The story is set in 1934, in the dust bowl of America, where people were suffering from the great depression. The open title sequence is awesome with clips of that era infused with images of tarot cards and carnival freaks. The footage has a grimy feel to it and the music in the back ground is what I would call, pretty hypnotic. The first episodes introduction contains the phrase, “Into each generation is born a creature of light and a creature of darkness.” I like these mystical stories of the clash between good and evil. And it is even better when the line between the 2 is so unclear that you don’t know where either one stands.
Such is the premises of CARNIVALE, with out giving too much away. The bilateral story starts on one end when an 18 year old man recently faced with his mothers death is rescued by and eventually joins a traveling caravan. The troop includes freaks and geeks of all nature and even a bunch of psychics to boot. They are handled by a little person named Samson who in turn is in turn commanded by a character referred to as Management. I am on the 9th episode now and I yet have to see this ‘Management”. The young boy harbors some mysterious powers that he is still exploring and his unsolved past seems to haunt him.
On the opposite side we are following the story of a Reverend, who is also in possession of some baffling strengths. He faces the trials and tribulations of the corrupt world he lives in and he is constantly infuriated by the limitations they place on his humanitarian goals, which he believes are being communicated to him by God. He is haunted by apocalyptic visions that tie him and seemingly bring him closer to the boy, although they seem to have never met. It is evident to me however that this show will climax once these 2 personalities clash.
This show is extremely slow and I would not recommend it to people who like fast paced action like in 24. But none the less the story line is gripping if you allow yourself to be absorbed by it. The music helps transport you back to the 30’s and the style of filming completes the transition. The show features numerous other characters that are equally charismatic and interesting. How often will you get to see a bearded lady make love with a blind psychic or beautiful conjoined twins seduce a group of men with their hypnotic voices? There are dark twists and sometimes confusing curves but if you are ready to let your imagination run wild then you could have fun with this. Not to mention that CARNIVALE did win 5 Emmys© for their last season.