14 January 2009

Hero worship

I have many heroes who don't exist. Such is the power of art.

Patrick McGoohan died today. He created a television series that is amazing in how completely, unabashedly it declares itself as a piece of art. A television series that is amazing because, in a medium where realism rules, it makes no sense. (Taking the series as a whole -- individual episodes often make perfect sense.)

That series was The Prisoner. CBC ran it a couple of times late at night in the 1980s, where I caught it by chance one night after I came home from working at the movie theatre, if I remember correctly. I was instantly hooked. I was a member of The Prisoner Appreciation Society for a while.

I loved the design, the font, the strange but somehow plausible game of kosho, the human chess game, the music, the top notch actors who rotated through playing Number Two, the Lotus car that McGoohan drove in the opening credits, the clever traps in "The Girl Who Was Death," and above all, the uncompromising commitment of the lead character, Number Six, played by McGoohan, to independence and individualism.

Number Six is one of my heroes. Thank you, Patrick McGoohan, for your art and craft and intellect.

A new version of The Prisoner series is in production. I hope it will be good. One of the nice bonuses of that is that you can watch the original episodes online here.

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