The Prisoner: The Edge of Within: Analysis

There are many similarities between this pilot and the original Prisoner series. You have, of course, someone who resigns and a group that wants to know his secret. You have a form of the Village, but on a much, much, much larger scale. You have Rover -X. You have the Constellator, who equals the old Number 2. You have the Zodiac, which seems to roughly resemble the Assembly from the episode Fall Out.

You also have a rather glaring difference in that Number 7 actually falls in love with someone which we can't even picture Number 6 doing. Outside of that, though, almost everything else that happens is at least in keeping with the original series, even if done in a different manner.

Initially, the story seems to be quite interesting with considerable potential for further episodes. However, they are some major problems:

1. The size of the town. It is described in the script as containing "millions" of people. Now, the Village was kept fairly hidden fairly easily. It wasn't very large, so it wouldn't have been too difficult to keep secret, especially at the time the series was made.

But in this case, the series seems to be pretty much in the present time. Keeping a city of millions of people hidden would be virtually impossible. There are simply too many spy satellites taking too many photos and too many people who have access to these photos. Perhaps, for example, it might be possible to cover up the existence of the City (I'll use that term instead of Village) in one country, but not in every single country that has the ability to take photos from orbit. Unless every single government of countries like that had people working for The City in position where they could intercept the photos, The City would not be secret for long.

In addition, there is the practical problem of providing materials for the City. It if does contain millions of people then there would be a considerable number of vehicles coming to and from the city, supply it with various materials like food and gasoline, and there would even be some place where it's waste would be take away to. This again would entail a large number of people having access to the fact that such a place existed and it would only be a matter of time till The City's existence became known to the general public.

Unless The City was somewhere else where it wouldn't be found. Which then places it in the realm of science fiction. The City could be located on an alternate Earth (ala Stargate or Sliders), and thus possibly under the control of people from Earth, again via something like a stargate.

The other possibility is that The City is on another planet and access is controlled by extra-terrestrials who are in league with the people behind The City. That, in itself, introduces a whole new range of problems and questions.

The only thing to me that would make sense as a possibility is that The City is on an alternate Earth or another planet, accessed via a stargate, a space/time warp or something like that.

This then brings us to another difficulty in a sequel Prisoner series set in the modern day or the near future, and that is the advancement of technological methods of spying over and controlling people. For example, in the episode The General, the computer was absolutely huge. In the present time, it would probably fit into a hand-held device. The City would have access to a very advanced computer system just by sake of existing in this period of time.

Their methods of spying would be equally advanced. Granted, some of the methods would be the same such as cameras and sound-listening devices, but the "thermal-graphs" in the Data-pol cruisers indicates some form of very advanced monitoring systems. People have been either had a tattoo placed on them or some electronic chip placed in them to make keeping track of their position quite easy for The City.

Such methods weren't practical in the world of the Village, but in the world of The City keeping track of people would be very easy and thus, escape, would be incredibly hard. This doesn't even consider the advances in drugs that would be available to keep people under control in one way or another.

Another very major problem would lie in the fact the Number 7 has agreed to work with The City, for his own reasons. I would think that, again, along the lines of the technology available to them, the people running The City would be keeping an incredibly close eye on Number 7, not being sure if he really had or had not gone over to their side. As such, it would be even more difficult for him to do anything that would oppose the rulers of The City. It might, in effect, actually neutralize Number 7 more efficiently than letting him remain an individual. This could result in some stories that viewers simply would not like.

There is one approach that the pilot uses that seems to be almost the only approach that would be left to the individual, and that is an approach involving the use of psychic abilities bordering on an appearance of magic. There are various psychics involved in the group in the script, and it's possible that a psychic approach might provide the only practical means of escape, assuming that The City is somewhere on the Earth. If The City is on another planet, not only would the person have to escape from the individuals controlling The City directly, but they would also have to find the passageway between the Earth and the planet housing the City, figure out how to use it and escape that way.

In other words, for a person in the position of The Prisoner in today's world escape would be virtually impossible due to the considerable advances in technology. Granted, in today's world people occasionally escape from prisons, but prisons do not have the technology that The City obviously has access to.

So the series would have to become what I called a "suspension of disbelief" series, a series where you would need to take things at face value and not ask really major questions about how is the city supplied, etc.

I can see where it would also become a very difficult series to write for if you did have to blend elements of the psychic world/magic into the mythos of The Prisoner. In essence, it would become a crossover between The Prisoner and the X-Files and/or Millennium. That could either work to its benefit, if the scripts were of really good quality, or it would work strongly against it as people who are devotees of the original series would not want to see it with an X-Files-type approach, and vice versa.

So, it seems to me that any new Prisoner-type series would have some very major problems to overcome and might , actually, not really be possible to do in any believable form. It would be nice if it could be done and I, for one, would not mind an X-Files/Millennium/Prisoner approach (using the early styles of shows for the first two series). Is it likely to be done? I severely doubt it, but there is always a possibility, albeit slim.

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