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Roush Riff: 'Carnivale'
by Matt Roush, TVGuide (January 9, 2005)

HBO's Carnivàle (Sundays, 9 pm/ET), in its second season, is the perfect show for those who thought Twin Peaks was too accessible. The rest of us can empathize with young hero Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl), who complains in this week's second episode: "That don't make no sense." To which his diminutive boss Samson (Michael J. Anderson) snaps, "Well, it don't hafta." A visually dazzling but mystifying brew of prophecy, perversion and apocalyptic allegory, Carnivàle is best when following the Dust Bowl misfortunes of a carnival family of misfits, freaks and cons. The bigger end-of-the-world showdown, to which Carnivàle is creeping, isn't nearly as much fun.