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Tucker, the viewing order for the series is as follows:

The Chimes of Big Ben
A, B and C
Free for All
The Schizoid Man
The General
Many Happy Returns
Dance of the Dead
Hammer into Anvil
It's Your Funeral
A Change of Mind
Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling
Living In Harmony
The Girl Who Was Death
Once Upon A Time
Fall Out

Although only the final two episodes actually have a direct connection and should be watched as the penultimate and then final episodes. There is a theory, however, that it doesn't really matter what order the series is viewed in (other than the last two episodes) as, because of the opening credit sequence being repeated each episode, each story is, essentially, the first story to be told!

The above viewing order is best, partly because the paranoia increases from episode to episode, and partly because the script editor and co-creator George Markstein left sometime around the twelth or thirteenth episode. Interestingly, Markstein is in every episode-- he plays the man Number Six hands his resignation to in the opening credits.

Without wanting to spoil things for you, the episodes to really look out for are hoe written and or directed by Patrick McGoohan himself. He was also credited as Pady Fritz, writer of Free for All; and Joseph Serf, the director of Many Happy Returns and A Change of Mind. While I understand the desire to remain unspoilt, I would advise reading up on the series after you've finished watching it, as the more you know of its background, the more layers there are added to the story.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the series, as it really does deserve it's reputation as one of the best tv series ever made, and has dated little over the years, merely retained a curiously stylish look. I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

I concur with Lee. The order was carefully thought through. The confusion over ordering you've read about has been blown out of all proportion by manic fans years ago, and simply stems from a minor issue in the UK in 1967. When the show was broadcast in the USA in 1968 the whole thing had been in the can awhile and the order was the most coherent in mood and contents as Lee suggests - and varied very little from the UK original.

You might not want to reassess the quality of Combat!, but if you're an Altman fan you should probably check out the episodes he did; I saw him speak about half a year before his death and he said that those episodes, especially "Cat and Mouse", were the place he really learned to make films and that he was still proud of them even now. Dynasty probably isn't worth it.

For Witzke, I was walking in Bed Stuy yesterday night and a bunch of ten year old kids on skateboards were screaming "I'm old Gregg! I have a mangina!" over and over again. Take that as you will.

"(Is it just me, or did none of those guys have real numbers? I couldn't catch them all, but it seemed like there were letters on their nametags.)"

I believe the Village Council characters all have numbers such as "2a," "2b," "2c," etc. Which I always thought was a nice touch - not only are they numbers, they're not even their own numbers.

As for episode order: this Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Prisoner_episodes) gives you an idea of some of the various different competing orders out there. The one Lee's listed was the one they were originally broadcast in - this was neither the production order nor the order in which they were originally meant to be broadcast. I mean, whatever; only die-hard fans spend a lot of time arguing about this stuff, and while I am one of those die-hards, it seems silly to take up a lot of your time with it, given that it's going to sound like the concerns of a space alien to you.

nrh - good goddamn that's awesome.

On the Prisoner, it really doesn't matter what order you watch them in as long as "Arrival" is first and "Once Upon A Time" and "Fall Out" are last. The show isn't the kind of thing where revelations are doled out in a linear order anyway. This shit ain't Lost.

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