August 16, 2005 | Category:


Carnivale: easily the best show I’ve seen in years. Season 1 screened in the UK last year on FX UK, and season 2 should be starting any time now. Just finished watching it and it’s stunningly good.

I’m a sucker for long, well-planned story arcs; the kind where stuff that happens in the background of episode 1 is resolved several years later, where the writer has the patience and skill to weave hundreds of tiny details into a masterwork. Dan Knauf has achieved this.

For those who haven’t seen it, it defies being turned into a blurb. The best I can do is to say that it centres around the depression-era dustbowl, and how two men (a priest and an escaped convinct) become the key players in a centuries old struggle. The other characters all have a story to tell from Lodz (the blind man who can see the future), to Samson (the dwarf who runs the show), to Management (the owner of the carnivale who controls the show from behind a curtain, never revealing himself or his plans for the protaganist). Expect to take in a lot of mythology on the way as well. Obligatory Day of the Dead and Templar mentions are present and corrrect.

The kicker? It’s been cancelled. What was a five year story arc, will stop now that two have been shown. Don’t let that put you off though, it does have enough finality to work as a decent ending, but it’s a little annoying that you can see the next few years falling into place (having already glimpsed the last scenes of the five years fairly early on).

Highly recommend watching both series and then looking at sites like Save Carnivale. Although they’ll likely fail, at least if they finish the story another way, you’ll know about it.