Series Two of Big Finish’s Prisoner adaptation features four more stories that re-imagine the world of the 1960s TV series:
“I Met a Man Today” is based on the TV episode, “Many Happy Returns.” It takes a different approach than on television. In the TV episode, Number Six wakes up and goes to get his shower, and discovers everyone in the Village is gone. Eventually, Number 6 builds a raft, fights a couple men on a boat, and makes his way to London, finding himself at his old house where both his house and car are owned by a woman.
All that plot is summarized in the middle of the audio episode. The audio version focuses on Number Six’s emotional journey as he found himself in London, exhausted, unsure who to trust, or if this was real. The story also takes some time to develop and explore the relationship between Number Six and Kate (the woman who owns his house and car.) Lucie Briggs Owens is wonderful as Kate, and Elstob is on-point as Number 6 throughout the story.
Overall, this is a pleasing re-interpretation of a strong episode that may be better than the source material.
In “Project Six,” Lucy Briggs-Owens takes her turn as the new Number 2 and is the best thing about the majority of the episode. She brings a menace to the role and creates a contrast with the character she played in the opener.
The plot is one of the most difficult ones in the set. Number 6 decides to not eat or drink anything given by the village for fear it might be laced with mind control drugs, but doesn’t seem to think he’ll need sustenance until he has to lick dew off the ground.
The take on the TV episode, “A,B, C” was weird and convoluted without offering much until the final moments when the story improved quite a bit.
“Hammer Into Anvil” bears a strong resemblance to the TV story of the same name. A new and more sadistic Number Two arrives determined to break number Six, quoting the axiom, “You must be the hammer or anvil.” However, when Number Six witnesses Number Two’s cruelty on someone else, he becomes just as determined to break Number Two, and sets out to wage psychological warfare on the people behind the Village.
Aside from the basic plot, the story goes off in a different direction. The route Number Six takes to break down Number Two is different from in the TV show, and in some ways simpler and also more realistic, though a little less stylish. Both methods have their strong points, but it works to do something different in the radio version so it doesn’t feel superfluous. I also like that it plays off the end of the previous episode.
Overall, I think this is a case where the radio and TV versions are pretty close to being equal. Once again, the Prisoner gives us excellent acting and superb sound design.
In “Living in Harmony,” writer Nick Briggs takes an entirely different tact than the Western-themed Prisoner TV episode of the same name as this episode appears to be set in space.
Number Six finds himself on a rocket to a moon base, alongside Number Nine, who had apparently died in the previous series, but is now back and calling herself Number Ninety. Of course, being the Prisoner, the questions immediately raised is whether he’s going anywhere (or on a spaceship) and if number 9/90 is actually with him.
This is a great script for the Prisoner. It gives Number six pivotal, character-defining moments when he faces a key choice. At the same time, the sense of mystery as to what’s going on never entirely lets up. It answers some questions, but leaves so many questions that it serves to set up Series Three.
Overall, this was another solid set, and stronger than the first with compelling takes on memorable stories from the TV series.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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