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Showing posts from September, 2014

Man in a Suitcase: First Impressions

I have had the box set of Man in a Suitcase for some time: I bought them on spec from ebay, because it's one of the series that's always mentioned in the same breath with all the other TV series that you'll read about here. I have been watching the episodes in a rather desultory fashion on & off, but this series has come up in the cult TV blogosphere recently, & I thought I'd stick my neck out. There's one thing that I'm finding repeated all over the internet about Richard Bradford, that he is a method actor (for example it comes up on the wikipedia, tv.com & amazon.co.uk pages referring to the show rather than Bradford himself). This is where my problem with this show begins. Method acting refers to a collection of inward techniques, pioneered by Stanislavski, where the actor creates the part within himself, as opposed to the purely external techniques used in classical drama training. And here's the nub: I get suspicious when an actor'

Allegory in The Prisoner: Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling

Right. This is where I really get to go to town on my own theories with allegory in The Prisoner. Of course this is the odd episode out. Of course McGoohan is barely seen, & the wole episode isn't very 'McGoohan' at all. The majority of the episode even takes place outside of The Village. These are all the things that make this episode...I can only use the phrase 'stand out' from the rest, & it is the aspects that make people dislike this episode that must be grasped onto for the meaning here. The episode opens with a unique opener of men looking at transparencies. Much is made of slide Number 6. I'm not going to labour the wholly obvious point there. The presence of the great & the good & photography introduce the allegorical themes of this episode. It is about intelligence/technology (I suppose what we would now call information technology), & it is about power. The key intelligence here is the knowledge Selzmann has developed of trans

The Avengers: The Outside-In Man

More duvet TV, this time going back to Mrs Gale, & with a version of The Avengers that fits more into the 'real' end of my real/unreal TV spectrum. Only two days ago I posted that I didn't have a favourite Avengers girl - well today I'm prepared to scrub that & declare myself for Mrs Gale. Here's the thing about Mrs Gale - for the time, when people didn't wear leather in the way you can now, it was incredibly sexy. She was going around in fetish gear, well before Mrs Peel was dressed up in A Touch of Brimstone. The show must have been incredibly racy for 1964 - the implication that Steed & Mrs Gale are sleeping together is very clearly there, read with post-sexual revolution eyes. Also the raciness has hit me afresh coming from Tara King-era Avengers - although the only topless women that could be shown on TV are on the wall of the garage. This is a true precursor of the eccentricity of the later Avengers - I love that Steed's boss works in a

The Avengers: Wish You Were Here

I'm presently suffering from another episode of the depression that has plagued me for the past few years. This time not only am I on fluoxetine (Prozac), which I'm liking better than the antidepressant I've been on before, but I'm trying to work through it. I have, however, hit the point at which you suddenly feel much worse before you feel better so have given myself a duvet day. I get very blokey, irritable depression, & my normal renowned forbearance goes out of the window - not the time to be facing the workplace. I'm interested that I've fallen on The Avengers as duvet television - in my real/unreal dichotomy unreal is definitely better for comfort, I've always loved the Tara King season, & this is one of my favourites. I say unreal, but I think this episode is only unreal so far as the Avengers characters go - certainly introducing Mother's nephew who is forbidden to call Mother Uncle at work is a genius touch - & the plot is actual

Allegory in The Prisoner: A Change of Mind

Image credit: http://v4valentine.tripod.com/SPP/MA0102_Index.htm It's a Soviet propaganda poster about fearing enemies of the people. I was astonished when I came to watch this episode again, to find I not only had no recollection of my blog post about it earlier this year, but I even had the impression it was the episode borrowed from the projected Series 2, where Number 6 becomes someone else in a job outside of the village. I'm intrigued that I focussed on the sheer pretence of everything that happens in the Village ( http://culttvblog.blogspot.de/2014/01/the-prisoner-change-of-mind.html?m=1 ). I had already started this post with the lengthy quote below, not realising that I'd already used a shorter version of it in my previous post: 'A lot of The Prisoner is about the individual versus the collective. This episode was probably the most Orwellian. Prisoners can't just suffer their imprisonment. They cannot be depressed or in any other way unhappy. They must

Allegory in The Prisoner: It's Your Funeral

Not a favourite of the fans, this one, although it is one of my own, except when it comes to trying to be creative about the allegory here! I keep trying to get away from the standard allegorical interpretation of The Prisoner, that The Village is an allegory for what is (or was in the 1960s) becoming of our world, particularly trying to escape into my own cherished theory that The Village is both Number 6's own creation & represents his dream of escape from the high-pressure world of his intelligence or espionage job. This is also one of the Prisoner episodes which have been rather overtaken by technology, & their warning has become more frightening in the process. The activity prognosis on Number 6 represents an omniscient knowledge of all variants in The Village, to the extent that an unexpected variation can be predicted. This was of course decades before the advertisements on the internet were tailored to our individual shopping habits & everywhere we go online

The Baron: First Impressions

I was becoming worried recently that this blog had far too much Doctor Who, & thus was becoming too much like many another UK TV blog. But, fickle soul that I am, I've made up for that by my more recent rash of ITC viewing, & The Baron is the latest ITC series that I've never seen before but now have a box set of. In my real/unreal television dichotomy, this is aimed more or less at the real side, featuring an antiques dealer gentleman adventurer, actually, in true ITC style, played by an American. It also has a symbiotic relationship with The Saint (explored at length, & contrasts drawn, at http://doubleosection.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/dvd-review-baron-complete-series.html?m=1 ). It's interesting coming to this straight from later shows like Jason King & Hazell, to see how sheerly dated it feels. It was made around the time that Mrs Peel was kicking her way through The Avengers - this reference is also a way in to mention that the street scenes of London

Allegory in The Prisoner: Hammer into Anvil

I was wondering how on earth I was going to get a convincing allegorical meaning out of this episode. I was making the mistake of thinking that the plot could be summarised as 'Number 6 sends Number 2 off his head. The End,' & thought that the only allegory I would be able to find was the 'messages' that Number 6 gives to Number 2 - blank paper, false message, cuckoo clock. Then it struck me that the allegorical point of this episode can be found in what does not happen. Wikipedia characterises this episode as one of the few where Number 6 doesn't make an escape attempt & the authorities don't really try to get any information out of him. I realise that I haven't really been accepting that view & so have missed its significance. In fact this realisation has made me recall my own pet theory that The Village is allegorical for Number 6's own fantasy escape from his everyday life. His actions in this episode are therefore allegorical for sel