July 18, 2011


Just a nap and a few more hours until I'm leaving for Heilbronn until Sunday, and I happily completed my most recent TV series marathon right in time: two seasons of HBO's Carnivàle, which ran from 2003 to 2005.

The series, set in the 1930s Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, holds a classic theme of good versus evil and follows the storylines of Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl), a young fugitive with the gift of healing hands who joins a traveling carnival, and Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown), a minister getting more and more sinister in his quest to do the right thing for him and his followers.

Carnivàle is visually stunning with its high-budget looks and cast profile. The production is terrific and you really feel the grind and roughness of those times long gone now during every single scene. The great cast features a lot of known faces like Michael J. Anderson (Twin Peaks), Clea DuVall (Zodiac) and Amy Madigan (Grey's Anatomy), while Clancy Brown and Nick Stahl shine as the main characters who are ultimately destined to face each other, but don't do so until very late in the series.

Carnivàle was planned to run over six seasons, but while the budgets certainly didn't decrease, the ratings unfortunately did during season two, and so HBO pulled the plug and left the fans of the show with a good but pretty open ending after only two years. While the series ran on a strong religious theme, the sometimes confusing storylines and the many surreal, supernatural elements especially during the second season probably didn't sit well with a part of the audience.

Alas, the 24 episodes that were shot are truly worth your time, and if you're a fan of Lynchian mindfuck moments, you'll be happily tuning in for each new episode.

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