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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Geek/CounterGeek: Carnivale


This week, our own carnie, Vito, analyzes HBO's Carnivale.

Geek: Carnivale is Intriguing and Mysterious

Last week I wrote about the new, re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. One of the creators of that show, Ronald D. Moore, was also executive producer of the first season of HBO's Carnivale. In its first year, Carnivale built up a rich mythology and extreme tension. All that is paying off fantastically in the new season as the mystery surrounding Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin is slowly revealed.

The settings are so vivid, you want to shake the dust off of your clothes at the end of the show. The main storyline has so many layers, it could stand alone as one of the great good vs. evil epics. Combine that with a traveling carnival full of strong supporting characters and subplots, and you have a truly unique masterpiece.

CounterGeek: Carnivale is Slow and Confusing

Carnivale is one of the most expensive shows on TV today. For that reason, I was surprised when it was renewed for a second season. With less than stellar ratings, it may not be back for a third. I don't think that's a bad thing.

The first season crawled along at a snail's pace. Small hints as to the overall plotline were dispersed in such small bits, that it was easy to miss them completely. At the end of that season, I was just annoyed and confused. Sure, I've seen things on this show that I never thought I'd see on TV; Clancy Brown (Highlander's The Kurgan) as a priest getting a BJ from a woman while a paralyzed priest watches, Adrian Barbeau going down on a fat, bearded lady. In fact if there were an Emmy for "Most Bizarre Oral Sex Scene in a Drama or Comedy" I'd have to guess Carnivale would win hands down.

As for the rest of it, all the confusion and mystery is giving way to a very Highlander like plot, people with special powers kill other people with special powers so they can get more power to kill the rest of the people with powers. There can be only one!

What do you think? Post a comment now!

Geek/CounterGeek airs every Tuesday.

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