TV Show Review: Carnivale

I have watched the two seasons of this show a couple of times so far, and as yet, I am nowhere near bored of it.There are many layers to it, and to both sides of the story, which ultimately of course collide. Its set in 1934, right smack in the middle of the Depression, in America.

On one side of the story, the main character is a young chain gang escapee, called Ben Hawkins. The actor who plays him, probably one of the best yet very relatively unkown, is Nick Stahl. His acting and the way he portrays his character so fully and with the best expressions, is what drives this half of the story. His family farm, which more resembles a patch of dirt and dust, has been repossessed. He's picked up by a travelling carnival, who have stopped in the little town in Oklahoma, hence the name of the show and works there, as a roustabout. He joins the ragtag group, despite concerns from the old blind mystic, who can read dreams and Ben's are more extreme than most. The fact that Ben has healing gifts, adds to the interestingness.

On the other side of the story, its in Mintern, California, and the main character is a Methodist reverend - Justin Crowe, with a devoted, older sister - Iris. He is portrayed by Clancy Brown. Who, interestingly enough, also voices the character Mr Eugene H. Krabs in the TV Series Spongebob Squarepants. He is a very good actor and plays his part well. Everything appears slightly normal, on this half of the story, for a moment, until the moment when Justin uses his gifts for the first time and shares the same dreams as Ben Hawkins.

There are some very bizarre and weird parts in this story, (which is putting things lightly) but it shows the dirty side of the Depression, better than most movies, not just in the wardrobe, setting, and makeup but also in the script, which is brilliant also. It definitely shows that they did their extensive research in this show and the only downside is that it only ran for two seasons.


  1. The first quote comes from the TV show that just been reviewed:

    "Clayton Jones: Je-sus Christ.
    Samson: On a bicycle."

    And the second comes from another HBO series that is just as intense and multi layered:
    "Eric Northman: [catching Jason] Hail the conquering hero.
    Jason Stackhouse: Oh no. I'm no hero.
    Eric Northman: Well you are in this town. But in my area, we know you well as a buyer and user of vampire blood.
    Jason Stackhouse: Yeah, listen. I don't do that any more.
    Eric Northman: All things considered, however, we'll call it even. You won't be doing it again.
    Jason Stackhouse: Yes… (Eric is mouthing no), no, no!
    Eric Northman: Good boy. Run along.
    (Jason leaves, Eric smiles to himself.)"


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