I've been watching Carnivale. HBO show, now in its second season. I like it.
Carnivale is what Point Pleasant should have been, minus the teenage hardbodies.
I've started watching the show at the start of its second season without having seen the first season, and I'm more than a little confused for now, but it appears to be a millenarian Good-vs-Evil kinda thingy, set during the Great Depression, focusing on a carny that tours the western US. Main players are the carny folks, who are what you'd expect at a carny: a dwarf, a bearded lady, the women in a titty show, a snake-charmer lady, a fortune teller, various roustabouts, and so forth. There's also a person/entity known as 'Management', who lives in a curtained alcove and has an aged, androgynous voice. In Season 2, up to Episode 7, all we've seen of Management is an arthritic hand. In E7, we see more, and I'm getting Rahxephon flashbacks. There's also a radio evangelist, who appears to be Evil, but may not wholly realize it yet himself. Probably modeled after Father Coughlin, a paleoconservative fascist apologist of the time. And a young guy, first-among-equals in this ensemble cast, who has healing powers. I suspect he's Good, and also doesn't realize it yet. Or perhaps Everyman. Or something else.
Exactly what Good and Evil are in this series isn't clear to me. Are they the Christian God and the Devil, or is the situation more complex? Mystery is good. The Great Depression, besides providing the all-important element of Grit, (so reviewers can talk about "This gritty drama..."), allows full play to the great political struggles of that era, the rise of fascism abroad, the growing power of very dark forces in the US such as Coughlin and the Klan. I wish they'd include the CPUSA and the Wobblies, who were also in the mix. Great opportunities there for mixing up Good and Evil and daring the viewer to take sides. So far, though, I'm not seeing any representatives from the left of the dial.
I'm also not seeing very many non-whites. There's an Asian (Japanese?) tattoo artist, and a black guy in another carny troupe whom the cast meets, but that's about it. Probably a function of the time: blacks and whites were socially separated for the most part, and if the focus of the show is on one racial group, there won't be many representatives of other races around. Still, a Father Divine character would be a natural fit for this show.
There's a lot of other cool stuff tossed into the mix: spooky life/death masks, tattoos, visions, ghosts, murders, disfigurement, freaks and psychotics of various kinds.
There's a strong Twin Peaks flavor to the show, and that's good. It doesn't have the wild absurdist humor of Twin Peaks, though; the show on the whole takes itself very seriously. So far, it hasn't fallen on its face.
I like it Carnivale. I like it a lot. I'm getting the first season on DVD.
== kagetsu == (suffix) [number of] months
|Top radical is 'bamboo' (竹). Bottom radical is 'hard' (固), which acts phonetically to express 'straight'. This character was originally a counter for straight bamboo slats; now is used as a counter more generally. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Count items of hard bamboo.'|