Does ‘The Prisoner’ create a new genre?


 This question has been debated at length. Part fantasy, part thriller, part science fiction, part action adventure, even part counter culture statement, yet it does not fall exclusively into any of those categories. McGoohan has described the show, as I point out earlier as, “an allegorical conundrum”, certainly.  Apparently, there are seven basic plots and of these, which elements does ‘The Prisoner’ feature? The Quest, yes. Overcoming the monster, yes. Voyage and return, yes, but one can argue the remaining four, Rags to riches, Comedy, Tragedy, and certainly Rebirth, are all there too. Apart from George Orwell, one can detect elements of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’, the writings of Franz Kafka, the psychologist C. G. Jung, an influence of ‘Dr Caligari’, with hints of ‘Gurney Slade’, Thomas Paine and Rousseau, all creatively wrought by McGoohan. In a way, ‘The Prisoner’ defies categorisation and perhaps that is as it should be.