There’s nothing old on TV anymore. Back in the 80s they often repeated classic TV shows and it would be an event for me to watch them even if everyone else had already seen them. I can’t believe I watched Roots when it was first broadcast in 1977. I would have been too young. But sometime later it ran again on the BBC and I sat through the entire thing. It had a profound impact on me.
In 1985 after Robert Graves died they reran I, Claudius on BBC2 and I never missed an episode. It was the most dastardly thing I had ever seen and Derek Jacobi’s Clau-Clau-Claudius remains the high point of TV acting. Also Christopher Biggins as the Emperor Nero is the kind of thing that’s fairly hard to unsee.
Back in 1983, the new channel, Channel 4, was trying to win audiences by delivering programming that was deliberately niche and different. Over 17 weeks culminating with the final episode on Monday, January 16, they ran The Prisoner.
I knew before I started watching that it was supposed to be something special. It must have been on my radar somehow, but I could never have been prepared for how unlike anything else The Prisoner was. I know I’m not the first person to have said so, but 30 years after watching the show, I truly believe that Patrick McGoohan as No. 6 was probably the coolest person ever to have been on TV. Prettier than James T. Kirk. Smirkier than Thomas Magnum. Snarkier than Jim Rockford. And with more heart than all of them.
The show was sometimes frustrating and often incomprehensible — the ending, a total mindfug. I loved it in 1984 and I have fond memories of it today. Also, greatest opening sequence ever.
- Currently reading – Monuments Men, page 250
- TV watched since last blog – Justified 502; Pawn Stars 702-706; Sherlock 303; Person of Interest 312; American Idol 1301; Castle 609; Elementary 213
- Movies endured since last blog – About Time – White people with large homes. Silly guff.
- Simchas attended so far this year – 5 (1 x barmitzvah, 3 x batmitzvahs, 1 x double batmizvah)