Carnivale

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HBO (ended 2005)

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walrus_8463

User Score: 159

SUBMIT REVIEW

Carnivale Fan Reviews page 3 of 4

8.8
out of 10
Average
2,449 votes
  • A powerful drama that tells the stories of a young faith healer dealing with his unwanted talent, who after burying his mother in the first episode hooks up with a traveling side show full of fascinating characters, and the rise to power of an evil minist

    10
    This show made a "fanatic" out of the normal person that was me, who before Carnivale, would never have gone out of her way to write a review on tv.com or join message boards or do any of the so-called weird things other "fans" do. Carnivale is a show that watches like a page turning novel. The characters are deep, the setting is realistic, the script excellent, the plot well......I couldn't get enough. I would count down the days until Sunday night when I could get my fix again. When I found out it was canceled, I swore off any kind of tv that requires regular watching. Until they bring it back, it's all sit-coms for me. Great show, give it back!!!
  • Phenomenal televison - it had me from the opening credits.

    10
    In my 46 years as an avid television watcher, there was never a show that I made a point of seeing every episode, first run. Until Carnivale that is. This series had everything - moral dilemna, humor, sex, intrigue and more than anything - imagination. Spine-chilling atmosphere, superb acting, writing, direction, costuming and art direction. There were odd characters that I grew to care deeply about. The storylines prodded me to think and imagine and study, and discuss at great length with fellow fans. I wondered about where the characters came from, how did they get to where they were. What was their history? Who were the Templars, really? The grim reality of life in the Dust Bowl came crashing into my living room - desperate times calling for desperate means of surviving. A preacher who had all the good intentions in the world of being a great minister to needy people, twisted by a destiny he could not escape. A gentle spirit who wanted nothing more than to just make it through each day under horribly cruel circumstances called to save the world from destruction. A community of outcasts and freaks became more "the norm" with each passing episode.

    This was truly a great television show - more gripping than most big screen productions, higher quality than any other series before it, and most likely after it. I am so sad that it was cancelled - but it lives on in my memory, on DVD and in the minds of fellow devotees.
  • Carnivale has mystery and a great story line. It follows what would be a nasty time in U.S. history and makes it intriguing and addictive. One of the best shows in my lifetime!

    10
    Carnivale takes us to a place that, in the scheme of time, would rather be forgotten and makes it so interesting that you'll get hooked. Only two seasons were made before HBO decided to wipe it off the screen, but they made a profound error! The plan was a six season storyline that takes us through a U.S. time of change and turmoil. The American Dustbowl does not hold interest to most people, but Carnivale makes it come alive and the twists in characterizations catches the viewer. Never quite knowing what is happening is a key element of the plot. HBO should either sell the rights or do something to bring back the exceptional cast and ADVERTISE! One of the things that brought down the carnivale was lack of support by HBO and it's advertising. Not many people know about this show and once they do, they beg for more! Quality is a ensignia of this show and what makes it different from most of the rest. Save Carnivale, and I want more!
  • Carnivale carries on the tradition of a character (or characters) who is the "chosen" one. A person who at first resists his destiny but must ultimately accept it if the world is to be saved.

    10
    Carnivale carries on the tradition of a character (or characters) who is the "chosen" one. A person who at first resists his destiny but must ultimately accept it if the world is to be saved.

    Think Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) or Neo (The Matrix) in the 1930's depression-era dustbowl. Then, add great writing and perfectly-cast actors and you've got one of the finest productions to ever come to television.

  • Carnivale is by far the most intellectually unique show i have ever watched.

    10
    Carnivale is by far the most intellectually unique show i have ever watched. I have never been faithful to a show. The mindless TV in this era, is beyond disppointing. I never missed a show of Carnivale, Please bring it back. D. Knauf is truly a creative genious, thank you for stimulating our minds with your beautiful/terrifying show.

    Acting: 10
    Writing: 10
    Directing: 10
    HBO: 0
  • Never before seen theory of evil and good co-existing in life. Placed in the setting of the 1934 dust-bowl, Carnivale takes the viewer on an astounding journey. You never know where the series will take you next, but one thing is for sure... You can't WAI

    10
    The most intriguing, mind bending, edge-of-your-seat drama series to ever hit television! I don't usually become obsessed with watching a series, but with Carnivale- it was an unprecidented first. I couldn't get enough of the mystery and drama. Countless nights were spent awake until early in the morning discussing theories about the show with other absorbed fans on the HBO.com bulletin board. Every episode left you craving insanely for the next. Suprisingly there was more than one jaw dropping ending right after another. Watching it was thrilling and waiting for the next episode was excruciating. You didn't know who's side to jump on and watching it left your heart bleeding for those you might not have ever considered in the past, (like Dora Mae's funeral- heartwrenching tear-jerker) yet throughout the heavy topics were levity and raw human emotion entwined inoxerably. The true horror of the whole thing is that every episode left you hanging, even more so -those BETWEEN the seasons. HBO didn't do its fans justice by leaving them hanging for more than a year before finally coming out with episode 2, but to leave off the entire series forever the way that they did was unforgivable.
    BOYCOTT HBO!!!
  • Bring it back!

