Carnivale

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HBO (ended 2005)

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walrus_8463

User Score: 160

SUBMIT REVIEW

Carnivale Fan Reviews page 2 of 4

8.8
out of 10
Average
2,450 votes
  • Carnivalé is the story of Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin Crowe. Good and evil. Ben Hawkins begins to display healing powers as he travels with a band or carnies and Bother Justin discovers his inner demon in his church.

    9.8
    The show was laced with mystery and by the end of the series you will be left wanting more. Unfortunately it prematurely ended. When I first watched Carnivalé I didn't know it had been canceled, and had the same perspective as a viewer watching it for the first time. Towards the end of watching the first season I read on the internet of it's terrible fate. Immediately I went out and bought the first two seasons on DVD. If you're thinking about watching this don't think another second. Carnivalé is a malicious story with extraordinary characters. A must see.
  • Brilliant show prematurely cancelled

    9.5
    Innovative, spine tingling and original this was one of my all time favourite shows until it got the chop.
    Based on the usual popular motif of one young boy and his destiny, this show was original in its setting. That being a circus carnivale around the depression era. It is dark and gruesome and sometimes uncomfortable to watch but at the same time truly compelling and rewarding. Clancy Brown is a standout as the priest with alterior motives and a young Nick Stahl is impressive too as Ben Hawkins. If you enjoyed shows like Twin Peaks and/or David Lynch movies then this show is one not to miss!!!
  • Carnivale is the story of a travelling carnival troupe set in the 1930's when times were different and mysticism was still a regular part of life. It revolved around Ben Hawkins and his mission to save the world.

    9.0
    Carnivale was easily one of the most well thought, well written, and most original shows on television and was axed way before its time. This show had characters way before Lost, Grey's Anatomy or Heroes ever came along, brought us into a world so far removed from our own you literally got lost in it. The human emotion mixed with the mysticism and spiritual beliefs led to a tension and excitement you just do not see in most shows today. The truly sad part is that the only award this show ever received were technical merits, which were incredible but they were not what drove this show. You cannot separate the incredible acting, writing, directing, set design, costumes and special effects and pick out just one that deserves an award...they were all incredible. A sad loss to television when one of the top three shows on gets cancelled due to reasons unknown to most people.
  • A diminutive ringmaster, a manipulative blind magician, and an unseen "ownership" lead their circus across a strange young man while a priest in California struggles with a demon. Thought-provoking television at its finest in this canceled drama.

    9.5
    It always seems as if there's not enough intriguing material on television, doesn't it? We may love our sports programming, slapstick and over-the-top comedies, neat & tidy one-hour cop dramas and countless doctor drama shows, but I doubt I'm alone in saying that if you're looking to get your mind blown, TV can often be a disappointing source.

    Not so with HBO's Carnivale. A young man suffering from the poverty of the Great Depression and the dried farmland of the Dust Bowl, Ben Hawkins comes across a traveling circus. With nothing else to go to, Hawkins joins the group, led by a diminutive ringmaster, a manipulative blind magician, and an unseen "ownership." Meanwhile, out in California, a respected preacher's life is turned upside-down by visions, episodes and horrid actions as he struggles with quite a unique personal demon.

    Nick Stahl, who plays the main character Hawkins, does a superb job in his own right. But the show is stolen away by Clancy Brown (who plays the preacher Brother Justin to chilling perfection), as well as Michael J Anderson (Samson, the ringmaster) and Clea DuVall (who plays the role of the circus' psychic) in amazing supporting roles. If there is such a thing as an art house epic, Carnivale would be it. One of the most unique shows I've ever seen, it will be missed in its cancellation.
  • Story line could inprove

    8.2
    This show is slightly intresting but it moves to slow. They could make it a little more fast paced and im sure that it would really pick up, but I read in somebodys review I think it might have gotten cancelled. If thats the case than thats sad cause it had potential. Anyway I still like it.
  • This is THE BEST show in tv history!!!

    10
    This is THE BEST show in tv history!!!It is even beter than most (all) movie. Not only is the story fabulous but it is artisticly perfect and the cinamatography is magnificently done (hope i'll get just as good!!!). There will never be a show like it ever again, and the cancelation is extremly unfaire and upseting for us carnie fans. If there is any justice in the world they (HBO) will bring back Canivale for a decent finale at the very least.
  • We need new season asap!

