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1.2 - The Schizoid Man >

1.1 - Departure and Arrival

Rating Votes
10
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9
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6
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Average Rating
8.7
Votes
13
The Prisoner - Volume 1
9.0
Boxset Average Rating
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 10/7/17 9:23 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

"Departure and Arrival" is a reimagining of the first episode of the Prisoner which finds Number 6 arriving in the village after offering his resignation. The story does a good job establishing the Dystopian world of the Village. Most of the cast performed well, though I think it took Elstob naybe the first twenty minutes to really feel right as Number 6 and John Standing was a little over the top cheery as the first number 2.

At 78 minutes, the story does feel like it went on a little longer than necessary and could have been tighter. I had to chuckle at the idea that leaders of British Intelligence wait at home like fathers who children are out late after a dance because they're meeting with a contact. I don't feel like other than introducing Cobb and giving us a sense of how he knows Cobb (as opposed to the TV series which just had number 6 asserting that he knew him.)

Other changes, while they may have been disorienting did work. The idea of online payments and AIs at work may seem out of place for a series in the 1960s and it seems to suggest that we've had all of this technology since the 1960s but it hasn't been released. However, the technology and feel of the village served to wow and capture the imagination of the original audience and the audio version is to work, the technology has to impress twenty-first-century listeners.

Overall, an intriguing start to the series.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
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Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
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Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 1/10/16 6:22 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Nick Briggs as spruced up the original TV. incarnation that we are so familiar with, bringing it to Big Finish Audio mastery and it's quite chillingly fantastic. With a revamp on this scale it makes sense to bring it up to date, introducing, such things as cars that start by scanning your DNA, and instead of paying for things in the village with credits it's now online payment. Apart from that we have a fairly faithful audio rendition of the McGhooan classic opener for this what can only be described as a cult classic, a program that for many as left a mark on their childhood or adulthood and made this series a lot more than the sum of it's just over dozen episodes. I must admit that the casting in this release is sublime. They have picked a real find in Mark Elstob as The Prisoner, he portrays just enough anxiety ridden paranoia to make the whole thing believable. Add to this the almost dream casting of the various number 2's within the release and the subsequent episodes this is starting to be a classic. I like the way that Barnaby Edwards playing the butler and the rather confused shop keeper is expertly casting, with just enough madness to portray the sort of hidden craziness that was apparent in the obvious comparison of the T.V version. I especially like the chess scene which Mark plays out wonderfully well it brought a new value to that whole scene. I love the use of a Jamaican actress as opposed to the use in episode 1 of a typical Russian of the day. Also 'rover' is better explained than within the T.V. series it makes more sense. It's also a lot more terrifying when it attacks No.9 who is trying to help No.6 escape. In fact all in all for a first adventure it's superb a real re-imaging of a classic that works. Looking forward to episode 2. This episode gets a whopping 5 stars out of 5 stars just for this.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: RyanOM1991Review Date: 1/9/16 8:11 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A decent start - hopefully it will get even better.

As an opener to the series, this ticks all the boxes - clear exposition, good characterisation of the players we need to know and a subtle and effective use of soundscape and script to build The Village.

There are lots of positives - Mark Elstob has some of McGoohan's traits firmly established but imbues enough of his own vulnerability and expressions to make it his own. Helen Goldwyn and Celia Imrie were superb in their roles, providing the unsettling sunniness and sinister Machiavella respectively.

The Village is painted vividly through soundscape and the interactions the characters have with the environment. Mostly subtle and well crafted. However, the two scenes of vocal description of The Village may be a slight step too far, although this has been transferred from the original 1967 episode.

Which is where the most significant weakness rests - the episode deviates very little from its 1967 counterpart. Although it is heartening that the series isn't straying far from its roots, it's very likely that viewers of the original series will be asking themselves why they are listening when they could be watching the very similar original. The long running time (78 minutes) makes this even more glaring, as it inevitably holds little surprise of intrigue and makes the whole story feel slow as a result.

Nevertheless, there are some intriguing questions set up. How does Selzman fit into The Prisoner's resignation. This episode does have one strength that its predecessor didn't - it builds an even more palpable mystery around the character's resignation.

Overall, an entertaining start but following the steps of the original too closely. But it's likely that the series will find its own feet soon enough when it's in the hands of the talented Nicholas Briggs.