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Carnivàle (series) season 2 * Daniel Knauf (2005)

I do not remember exactly when these series were broadcasted on Dutch TV, but I suppose it was 2003 or 2004. I started to watch the series and even though I loved them I lost track when I started to miss episodes. Years later we rented and watched the first series and again years later, my girlfriend ran into the second series for a good price. I wanted to watch the first series before starting with the second, but the first series were not very expensive! Reading back my review of the time, I liked the series, but I was critical still. Yet, my memories of it always remained positive and I must say that when we started to watch the first series again, I loved them. My older review gives a good idea of the series’ atmosphere and some elements of the story. Exited about the second series, the first two episodes blew me away. Darker and stranger than the complete first series and apparently giving all the answers to the questions I had. I really wondered what these second series would lead to. Just as with the first series there are very good and just good episodes. Characters develop, the storyline becomes clearer, there is less focus on Ben’s visions, but more on that mysterious brother Justin, whose part grows to new heights. Ben seems to become fully aware of his gift and the purpose of his life and towards the end the series seem to work towards a final knockout. Still, the last episodes are not that impressive. More even, the story stops, some new leads are given and the viewer is made ready for the third series that never came…
Overall Carnivàle are truely great series. The magnificent brown tint, the desolate desert atmosphere, the great characters and well-written story, a classic!

Carnivàle (series) season 1 * Daniel Knauf * 2003-

I remember when these series were introduced on the Dutch television. Quite a big anouncement and my interest was raised enough to watch it. I am not good at following series on TV, so somewhere in the second half I missed an episode, later another, then I dropped out. I liked the series. They are not comparable in magnificence to Twin Peaks which name is often mentioned, but it was a nice watch. For years I had the idea to watch them on DVD some time. That apparently took four years!
Carnivàle (as you probably know) is about a travelling circus. The “route” goes through the deserts of central and southern Northern America which immediately sets the atmosphere for the series: barren, desolate and grim. The atmosphere is rather dark for such a big series and the characters are as weird as they are collourfull. A comateus tarrot card reader, a bearded lady, a reptile man, a blind clairvoyant, a tiny director (a great role by Michael Anderson, the dwarf from Twin Peaks’ red room), an invisible “management”. A young man is picked up, Ben Hawkins, a man with a strange gift/curse. He “was not picked up for no reason” and this is what the series are about. A very nice watch for sure if you enjoy the non-average TV entertainment and can stand a grim atmosphere and halucinative scenes. A series for Twin Peaks fans maybe, but believe me, Twin Peaks is 10x better and I can’t wait for the second series to be available. The second series of Carnivàle are already available and the end of the first series prove that this is not a sequel because of a successfull series, but it was always intended to be a multi-series series. I have no idea if there are plans for a third series. I hope not! Canivàle is nice, but a second series will probably already be on the edge of cow-milking. I think I might watch that second series though… sometimes (maybe when I know if there will be more series!). For the time being, if you haven’t seen Carnivàle yet, the 12x 45 to 55 minutes on the couch are worth it.