    10
    Why did HBO ever cancel this show? This is the best show that I have ever seen on television. The characters are amazing. This show grabs you from the first five minutes and leaves you wanting more. Classic battle of good versus evil. There are so many things that are involved in this show. So many perfect hidden clues that I have spent hours thinking about and discussing with my fellow fans of the show. Everyone that I have convinced to watch the show has ended up as addicted to it as I am. HBO you made a HUGE mistake in cancelling this amazing show. BRING IT BACK!
  • A battle between the ultimate forces of good and evil set in dust bowl America. The carnival harbours the force for good while the evil Justin Crowe, Methodist minister, is on the west coast preparing to bring hell to earth. The meeting of the two is in

    10
    I have the dvd of the first season of Carnivale and have loaned it to friends who have all become fans and are waiting for season two to come out. This was the best thing to hit television in a very long time. Would love to see the real ending
  • The show was great but because HBO not advertising it, many would be fans never heard of the show.

    10
    Although there is a huge fan base for the show, HBO decided to cancel it after two seasons ending with a huge cliffhanger. This was the best show HBO had. There may have been a few fans that didn't like the show because of religous beliefs or group affiliations. The show was actually challenging to the audeince and made people think.
  • A classic good versus evil tale set in a depression era traveling carnival.

    10
    Hands down the best show ever on television. Original story, top-notch acting, stunning cinematography, a pinch of Lynch and a dash of Steinbeck - it just doesn\'t get any better. Moody and atmospheric while still packing in the action, Carnivale was a wholly unique concoction. How HBO could cancel this series before finishing the story, I will never understand.
  • A gritty supernatural show set in the depression, an epic battle between good and evil. Which will win?

    10
    This was without a doubt one of the best shows ever written for television. The casting was excellent, the wrting more than excellent, and the storyline sublime. Everything about the show was absolutely perfect. I cannot imagine a better television show, nor a better use of my viewing time. Superb!
  • BRILLIANT, INNOVATIVE, FAR SUPERIOR TO ANYTHING ON CABLE TODAY!!!

    10
    I was hooked from the moment I viewed the first episode! The storyline and creativity behind this series is unmatched by anything out there today. The cast is phenominal and couldn't be more perfect for this story. The set, makeup, and costuming are amazing. A battle between good and evil..........a clash separating darkness and light.

    This series is for those who enjoy having their mind challeneged and appreciate depth and originality for their viewing pleasure. Carnivale will challenge you in every way imaginable. Everyone I have introduced to Carnivale has been as mezmerized and intrigued by it as I have been.

    HBO recently cancelled my all time favorite show before the story was completed by it's creator. They have made a horrible error in judgement!!! Watch the 1st season now out on DVD (make it easy, rent it on Netflix) and you will understand why I and millions of others love Carnivale so much and what a huge mistake HBO has made. BRING CARNIVALE BACK!!!!
  • It's a well written show that keeps you guessing.

    9.5
    The characters are complex as well as interesting and the story line of good verses evil takes a new meaning. Carnivale is years ahead of all the other shows that are on cable or tv. Unfortunately the show was cut short and we will not find out how the story ends. I will miss this show.
  • It was too good for HBO though.

    10
    The problem with Networks like HBO and Showtime is that they start to hyperventilate when a programs ratings began to fall off due to the fact that every plot twist and turn is not being spoon fed to the audience. If Carnivale had started out on SciFi or FX we would probably still be enjoying the gem every week.
  • This is, without a doubt, the best show to ever grace the presence of television as we know it. I encourage all to watch it, and to spread the word of this revolutionary story, with plots and characters one could not find anywhere else in the world.

    10
    I first caught Carnivale mid-way through the second season. I, like many others, have been a subscriber to HBO for several years now, though I had no idea that such a show even existed. One night, whilst doing the laundry, I happened to walk by the TV, and something caught my eye. More than just background noise, what I saw on the screen made me stop and take a second look. I sat down and did not move until the show was over and have been addicted ever since, and spreading the word also. My friends and family have all started watching it since I told them about it. The show must be brought back to the screen!!! So many unanswered questions...Words do not describe the loss that I feel, as do all of those who I know.
  • One of the greatest tv shows ever.