    10
    I was visiting hbo site and noticed this show carnivale. I thought that this must be the most boring and stupid show about a circus... Then i have accidentaly seen it on tv, the first episode of season one. And i was wrong to judge it by title, this show is one of the best shows that i have seen in a long time! Great scenario, great characters, great plot, great carnivale! Classic battle between good and evil, where good doesnt have to be represented in a priest role. And when you add to everything supernatural powers, great acting, it is time great spend that none will ever regreat.
  • The best programming on HBO since their Oz series. Of course, some may argue that isn't saying much for Carnivale but it truly is a gem. This twelve episode first season (which debuted on September 14th) tells the tales of a traveling carnival amidst 1930

    9.8
    The show primarily follows two main characters; a chain-gang escapee named Hawkins (Nik Stahl of Bully) and a Californian Preacher man (Clancy Brown of Highlander) by the name of Brother Justin. Both men contain mysterious powers and an unknown connection not only to each other, but also to a man from the Carnival's past named Scudder (the incomparable John Savage).

    Young Hawkins is picked up by the carnival and hired as an extra hand. While traveling with the crew cross-country, he picks up subtle clues as to the significance of his dreams and learns more about his peculiar powers. Meanwhile, on the west coast, Brother Justin is tested time and again with his contemporaries' lack of faith and grows increasingly dangerous in his religiosity.

    Carnivale has quite the cast of familiars, some known and others known only to cult fans. Most notably is 3'7" Michael J Anderson who plays Samson, the carnival boss. You'll most likely recognize him from David Lynch's (1990) as the strange little fellow who spoke backwards. Andrienne Barbeau (ex wife to John Carpenter) plays a tattooed snake charmer by the name of Ruthie, Clea DuVall plays young fortune teller Sophie, Glenn Shadix appears regularly as a Californian politician, the 7'6" Mathew McGrory appears in the pilot episode, and the absolutely lovable horror favorite Bill Mosele Chop Top from y (remembered best as plays Possum, the carnival's head cook.

    The show's ultimate strength is the presentation of its visual tones, the lighting in particular is eerily beautiful. Most scenes are lit in reminiscence of the Italian Renaissance painting technique "chiaroscure," in which figures stand with an almost goldenish glow in stark contrast to the dark surroundings and or backgrounds. This is most obvious in scenes of Brother Justin at home with his sister Iris (Amy Madigan). These golden tones give the overall series a cohesive thematic. This is one of the strongest atmospheric shows I've ever seen on television. Furthermore, the grittiness and downright dirtiness of a poor traveling carnival through the dustbowls of America's Midwest is developed by the show's creators as yet another layer of ambiance. The characters appear dirtier and sweatier each progressing episode as they travel further south.

    Being carried by HBO and not a mere network station allows CARNIVÀLE greater freedom for its tales. This is not just for mere nudity with the carnies' dancing girls or extra blood with any scenes of violence. Episodes five and six (titled "Babylon" and "Pick A Number") for example are tragically heart-breaking and downright scary on a number of levels. The direction, acting, imagery, and overall tone is brutally tear-jerking. This flexibility from conservative censorship only aides the story tellers in their craft.
  • Why o Why does HBO do the horrid things the do?

    9.5
    HBO isn't really one of my favorite premium channels for many of the following reasons. First (most importantly) they cancelled Carnivale! Second they didn't even give us any sort of closure! We don't even rate any sort of end-game with this my fav show! Thirdly I see them continuing shows like The Soprano's & Deadwood....they cost just as much as Carnivale per epi so I don't really understand the whole "we can't afford it” thing. Carnivale has an extremely loyal fan base and you would think they would take that into consideration. The only reason why I even subscribed to HBO was because of this show. Then when they cancelled it I took my 28$ a month and put it to use somewhere else. Grant it that isn't much in the scheme of things but you would think they cared about their viewers a little more.
  • One of HBO's best ever drama series!

    9.4
    I've watched ever episode of Carnivale about 4 times and love it more each time. It's a crime that it was taken of air with so much more left to offer. Just as you get hooked and beg for more they cut it short. I can't beleive there ain't going to be a third season. The end of season two left so many unanswered questions and set it's self up for a third season nicely. But the bosses at HBO decided that the story had gone far enough and ended the series. I'm gutted that it ended after only two season but loved every minute of them.
  • Completely hooked and want to see more. A very creative show. I beg to see more.

    10
    A unique and very entertaining show, with an exceptional story premisis. Never before have I seen anything even remotely as intriguing.
    I really like the confusion. When watching a show I immediately try to figure out what is going to happen next or figure out each character's angle before the end of a series. But with this show nothing is as it seems. It has kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more. I like the intricacy of the story line and watching it slowly unfold.
    I think that it is definitely in its time just not enough attention was given to the series.
  • Why!?! why, why I just became a Fan and im very upset to hear there will be no 3rd season. I love this show and i'm dieing to see more. How dare you HBO, you should stand before the carnivale and be judged. Pick your number HBO, one through six!!!

