Carnivale: Complete HBO Season 1  [DVD] 
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All 12 episodes from the first season of HBO's surreal, sepia-toned drama series, which follows a travelling carnival troupe around the American Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Episodes are: 'Milfay', 'After the Ball is Over', 'Tipton', 'Black Blizzard', 'Babylon', 'Pick a Number', 'The River', 'Lonnigan, Texas', 'Insomnia', 'Hot and Bothered', 'The Day of the Dead' and 'The Day That Was the Day'.
Season 1 introduces the mythical tale of the battle between good and evil, set against the surreal backdrop of a Depression-era travelling circus, within which troubled healer Ben Hawkins is harbouring.
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The first episode opened strongly stating it was a battle between good and evil insinuating it would be filled with mythology while the ‘freak-show’ angle suggested a large cast of alternative characters with varied abilities, but the pace was a little slow [lose a *], ultimately causing viewing figures to drop by 1/3 for the second episode. The visual accuracy of the series is undeniable and the characterisation becomes so deep and multi faceted that the actual plot and mythology seems to be side-lined making the middle of the series quite plodding and tiring work [lose a *] never really getting anywhere until the series finale.
Each of the 6 discs carries 2 episodes with the following features; a series index and making of documentary or commentary, the language selection is audio [5.1 default, or 2.0 in English, Francais or Magyar] while subtitles are in 14 languages, mainly European]. Selecting the episode goes to a plot summary. With scenes of attempted rape, graphic suicide attempts, shootings, death, ghosts, themes of prostitution, murder and some full frontal nudity and use of the F word, this will offend some viewers. It has similarities to the much later ‘Heroes—season 4 volume 5 ’ with a ‘Twin Peaks’ feel but lacks the haunting music and it’s overtly surreal world.
The production was so top-notched that it became quite expensive, so HBO decided to discontinue the series. Now, they say that they belive that the series have an adequate ending as it is, but boy are they lying! Just when the gears have been set in motion for a big finale, the confrontation of the two main antagonists has just started, just as it's been revealed to us what they truly are, what are the powers that be, and what's at stake... THE END.
Not even a special feature length episode to wrap things up, for those of us who where invested in the characters and the lore.
Shame, HBO, for you have given us many fine series to shine out there. Shame...
I bought series one just to see if I would like it as it was fairly inexpensive for 12 episodes. However, I enjoyed series one so much that I ordered series two after only watching a couple of the episodes.
The series is set in the 1930s and set within a travelling carnival. There are numerous characters that you quickly grow to like - and the obvious few baddies that get your hackles up. I always found that after watching one episode I wanted to see the next one. However, the storyline is fairly slow paced and if you had been watching this on the TV at one episode a week you might have given up on it. But having the series means that you can watch them at your own pace without losing momentum. If you like fast paced action series then this one probably isn't for you.
A but a lot of the time is spent building up the characters involved and the storyline around how the central character, Ben Hawkins, is looking to find his father.
I found it a fascinating insight into what life might have been like during that era and more especially for people living and working in a carnival during that time.
A lot of lose ends !!!!
I have to say I am sooooo pleased I bought this, we watched the whole first series over Easter, and are now buying series 2
This is not bright lights, big colourful magical demons, daft special effects and all "moviestyley" - it is an honest, cleverly written good versus evil saga.... however, you are not 100% sure who is good and who is evil... the characters are real (some of whom do have other-wordly powers), the story cleverly and subtly written
It is set in the 1930's depression in America, amongst the cast of a travelling carnival... the bearded lady, the coochie dancers, the strong man, the midget ringmaster, the lizard man, the tarot card reader, the "Management", each episode does have it's own story, but the storys combine to make one epic tale... and the end of season one leaves you with many many questions unanswered!
I cannot recommend this highly enough! Buy it, turn of the phone and enjoy!
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