    10
    Wonderful show, bring it back! Isn't there room for some thought provoking television somewhere? We need more TV like this. I feel HBO let it go because most people didn't understand it. I feel Sci-fi always has to overcome the nay sayers. The writing, acting, and special effects were outstanding on this show. Yet it was passed over at the Emmys? Other TV pales next to it. After it was cancelled I tried to watch "Lost" to consoul myself. I couldn't believe how much of a higher standard Carnival had.
  • Good vs. evil, a mystery, a historical drama that's pure Americana, with some sex and nudity thrown in. They don't come any better - what was HBO thinking when they cancelled this show?

    10
    This show is unique. A multi-layered mystery playing good vs. evil, it is full of images that will haunt you forever. (Who can forget Dora Mae at the window in Babylon?)

    Good and evil, in the form of "avatars" - one man in each generation to represent the right and left hand of God - battling each other down through the ages, until the long struggle culminates in the end of the age of avatars, in a travelling carnival in America's 1930's dustbowl.

    The music will haunt you, too. And a script that winds over and around itself, foreshadowing and repeating themes until we catch on. And there's sex and passion - between adults, not Barbie and Ken look-alikes. And love, hate - well you get the idea.

    Then HBO cancelled it one third of the way through! Are they nuts?
  • Carnivale is/was the best show on TV. Please bring it back!!!!!

    10
    HBO should have never cancelled this show. It is the most amazing show I've seen. everything about Carnivale is incredible, the music, the art and costumes, even the credits, and especially the writing and acting! It is everything HBO claims to be, thought-provoking, groundbreaking....etc. With out this show HBO lost a lot of that. I hope that the story will be told in a form that will do it justice. I can't wait to know what happens, since we were left in such a cliffhanger...oh wait I forgot, that was a "natural ending". This show needs to be given another chance with better promotion(which is not much)!
  • Pure fucking genius!

    10
    In a day and age where reality tv is consuming our daily programs, we NEED more shows like carnivale. Carnivale wasn't just a sunday night reason to watch tv. It was something I brought with me to work on monday morning. It was something I talked about with my friends all week. It was something I watched again on wednesday! We have to get this show back on tv. HBO was stupid to ever let it go.
  • The ultimate show.

    10
    Wow, what can you say about carnivale? This was honestly the perfect show. It had everything you could want. It was cutting edge. It had great, memorable characters. Best of all, it was thought provoking. We nee more shows like this one! What can we do to bring it back?
  • This show NEEDS to be on TV.

    10
    Look, all I have to say is that HBO made it's biggest mistake yet in cancelling this show - especially to put in a show like Rome! Carnivale is what got me back into TV. Without it, I wouldn't have found fantastic shows like Six Feet Under. I'm going to end up canning my hbo if they don't bring this back.
  • Bring back TV's treasure.

    10
    Here's ten things you can do to help get my favorite show back on the air.

    1. Send a telegram, letter, or email to HBO and voice your opinion!
    2. Cancel your subscription to the network and let your cable company know why!

    3. Buy a copy of the Season 1 DVD and have a viewing party for those who haven’t seen the show!

    4. Join our discussion group and visit our website to share your ideas and resources!

    5. Contact local news companies and printed press and let them know about the campaign!

    6. Email TV and Entertainment Critics!

    7. Buy Save Carnivàle merchandise and wear it proudly!

    8. Download our flyer and use it to reach out to other fans!

    9. Vote on surveys and polls online requesting the show’s return!

    10. Donate a copy of the Season 1 DVDs to your local library!
  • A plea for good tv.

    10
    This was easly the best show on TV. We need more shows like this. If you're interested in the campaign, head over to savecarnivale.org. It wouldn't hurt to join the yahoo carnivale hbo group either. It isn't too late - let's let the people in charge know how much we need this show!
  • Unique Series

    10
    Just recently the series Rome started. Believe it or not HBO did more advertisement with it than any of their releases. Unbelievable. Anyway they did not do the same thing for Carnivale. Carnivale some may not know, is one of the best around. Put it Back on Air. Right ON
  • Just when I found you... You were gone!! This show takes place in a depression era, with unique and diverse characters in a traveling freak circus. I personally get the creeps with Brother Justin, dosen't anyone remember him in "Pet Semetary"??? eww.

    9.3
    Addictive writing, storylines, and characters. Just as it was getting good, it ends??? What the::::? Why go through that entire Brother Justin/Ben saga and build us up to../that? If HBO had planned on cutting production, then they never should have led us up to the drastically cut finale. Is it just me? Do any of you share my opinion?
  • Unlike anything I've ever seen...

