HBO (ended 2005)





Carnivale Fan Reviews (104)

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out of 10
2,462 votes
  • 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 greatest HBO series ever!

    The only bad thing about this show is that HBO cancelled it. You have to see it for yourself, there's no way to put into words how amazing this show actually is.
  • Carnivale blew me away!

    Just wanted to say this was a great show!! I loved everything about it except the fact HBO cancelled it
  • Some of the best television ever made

    Recommended for anyone with an attention span longer than a guinnea pig. Probably the best show ever made after Twin Peaks. Brother Justin in the second season is beyond words.
  • Loved it but....

    There was really nothing to complain about this show when it played. My only complaint was that it didn't keep going.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This show has a wonderful cast with a wide array of characters that leaves you wanting more up until the very last episode. This show is extremely unique and its sad to think that there is no other show like it.

    This is one of my favorite shows of all time. I also had the unfortunate luck of finding out about this show well after it had been canceled. When I finished the first two seasons and knew there was no more I felt like I wanted to cry. So many questions were left unanswered. I'm sure if they ever brought this show back they would see a considerable rise in new viewers as many people I talked to also started watching after it was canceled. It's so sad to think that a show with terrific acting, a highly addictive story, and of all around high quality could fall into the abyss as it did. We can only hope that a mini-series develops from this story but with HBO clinging to the rights and the actors all in different areas now it appears unlikely.
  • A fabulous show about the constant battle between: good and evil, light and darkness, black and white, ying and yang. Who's going to win at the end... we will never know thanks to HBO.

    Set in the 1930s Dust Bowl, a traveling Carnival finds Ben Hawkins and not by chance, but because the mysterious Management led them. He represents the creature of light.
    On the other hand we have Brother Justin Crowe with the help of his sister Iris, preaching his beliefs tries to gain followers. He represents the creature of dark.
    They don't know it but they are destined to battle in a biblical fight. They have to find and kill the person that will give them the power, Ben Hawkins has to kill Belyakov and Brother Justin to Scudder respectively.
    Great sets, wonderful costumes, creates the atmosphere of the time, and takes you to a awesome trip full of magic and mystery. Very well done, engaging and intriguing.
  • Highly advisable. A great mythological/historical show. The best, probably.

    I watched this show due to someone's advice and I wasn't disappointed.

    Its mythology and overall story was brilliant, the photography was fantastic, costumes and make-up equally great, the characters and actors portraying them were pretty damned good... and I think HBO should have allowed it to be completed as the creator imagined it, if nothing else, because it was such a well made piece of art... ars gratia arsis.

    HBO disagreed and I will hate them for that always. Not like they care, but I still will.

    If by any (small) chance you're deciding whether to watch it or not and you think my opinion counts, then do watch it. Really.
  • One of the most original and entertaining series i've ever watched

    I have fell in love with HBO produced TV. this is one of the best .Its just a shame it finished early and without a final episode that wrapped up the series neatly. Non the less its definately worth the watch. The characters in this show are amazing and the story is brilliant. After finishing the final episode i spent hours on the internet looking for more. Like a junkie i need more! But unfortunately all the good tv shows are expensive to produce and usually discovered as remarkably brilliant shows long after they have been cancelled. But if your looking for something else after watching Carnivale i suggest The Wire or Deadwood.
  • I must say that this is one of the greatest shows I've seen in my life. It has a twisted, thrillercomedy-feeling that reminds me of the best of David Lynch's works, superb to say the least.

    I have watched this show over and over again, and I must say that few shows catch me even a second time. It has a twisted thrillercomedy-feeling that should be intriguing for most, especially David Lynch-fans.

    Nick Stahl's interpretation of Ben Hawkins is great, but even greater is Michael J. Anderson's roleplaying as Samson. Anderson is mostly recognised for his role as the wierd dwarf in Twin Peaks, but I must say that his performance in Carnivale is far greater. A third actor worthly to be mentioned is Clancy Brown. He plays a wierd priest named brother Justin, and if Stahl is the hero of this show, Brown is surely the antihero.

    However, I think this is one of HBO's finest productions, and thereby one of the greatest ever produced.
  • Freaks, phycics, paranormal powers, religious conspiracy, the battle between good and evil. What more could you want.

    Carnavale will go down in the history of television along with Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Twin Peaks. Too smart and too good for there own good.

    The cast, the writing and the direction were as close to perfect as television gets. Some have said that the show moved to slow, but I disagree. The pace of the show was perfect. Unlike other episodic shows where viewers are sometimes strung along for weeks without any real plot movement(That's why I don't watch Lost), Carnivale always kept the plot moving. Sometimes that movement wasn't appearant at the time, but it always came back to the story line.

    Shame on HBO for leaving the fans of this show so high and dry with so many unanswered questions. Please just one more season to wrap things up. Please.
  • This is THE BEST show in tv history!!!

    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!

    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.
  • Completely hooked and want to see more. A very creative show. I beg to see more.

    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!!!

    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!

    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 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...

    I had never missed an episode when they had this show on the 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 would be different that is for sure. :)
  • I´m the nº1 CARNIVAL fan in Portugal and i want to see season 3 RIGHT NOW!!!

    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.

    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.

    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...

    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.


    Destined for the dustbin?

  • This is my all time favorite show.

    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!
  • 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

    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.

    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?
  • i dont know what can i say about carnivale

    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
  • 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.

    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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