Monday, August 16, 2010

Series Review: Carnivale

Last week my wife and I finished watching the HBO series Carnivale, a dark fantasy series set in the midst of the Great Depression. We had seen season one a few years back, but even though we have owned the second season for two years, it was only during the last couple months that we've have had time to watch the second season.

I'm going to go fairly light on spoilers and simply explain what I felt about the series. For starters, yes - I really enjoyed the show, and I think that if you enjoy the fantasy genre, this show is definitely worth a look.

Set during one of the least magical times in history, the show follows two parallel story lines: a priest as he begins to build a ministry and a young man who joins a travelling carnival. Both men begin having strange dreams in the pilot that involve each other, as well as visions of the past and the future. Both men also develop certain abilities, the priest can see into the minds of others and the young man can heal people.

For me, the strength of the show lies in its strong story arcs, as well as the great acting of the entire cast. At first, both the carnival story line and the church story line seem to have too many characters and it's difficult to keep track, but as you work your way through the first season, it becomes simpler to understand what is happening, and you get to really see these characters develop.

The only bad part of the show for me is that it ends on a cliffhanger, as the original intent was to have a story that developed over six seasons and it ended after the second one, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Knowing about the cliffhanger going in, however, I was able to enjoy the show for what it was, an intriguing look at magic in a terrible time, with a focus on free will versus predestination.

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