    10
    This show is wonderfully Great - and I've just started watching it this season. Instead of mundane HBO programming out to just woo shallow critics and the usual unimaginative American audiences, this show goes beyond this world to illustrate truth, deception, good and evil. The story is complex for some, since most story lines do not conclude in one episode (then again, it's not a sitcom). The actors are amazing, the writers, brilliant, the creators, well I'm surprised HBO would let this one into their usual thematic dramas (you know what I'm talking about). I can't say enough good things about this show. If you happen to catch it and have no idea what's going on, don't give up - just pay close attention and you'll be utterly enthralled with the brilliance of this show. Carnivale is "out of the box" thinking, which I always love, so unless you enjoy the same old, same old programming, give Carnivale a whirl. It's worth your viewing pleasure!
  • Excellent...astounding...addicting...and a variety of other praising words.

    10
    I just recently became a fan of the canceled HBO series "Carnivale", all due to a friend who I met through a "Miracles" forum. He had told me about the series several times before I actually decided to check it out, and by that time the show was off the air and I had to download it. I was pleasantly surprised to see how addicting and beautiful the show was, despite the fact that it moved slowly.

    The main character - Ben - is taken in by a traveling carnival after the death of his mother, who believed him evil because of an experience he had as a child. Over the course of the series we begin to see that Ben is a very special boy with God-given powers. Of course, everything has an opposite and his enemy comes in the form of a Protestant preacher who believes himself to be carrying out the acts of God, when actually he is doing evil.

    "Carnivale", as mentioned before, is a beautiful series. Each episode is brilliantly done and feels like a movie rather than a show. However, due to it's lack of viewers, HBO couldn't afford to keep it on, as the show is so expensive to produce, but it's certainly a shame the show got canceled so quickly.
  • This is a little gem of a television show ...

    9.0
    Intelligent, profound, atmospheric and enthralling all at the same time. It's so far outside the 'safe zone' for modern mainstream TV that it seems like a bit of a carnival freak itself - it's gritty and dirty, and full of bizarre characters interacting in often unsettling ways.

    The premise of the show is a traveling carnival touring America during the Great Depression. This is just the back story though - it's not what the show is actually about. The show is really about an epic battle between Good and Evil - or in the Tarot terminology of the opening sequence, between the Sun and the Moon.

    The acting is outstanding - each role has been cast to perfection , and the actors play the parts with conviction - something that can't have been easy considering how dark a lot of the subject matter is.

    The dialogue is sometimes a little lacking - but that is part of the characterisation. The main character begins as a surly, secretive road-gang refugee. His reticence and unwillingness to interact is a necessary device to reflect how alien and unfamiliar his surroundings have become.

    Considering the theme, one would be forgiven for expecting the standard 'comedy drama' that is so common on our screens. There is very little comedy in Carnivale. There's the occasional laugh, but the vast majority of the show is dark and unrelenting - murders, rapes, a father who pimps out his wife and daughters, lynchings, arson... there is no depth of depravity that Carnivale doesn't explore in its journey.
    In the process, we're treated to some excellent reflections on the nature of good and evil - the portrayal of the struggle is not at all black and white. For a long time, it's difficult to see whether it is the charismatic man of God or the secretive murderer that will become the 'bad guy'.

    I recommend this show whole-heartedly. Even if it is dark and unyielding, there is a hope and an optimism that shines through and overall inspires.

    Bring it back HBO!

  • Carnivale rocks! 3words? Beautiful, dusty, profound.

    8.9
    I really like this TV show. From many reasons. Can't say that it is my top fav, but still-it has something what other series don't. First of all, it's not predictable :) They allways came up with something new and it leaves you confused all the time. Next thing is the stage. Stage ROCKS! It is truly beautiful, so well 'painted.' Image is just so real and so out of date. Okay next thing which counts for me is, that Carnivale is comic related and I < 3 comics :D No need to mention characters, actors, plot bc they are all so great, really great.
    If you like mystery, old times and 'good-evil tales' with religious background then this is a MUST!!!

    ps: hope I didn't freak you out with R word :P
  • Carnivale is (was) one of the best shows that HBO ever had to offer. Nothing else can compare to the fascinating story of good versus evil, the characters, and the anticipation of the next episode. Quality television, buried alive.

    9.9
    Carnivale is one of the best series HBO has ever aired. One can only hope that the story will be continued and the final battle of good and evil will be played out. Perhaps some other network will be looking at the possibility of continuing the story. Every Sunday Night, my wife and I would be glued to the television, not wanting to miss even a second of this fascinating and captivating series. Taping every episode, just in case we missed a single line was standard practice. The program has a most interesting premise and setting. The characters, story line, plots, and twists all leave the viewer wanting it to never end. Truly, Carnivale is great TV. Why HBO would opt to pull the plug on Carnivale and leave trash like Real Sex on the air is beyond me. Anyone who is a fan needs to express his or her feelings...maybe it will move someone to keep a good thing going.
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