Carnivàle: Milfay   First Watch 
March 22, 2015 9:00 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After the death of his mother, Ben Hawkins joins Carnivàle. Meanwhile, Brother Justin has a religious vision.
posted by drezdn (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In hey, it's that actress!: Carla Gallo, Lindsey from "Undeclared"
posted by drezdn at 9:20 AM on March 22, 2015

I'm excited. This feels like the good part of Lost (powerful forces are at work) without the bad (here the story arc seems to know where it's going).
posted by Monochrome at 12:05 PM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I lovelovelovelovelove this show. And Monochrome, you are bang the fuck on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:51 PM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't think of another show that establishes such an uncomfortable atmosphere as quickly as this did; between the opening credits and the weird monologue at the start (*love* the mention of Trinity as the end of magic and the beginning of reason), and then Ben's dream, I never fully got comfortable, in the best way possible. Everything was pretty amazing, but I think my favorite scene is the vision towards the end, with the snow and the rain of blood, you can almost feel the huge forces coming together through the TV. Super excited to go through this series, something tells me that good and evil aren't going to be as obvious as they would be in other shows.

The saddest thought I had was that if this aired today everyone would be talking about it True Detective style and it would run for 10 years.
posted by hobgadling at 2:06 PM on March 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

As a member of my local acting community (his sister Bonny went to prom with my best guy friend, and she and I are the same age), I always cheered for Nick Stahl's career choices, and think Ben Hawkins is probably the best one for showing off his acting range.

Carnivale really highlights how underused he and Clancy Brown are in Hollywood. That said, Clancy's got a special effects makeup allergy that relegated him (mostly) to voiceover acting gigs, and Nick's got an apparent drug problem. Shame it'll probably sideline him indefinitely, like Edward Furlong.

I adore the Dust Bowl aesthetic of this show; some parts of contemporary OK/TX/LA still very much look and sound like the starched, yet threadbare earnestness we see in both Father Justin's home and the towns that the circus folk visit. I've come to associate that dark, carved wood furniture topped by doilies and family Bibles with my more rural cousins living in the Panhandle and Piney Woods of East Texas. The characters here feel real to me in a way few others have... True Detective is the only other show that felt viscerally real to me the same way Carnivale does, like I grew up with these people.

So, yeah, hobgadling, I agree with you -- this show came along a decade too early for maximizing its Southern Gothic greatness by airing concurrently with True Detective.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:44 PM on March 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Carnivàle, the season before Lent, the celebrations leading up to Ash Wednesday and privation. Carne levare, a farewell to meat and butter, sugar and eggs - the richness of life. Carne vale, a goodbye to flesh.

An outgrowth of Saturnalia, the season is when masks are worn, the usual order of things is inverted: fool become wise man, master becomes slave, light and darkness switch, when torches are carried well into the night and people sleep in the day.

The travelling circus is the same thing: the usual order is not maintained - the familiarity of the world is stripped away. A shaking-up, as Samson said, to wake the staid and complacent people of the world out of their routine. But they have to keep moving. And they have an order of their own.

I'm excited to be watching this.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:47 PM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

This would be one of my top 10 shows of all time - OF ALL TIME - if it hadn't been so cavalier with artificially extending its life. At least twice an episode John Connor would be all "I don't want to talk about it" so that whatever stupid secret he had would be drawn out and then revealed later and oh wait no because it was cancelled because one episode in three was boring and empty and didn't need to be there.

Those opening credits though, man oh man. And the mood and theme and setting and actors were just great.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:37 PM on March 26, 2015

Oh yeah. I loved the sense of the worldbuilding in this show - it was so deeply steeped in mood and you could almost smell the dust.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:06 PM on March 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

I loved/was creeped out by this show when I watched it the first time--it gave me heebie jeebies, but in a delightful way!
posted by chatongriffes at 3:26 PM on April 21, 2015

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