'Carnivale' The Complete First Season
by Hock Guan Teh, DVD Town (December 1, 2004)
"There’s rules. You give life, you
gotta take it from somewhere else."
Trust HBO to come up with an original series
like "Carnivàle", which has
been described as "Grapes of Wrath"
meets "Twin Peaks" with a little bit
of "Big Fish" added in for good measure.
In an idiosyncratic show that just gets weirder
and more fascinating with each passing episode,
"Carnivàle" is able to take
a stranglehold to its audience and hold their
rapt attention by cleverly revealing only bits
and pieces of its truly mysterious plot each
time; just enough to pique an interest in its
audience and encourage them to return week after
While the regular networks
are concentrating their efforts on creating
‘procedural’ crime and medical shows
("CSI" and "Medical Investigations")
that offer stories that usually wrap up in one
episode, HBO is already an old hand at serials--shows
that deftly develop its characters and story
throughout an entire season. Literally, these
are the shows that seem to consume its audience
for months at a time, prodding them to follow
each episode religiously, in case, God forbid,
they happen to miss something that is discussed
at the water cooler the next morning. With the
exception of ABC, which debut two successful
serials, "Lost" and "Desperate
Housewives", this current television season,
no other major networks have had as much success
at serials as HBO. Now you can safely add "Carnivàle"
to the pay cable channel’s illustrious
list of great drama series. How can one ever
go wrong with a channel that produces and broadcasts
supreme dramas like "The Sopranos",
"Six Feet Under", "The Wire"
and the soon-to-be-released-on-DVD Western drama
"Deadwood"? Like "Carnivàle",
HBO’s hot streak seems like pure magic.
To read the rest of this review, visit: http://www.dvdtown.com/review/carnivalethecompletefirstseaso/13645/2523/