Ridley Scott wants to adapt The Prisoner for the big screen


Originally aired in 1967 and 1968, The Prisoner is one of the best TV shows of all time. Many directors have tried to bring it to the big screen, including Simon West and Christopher Nolan, and the show had a poorly received AMC remake in 2009. Now Ridley Scott has thrown his name into the ring, currently in talks to turn the 17-episode series into a feature film.

A blend of spy adventure, countercultural science fiction, and whimsical allegory about individuality and rebellion, The Prisoner centers on a former British secret agent (Patrick McGoohan, the show’s driving creative force) who’s been kidnapped and sent to a place called The Village. There his identity is stripped and he’s referred to simply as Number Six. Each week, the forces of The Village try to break his will and find out why he resigned from his post.

Scott is still on target to make the Prometheus sequel Alien: Paradise Lost/Covenant/Changing Subtitle next, and film versions of The Prisoner have a tradition of being in development hell, so this is a wait-and-see situation.

It’ll be hard to turn 17 episodes into one movie, though, since The Prisoner works as a series of thwarted escapes and retaliations. Though the thing about The Prisoner is that the episode order is pretty janky.

[via DeadlineThe Mary Sue]

The Prisoner Opening Theme

When The Prisoner originally aired on ITC and CBS, the episodes were jumbled up. The only ones set in stone are “Arrival” (the first episode), “Once Upon a Time” (the penultimate episode), and “Fall Out” (the finale). The rest can technically be placed wherever you want them, but certain episodes in sequence create a 17-episode arc for Number Six in his battle against The Village. This has fueled an ongoing debate about an ideal episode order to view the series.

Patrick McGoohan says there’s an essential seven episodes that comprise the original mini-series concept for The Prisoner. The essential seven are:

1 – Arrival
2 – Free For All
3 – Dance of the Dead
4 – Checkmate
5 – The Chimes of Big Ben
6 – Once Upon a Time
7 – Fall Out

The Prisoner - Trailer EP3 A, B & C

After multiple run-throughs of the series on my own over the years, my preferred episode order is a blend of the KTEH’s three-act-structure order (which is how I originally saw the series) and Zack Handlen’s AV Club order.

So my episode order for The Prisoner goes a little something like this:

1 – Arrival
2 – Dance of the Dead
3 – Free For All
4 – Checkmate
5 – The Chimes of Big Ben
6 – The Schizoid Man
7 – The General
8 – A. B. and C.
9 – Many Happy Returns
10 – Living in Harmony
11 – It’s Your Funeral
12 – A Change of Mind
13 – Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling
14 – Hammer Into Anvil
15 – The Girl Who Was Death
16 – Once Upon a Time
17 – Fall Out

Prisoner nerds, let’s talk. What do you think of a feature film version of The Prisoner from Ridley Scott, and in what order do you watch the series?

Be seeing you in the comments.

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.