    10
    Why, Why, Why, I just became a Fan and im very upset to hear there will be no 3rd season. I love this show and i'm dieing to see more. How dare you HBO, you should stand before the carnivale and be judged. Pick your number HBO, one through six!!!
  • a boy gets picked up in the middle of no where by a traveling carnivale. he slowly uncovers that it was not just a passing carnivale that they came to get him!

    10
    this show rules! it gives a very twisted real look at the time and how the carnivale really looked in it\'s day. it makes you think that maybe magic really is real!? it keeps you on your toes want more more more wahts goign to happen to ben next!? u want to know more but it keeps u at bay. u never know what crazyness will happen next! and who is that man thats in charge that you never see? what do the carnys know aobut ben? his father his mother waht past dose ben have in the carnivale that he dosn\'t knwo about and why are these people helping/ out to get him?
  • This cancellation was just unfair!

    10
    Amazon.com recommended me one day a new show called 'Carnivale'. I thought that the description sounded interesting so I decided to buy it. And boy was I write! The best buy of the year. That's for sure. I watched the first season in two days and I wanted MORE. Having some collegues in the states I was lucky enough to get the second season on VHS.

    But after hearing that the series was going to be cancelled I couldn't believe what I was reading. A series with 'brain' and 'guts' got cancelled? No!!!

    But the saddest part is that the series isn't over storywise and the missing bits will never be shown

  • Bring Carnivale back...

    10
    I had never missed an episode when they had this show on the air...now they need to bring it back... This is another show that tells you about our US History. It was taken place back in the depression when money was very tight and that. Now I have done my background history on the old Carnivales and this show does show what it was like for them back in the older days of our grandparents and maybe for our parents (depends on there age)... Just think if the Carnivales were still like this today...it would be different that is for sure. :)
  • Other writers should follow suit.

    9.3
    This show was one of the most entrtaining shows that i have seen on tv for many years . More tv or cable shows should follow in this format. although you must follow this program every week like many others the way the story is laid out is very entertaining and follows history pretty well.
  • I´m the nº1 CARNIVAL fan in Portugal and i want to see season 3 RIGHT NOW!!!

    10
    I´m the nº1 CARNIVAL fan in Portugal and i want to see season 3 RIGHT NOW!!!
    There´s alot of series that suc... like charmed, e-ring etc etc and still on air, why was this great great serie canceled ?
    I bet if they put some "hi-tec" or explosions in the serie more people will see it, right?
    people always want the some...., every time that a diferent serie shows up, is canceled soner or later :(
    Helder A.
  • Carnivale is one the greast shows that ever aired and was by far before its time.

    10
    Carnivale. One of the greatest shows that was ahead of its time by far is the most fascinating show ever.
    Historic religion, freaks, and awkward blood lines kept my attention pretty quick on the show but it is one of them shows where is you miss one second of it then you missed everything. It took me three times at least to watch season one to fully understand the meanings in the show.
    The cast play there characters great I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing these people.
    The battle between brother Justin and Ben was just so shocking to watch and to see that it didn’t end with brother Justin being completely dead at the end of season two made me so shocked. I want a season three so badly! I wish another program would pick up the show where it left off or at least make a movie.
    I need more than this.
  • The story of a traveling Carnival in the 1930s and the supernatural powers surrounding it. A show that sadly bowed out before it had a chance to get really really good.

    10
    This is a show that sucks you in from the first moment it hits the screen. The second you start watching, you cannot stop. Its as if you are right there in the 1930s experiencing everything with the characters. The sets, the costumes, the actors, the music, everything feels so real, you'd swear they were actually filming 80 years ago. This will go down as the most underrated, underappreciated show HBO ever put on, and sadly, Rome has not done its job of replacing such a classic. This one needs to be brought back NOW!
  • If you're here, you know the story... so far...

    10
    Gripping, disturbing, addictive.
    Stellar cast, outstanding performances.
    Riveting imagery, tangible sets.
    Colorful and entertaining, yet delves into the darker side of the human condition.
    Imaginative, new, yet hauntingly familiar.
    Award winning, loved by fan(atic)s.
    The kind of quality you'd expect at the movie theatre.

    Some might say this is the recipe for a program destined to become a classic.

    Others?


    Destined for the dustbin?
    please
    Please
    PLEASE,
    BRING IT BACK!!!

