Funeral [1996]

It takes a Village to incarcerate The Prisoner. This set contains three mind-bending episodes from one of television's most subversive series. Number 6's (Patrick McGoohan) "strong sense of identity" is put to the ultimate test in "The Schizoid Man." You can't blame him for feeling more disoriented than usual. Everyone is addressing him as Number 12, and he is recruited by yet another new Number 2 to impersonate--you guessed it--himself. The Prisoner was really in the "Zone" (as in "Twilight") with "Many Happy Returns," in which Number 6 at last makes his escape from a seemingly deserted Village. Making his arduous way back to London, he must convince his former superiors of the Village's existence. "It's Your Funeral" finds an ever-vigilant and defiant Number 6 refusing to fall for yet another Village gambit ("I will not cooperate," he thunders). But is a threat to assassinate the outgoing Number Two for real, or is it the work of "jammers," who invent "make-believe plots" to confuse the authorities? A bonus feature of this set is an early 30-minute interview with Bernie Williams, the series' original production manager. He comments that his job was made more difficult because the show's premise was "unclear even to those who made it." This is small comfort to Prisoner devotees who parse each episode, which makes this set, of course, essential. --Donald Liebenson

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