the best television intro ever…

*** Also, I’ve been trying to locate the font-type used in the Prisoner… If anyone has the information, I’d be very appreciative!


Skusting Dagger said...

Always loved this series, though its been years seen I've seen any episodes.
And the mystery still remains: Is Number Six John Drake? (McGoohan always says no)

Zoe Connolly said...

One of my favorite series of all time! Well done Dr Fabre!

Eggberta Echegaray said...

I "studied" The Prisoner when I was in community college for Tv and Film Production. The an entire class was dedicated to watching the episodes and then writing essay's on them. Still have the essays too! It was the most brilliant college class I had taken! Funnily enough, my New Babbage Bow Street Police badge is "number 6" hehe! Good article Dr! :) Very enjoyable read!

Dr. Rafael Fabre said...

@ Mr. Dagger - No one knows! (lol)!
@ Miss Connolly - Quite welcome, madam!
@ Miss Echegaray - A class where you "had" to watch the Prisoner? I could only dream of that! (I have those badges on my list, madam.. haven't forgotten...)