  • This is my all time favorite show.

    10
    Everything about it was original,and you really got to know all the characters,and cared about them. The storylines were insane,and I loved every minute of it! I love the good vs.evil theme,and the time period they chose for this battle to take place. I am disappointed there will be no 3rd season,but am grateful for what I saw!
  • A traveling carnivale that has it's share of internal freak shows.

    9.7
    I love, love, Love Carnivale. Why on earth would they take it off? This show was a non-stop twist and turn, unknowing where it was going next. Thanks goodness I recorded all the episodes on Tivo. I go back and watch them just to see if I missed anything or if I can figure out what I didn't understand in the beginning. I wish they would think about the fans for once and bring it back. HBO could do alot better than Deadwood, which I couldn't get into and will never like. I want more Carnivale and nothing is going to replace that.
  • I truly miss this show.

    9.0
    I loved this show and followed it from the moment it premiered to the moment it was over. This was, by far, this best show on T.V. while it was on. The characters and plot were so interesting and compelling that it was very hard to not fall in love with them and the show. While the actors weren't the best in the biz, the show rarely faltered because of it.
    I almost cried when I found out it had been canceled. I will miss this show for no other show can beat it. Not even Queer as Folk, which also kicked ass.
  • CARNIVALE follows a traveling carnival as it wends its way across the Dust Bowl, focusing on Ben Hawkins, a mysterious 18-year-old fugitive with hidden talents who is taken in by the carnival, and Brother Justin, the charismatic, shadowy evangelist who wi

    10
    carnivale is pure genius starting from the opening theme-a favourite-,the creator , the cast , the directing till the make up. if you are gonna watch it u should be prepared for a full dose of drama ,history, action and mystery . u should be also prepared to be furious at the end because there is no more carnivale.
    absolutely worth watching

  • Best show I have EVER seen.

    10
    Too bad I picked it up on DVD on a whim, cause I don't have HBO. But if they brought it back for a season 3, I would get HBO in a heartbeat!

    Great characters, the fact that there is grey area is amazing. There are things to love and things to hate about ever character. The story is amazing and subplots dont feel like cheat fill. EVERYTHING MEANS SOMETHING!

    This will be called "ahead of its time". People just are not ready to be involved and think about good programs. We want to see crap like Desperate Housewives and the Real World. God save us all!

    But in these desperate times, let us not forget, What Would Brother Justin Do?
  • A crying Shame

    9.9
    This was one of the best shows ever created, ranks in my all time top 10 , and that's saying alot, to only have 2 short seasons...well...I despise HBO. It had everything, characters I loved, intelligent story, mesmerizing atmosphere andkept me engaged from episode 1 to the gut wretching finale that was only a beginning!

  • i dont know what can i say about carnivale

    10
    i dont know what can i say about carnivale
    its just the best show ever i dont think there will be somthing like it . i dont know why HBO cancelled it they didint gave it enough time if you havent seen it yet you can watch the rerun on HBO
  • The opening theme itself is enough to give you goosebumps!

    9.5
    Great show. I hope the story is continued somehow in a book, comic, WHATEVER. But I just need to know what happens next. I heard it was supposed to be a trilogy and the writer of the show is now working with Marvel on Iron Man. I hope one day he'll just continue Carnivale in a comic book form.
  • Carnivàle was the most interesting thing on TV at the time, so what do they do? Cancel it, of course.

    9.0
    The first season of Carnivàle was groundbreaking, breathtaking, and completely impossible not to watch with your eyes glued to the screen. They teased us, we wanted more - everyone wanted to solve the mysteries. Well, all well so far. I do think season two ended on a very anticlimactic low-note, and if I had my wish I'd want them to reshoot the finale, and move on to a third season. Alas, it was not to be. For shame.
  • I really enjoyed this show. and i feel cheated. they cut the show off without an ending. i turned off hbo and replaced it with showtime. if hbo aired a third season of carnivale i would happily watch it.

    10
    Please bring back Carnivale. I have never viewed a more compelling and addicting show. I think it was unfair of HBO to replace Carnivale with Rome. We all know how Rome begins and ends. How many times have we had a truly compelling show about carny folk and the depression in such a mesmerizing way. I think there is room for Rome and Carnivale. I think HBO would have a larger viewing audience with Carnivale than Rome. My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed Carnivale and my husband does not usually watch anything on a weekly basis. but he did watch Carnivale. He and I both looked forward to each weekly installment of Carnivale. and were at the edge of our seat when it came to anxiously awaiting season 2 of Carnivale. Please bring it back for a Season 3.
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