"To each generation...born a creature of light and a creatur
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Easily as eliptic, complex and mysterious as "Twin Peaks" with more magic in its soul "Carnivale" only lasted two seasons on HBO because the witless suits didn't have the imagination to see the value the series added to their schedule. Keep in mind these are the same folks that also cancelled their second most watched series "Deadwood" after having already renewed if for a third.
Set during the 1934 dustbowl we first meet the ragtag members of the Carnivale as they pass through Oklahoma. Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) mother has just died. His home is about to be bulldozed and the dust storms that struck the midwest rage incessantly. Jonesy (Tim DeKay)the head roustabout stands up to those about to destroy Hawkins home and helps him bury his mom as do the other members of the carnival. Suddenly their family whether Hawkins likes it or not.
It seems Hawkins has the ability to heal others and perform miracles. He's a lost soul in denial of his abilities and focused on discovering who he is. Across the U.S. in California Preacher Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown "The Shawshank Redemption" and Mr. Crabs in "Spongebobsquarepants")discovers he has a similar gift but through circumstances beyond his control this fire and brimstone preacher who wants to do good loses his faith in God and finds himself on a very different path from the uncommunicative, uncertain Hawkins. The two men are linked both by their abilities and a series of dreams. "Carnivale" gives us their stories as they discover whether they are good or evil and find a place in the world for who they are as well as who they become.
Featuring an excellent cast (Michael J. Anderson from "Twin Peaks" as Samson, Clea DuVall, Patrick Bauchau of "The Pretender", Adrienne Barbeau, Amy Madigan, Ralph Waite and others)the thoughtful well written stories always manage to examine the darkness and light in each of these characters as they face their struggle tod discover to exist in a harsh world.
The show was designed as a six year experience. Unfortuantely HBO cancelled it after two. Although the ratings fell during the first set they began to pick up again during the end of the second season. The network elected to cancel the show and cut their losses. It's a pity as this was one of the most ambitious fantasy shows on TV and had a great storyline that I would have loved to see resolved. Hopefully one day creator David Knauf will have that opportunity in a movie.
The boxed set has some terrific extras for both seasons with commentary tracks, production featurettes and all of it is nicely packaged. It's a pity that HBO didn't give this show the same opportunity as "Deadwood" with a series of TV movies to close out the show. I've lost faith in the network's ability to recognize great programming and they've become just as bad as the other networks (if not worse because you're paying for it so you don't have to put up with the ads).
This twofer is definitely worth getting making the show much more affordable."
Stands in testimony to the stupidity of the folks at HBO.
Old School but Kicking | Bayville, New Jersey USA | 01/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To me this was the absolute finest production ever made for television/cable and because "only" several million totally devoted viewers could not get HBO to finish the four or five year series, we are left with two and will never know where this journey could have taken us all. It is magnificent but it is painful to watch because you know that it is unfinished "business." I for one have never watched HBO again because to make the time and emotional investment in Carnivale that so many of us made only to hear we didn't count, says to me that they can and most likely will do the same thing again.
HBO seems to thrive on super violent material that is laced with meaningless four letter words. The actors on _The Sopranos_ certainly have a payroll that out does the production costs of Carnivale yet maybe there is no room even on cable for works of complexity that demand that viewers think.
So buy it and yes, HBO owns it and will profit - but just this one last time. They abused their trust and far be it from me to ever again add to their coffers."
One of THEE best HBO Series!!!!!!
Weatherman | Northeast, Pennsylvania, USA | 06/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why HBO didn't renew this series, I'll never know. It's based back in the "dust bowl" era of America with a boy in a traveling circus and a preacher gone evil. It deals with the power to heal, good vs evil, and more. Carnivable was based in a time of nobility. However man created wonder for reason. And the show takes you back to that time of wonder and after each episode you think back to that time of nobility.
A very well made series! But why didn't HBO keep going with it????"
Carnivale: Brilliant. Packaging: Blech.
Random Reviewer | Florida | 10/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only reason I withheld one star is the packaging. Why on earth did they break this up with 2 eps per disc? It's unwieldy when folded out. They managed to put 3 and sometimes 4 episodes of Six Feet Under onto one disc, along with some commentaries; could they not have done this with Carnivale, making it an easily managed 4 discs per season package?
The one I received had a dinged, smushed corner, and the dinged package contained a loose disc because part of the plastic disc-holding hub had broken off. This happens with way too many box sets I buy. I would rather have DVD holders made from resilient, functional plastic instead of the clear yet brittle, easy-to-break stuff. It just doesn't hold or release DVDs well, and I honestly don't care about the art behind the discs when I'm trying to pry one off its hub.
Perhaps when I go dig into this richly mysterious story again, I'll be in a less gripey mood. Except of course I'll eventually have to re-confront HBO's colossally dingbat decision to cancel this series. It was exquisite torture watching this week by week; it kept me baffled for the longest time, yet I kept watching. Something about the combination of gritty, dusty period realism and arcane myth makes this a show unlike any other I can recall."
David Tirrell | 06/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, my wife and I just came across this series and have been excited to see the second season. It's a shame that we find out now that it was cancelled before it was resolved. The acting is great and the storylines have great depth and are interwoven nicely. I haven't seen a show this introspective since Northern Exposure. Too bad there aren't more thoughtful, engrossing shows out there such as this. I suppose most people don't like to get involved with their televisions, just want to be entertained. Hope something comes of this series and there is resolution, a la Firefly and Serenity."