'Carnivale' The Complete First Season
by Ken Shallcross, DVD Fanatic (December 2004)
On December 7th, Carnivale rolls into town with
the complete first season in a 6-DVD set. One
of the latest in original programming from HBO,
this incredible drama series takes the classic
battle of "good vs. evil" and blows
it straight into the Oklahoma dustbowl, circa
For those unfamiliar
with the Carnivale story, here is a synopsis
of plot: "...and to each generation is
born a creature of light, and a creature of
darkness," and thus begins Carnivale. In
Oklahoma, 1934, Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) loses
his mother and his home. While burying his mom,
a westward bound Carnivale troupe rolls through
town. He decides to join them in hopes of food,
money and a career in showbiz. Little does "good"
Hawkins know that waiting for him in California
is the "evil" Brother Justin Crowe
(Clancy Brown). Much of the first season revolves
around Hawkins and Crowe slowly discovering
they have incredible powers, as the final confrontation
between good and evil slowly approaches.
There are a few key elements
that contribute to the magnificence of Carnivale,
first and foremost being the incredible cast
of characters. All of the stereotypical carnies
are present in the show: the fortunetellers,
snake charmer, bearded lady, "mentalist,"
reptile man, Siamese twins, the strong man,
the mysterious hidden leader, the showgirls
and the rousties (carnival workers). But it's
the principle characters played by Nick Stahl
(Terminator 3, In the Bedroom) and Clancy Brown
(The Shawshank Redemption, Highlander) that
really stand out and make this show so riveting.
The show also stands out due to its award winning
costumes, sets, make-up, direction and photography.
The second key element
is that of the classic "good v. evil"
theme being retold in an entirely new and different
way. It's a crazy idea that works so well it's
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