The Zone to Liberate The Prisoner

The Zone will celebrate the 50th anniversary of cult sensation The Prisoner by screening it in HD.

The baffling but brilliant series, which ran for only 17 episodes, starred Patrick McGoohan as a secret agent who’s abducted and held prisoner in a seemingly idyllic English village.

The Zone will air it 5.35 Saturdays from March 11.

Given this is a commemorative year for the series, it may at last get a Blu-ray release in this territory — although with declining disc sales, it may suffer the same fate as December’s re-issue of ’60s stablemate The Avengers and be DVD-only.

It came out on Blu-ray eight years ago in the US and the UK, complete with comprehensive extras and remixed 5.1 audio.

“Generally this is an excellent looking presentation, especially for a British filmed television production over 40 years old,” Blu-ray.com said. “Colours are bold and beautifully saturated (and very, very, ‘mod’), and detail is brilliant.”

Concurred DVD Talk: “The new HD transfers are excellent, far surpassing previous home video incarnations of the series. Colour and detail are outstanding; the lush grounds of Portmeirion and vivid hues of the Villagers’ costumes pop as never before …

Bonus materials are extensive. There are audio commentaries for seven episodes by writers or crewmembers, and trailers and image galleries for all episodes. The fourth disc also includes a restored alternate cut of the pilot, Arrival.”

“Presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1 using the MPEG-4 codec and encoded at 1080p I will wager that the majority of people viewing these discs have never seen them with this level of quality,” AVForums predicted.

“I will go so far to say that due to television technology and reception at the time that the majority of people who first viewed these episodes in the ’60s never saw them like this. In a word all of the episodes are stunning.”

Also coming to The Zone in March are Xena: Warrior Princess (but in SD), which will air 4.10 weekdays from March 6, and more Cinema Z premieres:

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4 Responses to “The Zone to Liberate The Prisoner”

  1. Do you think Knight Rider will be released on Blu-ray in New Zealand, Philip? I’m so tempted to order it from Amazon UK but $160NZ YIKES 🙂

  2. I don’t know, Trevor. Moreover, if it does go on sale here, will the local distributor source the US or UK transfers? According to this Amazon.com contribution, the latter’s are superior (but the US price is much more attractive). Actually, the UK Blu-ray pricing isn’t that bad when you consider buying all the single-season DVD box sets in NZ would set you back $230. Will make some inquiries.

  3. Thanks, Philip, I think the US version is region A only so I would have to have the UK one, anyway, hopefully the price will drop 🙂

  4. In the end I decided to order Knight Rider from Amazon UK after considering it’s under $10 per disc and also the fact it would be really wonderful having the entire series on Blu-ray, YIPEE, I must be a fan 🙂

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