Patrick McGoohan as The Prisoner in Portmeirion
Events

Celebrate The Prisoner’s 50th birthday at Portmeirion

Network DVD, which releases all manner of archive DVDs, is celebrating the fact it’s the 50th birthday of The Prisoner this year with a very special event in the village itself – Portmeirion.

The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan’s visionary television series, reaches the half century of its first UK transmission in September. In celebration, Network is returning to the place where it all began – the village, aka Portmeirion, to host a one day event for the launch of our new feature-length documentary plus a brand new Blu-ray and DVD edition

This unique day will bring together surviving cast, crew and other special guests alongside screenings of key episodes from brand new 35mm prints, Q&A’s, installations and more.

The centre piece will be the world premiere of Chris Rodley’s new feature-length documentary In My Mind, followed by a very special 35mm presentation of Arrival at 7.30pm, 50 years to the minute of its UK premiere.

The new edition of our Blu-ray and DVD set is included in the ticket price for those attending the event, ahead of the official release date. All 17 episodes feature brand new detailed text commentaries and a wealth of newly produced special features, including the documentary feature In My Mind, unseen footage and much more.

This deluxe edition also includes an updated edition of Andrew Pixley’s definitive and highly-regarded book on the series, lavishly illustrated with rare and unpublished photographs and a newly remastered 6-CD soundtrack of the specially composed music scores by Albert Elms, Wilfred Josephs and Robert Farnon, Ron Grainer’s themes and the Chappell music library pieces altogether in one set for the first time.

Tickets are available to purchase from today but places at this unique event are strictly limited, and offered on a first come, first served basis. Tickets are priced at £135, which includes admission to the premiere, all episode screenings, Q&As and events around the village throughout the day plus the new deluxe BluRay or DVD box set.

A very limited amount of overnight accommodation for 28th and/or 29th September in Portmeirion itself is available to purchase separately. Please email [email protected] with your details and PRISONER50ACCOM as the title for further details.

TV reviews

Review: Six 1×1 (US: History)


In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, History
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Why is it that dramas about Special Forces aren’t that special? On the face of it, making an exciting show about the Special Forces shouldn’t be that difficult. As A Bit of Fry and Laurie once pointed out, the SAS (and presumably other Special Forces) exist purely to be masturbatory fantasies for backbench MPs, so putting together a TV show involving Special Forces should inevitably result in something very exciting and, erm, climactic.

Yet, whether it’s Ultimate Force, The Unit, Strike Back or now Six, somehow the resulting shows never quite hit the spot – they’re close, but they’re never really as satisfying as you think they’ll be.

Six is interesting in this regard. Ten years ago, if you’d made a show called Six, the most anyone would guess you were doing was remaking The Prisoner. But thanks to their sterling work in dealing with Osama Bin Laden, the US Navy’s SEAL Team 6 is the latest pin-up of the Special Forces world. That means you can call a TV show Six and it’ll induce as much Pavlovian tumescence as if you’d called it Scarlett.

Trouble is, despite this launchpad, Six is all tease, no pay-off. The first episode follows a SEAL Team 6 team to a mission in Afghanistan where there’s plenty of shooting and leader Walton Goggins (Justified, Vice Principals, The Hateful Eight) starts to blur a few boundaries by shooting prisoners. Two years later, Goggins is out of the SEALs and in Africa, working for a private contractor, while the rest of the team are thinking about doing something similar and/or having problems with their wives and/or the bottle and/or money.

Then Boko Haram come along and kidnap a group of school girls, as well as Goggins, and the team are pulling themselves back together to rescue him. 

Six takes all the worst bits of The Unit and few of the best bits. It tries to mix up the personal and the military, but without having any idea how to create distinguishable characters, particularly not women, who are a never-ending parade of “why aren’t you here for me and your children?”

Which might almost be excusable if it could do action, except it can’t. Shoot-outs and action scenes are surprisingly few and far between, and when they turn up, they’re nothing special. Name an action TV show, any action TV show – you’ll have seen better and something probably more realistic. 

But even little details let the show down. Maybe it’s me, but giving your SEAL team the radio sign of “Delta 1” is only going to lead to confusion in the audience. And sure, kudos for managing to go with Boko Haram as your main bad guys, rather than ISIS (although a reveal at the end of the first episode shows Six is trying to have its cake and eat it), but having to have an officer explain to one of the world’s premier anti-terrorist units who Boko Haram are is not a way to create verisimilitude.

More importantly, Goggins is just wrong as the leader of the team. Not for a second can you picture him as either a morally ambivalent hero or a SEAL. Now to a certain extent, that’s not his fault – he was brought in not merely at the last moment but two episodes of filming after the last moment, which is when Joe Manganiello walked off the show with health problems. You can imagine Manganiello as “Rip Taggart”:

Joe Manganiello

Goggins?

Walton Goggins

Not so much.

It’s like casting Vinny Jones as a wedding cake designer – it’s simply not believable. So even though the rest of the cast of SEALs are (indistinguishable) butch manly types who look the part, little seems plausible as a result of Goggins’ presence.

If you have to watch a Special Forces show, there were at least a few good episodes of The Unit (Dark of the Moon is excellent) and Strike Back, so stick with them rather than Six, since Six won’t have yours. Six that is.

News: HBO renews Girls, Amazon abandons The After, The Prisoner audio plays + more

Doctor Who

Film casting

Trailers

  • Clip from Alex Garland’s Ex Machina
  • Trailer for Big Game, starring Samuel L Jackson

Audio plays

International TV

Internet TV

UK TV

New UK TV shows

US TV

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

TV reviews

Preview: Space: 1999 – The Bringers of Wonder (Special Edition)

Space: 1999 - Bringers of Wonder

Space: 1999 - Bringers of Wonder

Starring: Barbara Bain, Martin Landau
Price: £13
Released: December 8 2014

Today is a day of firsts. Not only is it December 1st, the first day of Advent, it’s also the first time since I started this blog up way back in 2005 (gosh, nearly 10 years ago!) that I’ve published a guest post. Isn’t that amazing?

This first guest post is by noted author and critic Mr James Cooray Smith, who has bitten the bullet and done something I could never do: watch Space: 1999 again. In this case, he’s watched the forthcoming limited edition Blu-ray release of the show’s only ever two-part episode, The Bringers of Wonder, as well as the cinema version of said two-parter, Destination Moonbase Alpha get it while it’s hot, because only 1,999 copies of this are being produced.

After the jump, Jim will let you know what he thinks and reveals that the show is officially considered a form of torture in the US. Before then, here’s a trailer, and if you’re feeling brave, I’ve also provided the two episodes in question, so you can see what you’re going to get (NB: watching the episodes may be considered illegal under Geneva conventions of all kinds):

Continue reading “Preview: Space: 1999 – The Bringers of Wonder (Special Edition)”

What TV’s on at the BFI in August 2013

It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the month of August 2013. This month, the Doctor Who celebrations leap to the ninth Doctor – the eighth Doctor will see his own celebrations in September – with a showing of his last two episodes Bad Wolf and Parting of the Ways:

But there’s also a Patrick McGoohan season – when I’m on holiday, of course – as well as a preview of Cillian Murphy’s first major TV role, BBC2’s Peaky Blinders, and an ITV ‘Missing Believed Wiped’.

Continue reading “What TV’s on at the BFI in August 2013”