Show Reviews (104)
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I'm a Believer!!!
Just finished the final episode of Carnivale and give it a rousing *** This is one of the finest ensemble casts in TV history. Each and every character has his/her basic strengths and weaknesses. And each and every character develops throughout the series.
This is a classic protagonist/antagonist plot with impressive cinematography and jointed plot lines.
A late discovery now that I have Fire Stick. My only hope is that there will be a revival.
the operative word is "slowly"
I just finished watching seasons one and two of Carnivale. Overall, I enjoyed the show-- clearly I enjoyed it enough to watch it to the end. I consider myself a member of the target audience: I love the Thirties, and count the television show TWIN PEAKS as well as books like Katherine Dunn's GEEK LOVE and movies like Todd Browning's FREAKS among my all-time favorites. From the outset, everything about Carnivale called my name.
However, I can see why the show was cancelled. It's gorgeously set with the kind of meticulous attention to detail that made me marvel at what kind of budget it must have had. The period costumes, especially the dresses are to die for-- I wish Carnivale had attained Mad Men's popularity if only because it might have ushered in a revival of Thirties styles.
That being said, I consider it a weakness of the show that I found my mind wandering distractedly to its art direction and budget because the actual story dragged so frequently. The pace was a real problem. In fact, I suspect that viewers who tuned out weren't so much mystified by the opacity or complexity of the show's mythology so much as frustrated by the writers' Chinese water torture technique of delivering crucial plot points. To use a carny analogy, it was like a striptease stretched out to three hours. By the time you get to the part you paid to see, you hardly care. The writers wasted a lot of opportunities to reveal information in the most dramatically satisfying way in favor of streeeeetching out the mystery and delaying the suspense. As a result, I often found the plot lagging behind my own imagination. The first time Ruthie sees a ghost is a good example. It takes Ruthie several episodes to recognize what I suspect most people in the audience figured out immediately.
I felt that Diane Salinger and Patrick Buchau were both wasted in their roles. I couldn't believe Apollonia's character was really destined to lie in bed for an entire season and then die. Lodz stole every scene that included him, but was condemned to spend most of his screen time not doing his thing and being a mentalist, but reiterating the same plea over and over (and over) again for Ben to listen to what he had to say. I sure wanted to know what Lodz had to say and I bet it would have made a thrilling scene if the writers had decided to include it instead of prolonging the mystery by getting rid of Lodz before anyone in the audience knows much about him or what he wants. Likewise, in the interest of maintaining mystery, the writers present us with a main character, Ben, with little personality except for being gruff, stubborn and secretive. It was difficult to relate to Ben or understand why some of the other characters were so drawn to him. Clancy Brown, reprising his role as the Kurgen in HIGHLANDER, was effective as Brother Justin, if only because he was designed as an ambiguous character rather than a total cipher. All of the actors did a great job portraying characters who seemed potentially intriguing even if many of them were held back.
Some people commented that the second half of season two felt rushed. I would agree, but I felt as though the pace of season two came much closer to approximating a rhythm that would have held the interest of more viewers, had it been applied to season one.moreless
now they`ve duped US!
have enjoyed watching the great depth and mystery of the first series and am looking forward to watching the second BUT have had my enthusiasm dampened by what I have read on here .I am to be disappointed as were the rest of you. these people would have been lynched back in the DustBowl Era!!
Good vs evil and a touch of magic and a lot of dirt.
This is by far the best show I have ever seen. I loved it from the start. I was hooked right away. I've just seen it for the second time on DVD and it was actually better the second time. When you know what is going to happen you pick up more of the details than the first time around. Still a bit upset it was only produced for 2 seasons. Would've been great to the the whole 6 that was planed. I am also impressed with the fantastic cast they put together. Everyone is so good in this. Clancy Brown is fantastic here. So creepy! If you haven't seen Carnivale do it now but make sure you have got plenty of time. You'd wanna watch the next episode right away...moreless
During the 1930s Ben Hawkins is picked up by a traveling canivale after his mother passes away. He travels with them only to find out that they know more about him and his healing ability then even he does.
a great depiction of what the 1930s were like. i don't normally watch HBO or any of its shows but Im very much glad i have had the pleasure of watching this one. 2 different stories that slowly come together. i have seen many movies and TV shows, and in my opinion this is right at the top with the best of the best. i really liked the casting for the show as well the story. this show just draws you in and gets your attention with its strange atmosphere of the carnie world as well as the church. i highly recommend it.moreless
My friend lent me season 1 of this show, and I was quite reluctant to watch it. It sat in my living room for almost a month. Then one night I was bored and put in the first episode. Now, one week later, I have watched both full seasons!
Carnivale may very well be the best television series I have EVER watched. As I said, I was quite ambivalent about throwing in the first episode, but after that, I was HOOKED! The sets, the casting, the performances, all top notch. What really captures you though, is the storyline. Hands down it is one of the most compelling, intense stories I have ever witnessed. The mythology, the battle betweeen good and evil, and the twists and turns you run into along the way are all thought provoking, brilliantly written, and addictive. Honestly, I've read a lot about how it was too "out of the box" for general audiences or that the story threads were "far too complex" for the average viewer. However, I would have to disagree with all of that, this show and it's plots are easily accessible to the "average viewer." This show had one downfall and one downfall ONLY, and it had nothing to do with ANYTHING in the production. The failure of this show was in the marketing. I'd heard of it for years and even remember seeing trailers on HBO for it. However, the advertising never even came close to making me want to watch the show. If anything, it made me write it off as something to be avoided. However, as soon as I began watching, I was hooked. As I said, I went through all the episodes in the span of a week, I just couldn't stop watching.
That's the tragedy of this show. One of the greatest shows of all time in my opinion, fails to get an audience, and I truly do believe it was due to poor marketing. Anyone that's thinking of watching the two available seasons, I would highly recommend you do so. The only thing that will disappoint you about the series is that it didn't have a chance to continue and tell it's entire story.moreless