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Carnivale: Season 2

4.5 out of 5 stars 2,107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(HBO Dramatic Series) As the final war between Good and Evil looms two powerful avatars divided by fate share one mission. For Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin, the race is on to find the elusive Henry Scudder--and the fate of the world depends on who finds him first.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:3 Audio Commentaries with Creator Daniel Knauf, Executive Producer Howard Klein, Director Rodrigo Garcia and cast members Clancy Brown and Clea Duvall.
Documentary:"Magic and Myth: The Meaning of Carnivale"--half-hour documentary exploring the apocalyptic writing and mythology behind the show. Interviews with the creator, executive producer, and writers and directors of the show to get their take on the mythology, as well as independent contributors who have examined the show?s characters and the archetypal roles they represent.
Featurette:"Creating the Scene" Featurettes--Find out how Carnivale's creators brought the Daily Brothers show -- and its Scorpion Lady, He/She and Praying Mantis-to vibrant life!
Other:Museum of Television and Radio panel discussion with cast and crew


The second season of HBO's Depression-era gothic--John Steinbeck by way of Tod Browning--picks up where the first left off. Professor Lodz (Patrick Bauchau) is dead. Ben (Nick Stahl), the show's protagonist, appears to be the culprit. Samson (Michael J. Anderson) helps him dispose of the body. Later he tells the other carnival workers that Lodz "took a powder." Lila (Debra Christofferson) doesn't buy it. Meanwhile, Sophie (Clea DuVall), who lost her mother to fire the previous year, feels unmoored without her guidance. A few states away, Brother Justin (Clancy Brown) harbors ever greater delusions of grandeur--and inappropriate thoughts about his sister, Iris (Amy Madigan). In "Alamagordo, NM," he decides to establish a temple, which he dubs Jonestown, er, Jericho. At the same time, life amongst the carnies, who are heading towards Justin's California, is becoming increasingly tense. Ruthie (Adrienne Barbeau), for instance, is starting to see dead people--like Lodz--and Stumpy (Toby Huss) is no longer able to keep his gambling in check. As with the first season, the action continues to alternate between the carnival and the congregation. What binds the two is a man named Scudder (John Savage), who has connections to Ben and Justin. Although writer/creator Dan Knauf had planned to tie things up between seasons three and six, HBO did not renew Carnivàle a second time. Nonetheless, a surprising number of questions are answered, like the identity of "Management" (voiced by an un-credited Linda Hunt) and whether Ben and Justin will have a final showdown. The answer to the latter question is: Yes, they will--and there’ll be casualties. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • 12 episodes on six discs
  • Commentary by creator Daniel Knauf, executive producer Howard Klein, director Rodrigo Garcia, and cast members Clancy Brown and Clea Duvall on three episodes
  • "Magic and Myth: The Meaning of Carnivale": half-hour documentary exploring the apocalyptic writing and mythology behind the show
  • "Creating the Scene" featurettes: Find out how Carnivale's creators brought the Daily Brothers show--and its Scorpion Lady, He/She and Praying Mantis--to life
  • Museum of Television and Radio panel discussion with cast and crew

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown, Debra Christofferson, Tim DeKay
  • Directors: Alan Taylor, Dan Lerner, Jack Bender, Jeremy Podeswa, John Patterson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: HBO Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 720 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FL7C82
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,063 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Carnivale: Season 2" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Season two of this amazing series saw a shift in gears as far as the direction of the show. Season one, while a masterpiece, suffered critical hits for taking too long to develop, and thus, perhaps lost some viewership. The not-so-well-kept secret is that time it took to craft the characters is exactly what true fans of the series enjoyed.

Some of the deep mystery and magic is gone from the second season, in favor of moving the plot along, but series creator Dan Knauf was so adept at his craft that he never allowed the series to become ho-hum and typical like other network series that delve into fantasy and science fiction.

What ultimately killed this series was two-fold. 1. It lost viewers who didn't want to be bothered with trying to figure the mystery out instead of having it handed to them on a platter and 2. executives who lost their vision as to what the show stood for and didn't recognize the art for what it was.

This show has created a cult following matched by few others in it's genre. True fans who cry out for more while keeping the vision alive in our minds. Hopefully one day our wishes will be fulfilled, but until then we have memories and two excellant seasons to enjoy.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There has never been a show that has had such an impact on me like HBO's "Carnivale." You can only imagine the heartbreak I went through when I found out that the show would not be renewed for another season. In a world where there is so much pointless garbage on TV with no substance, no emotion and no thinking behind it (again, this is not always a bad thing), it was refreshing to see something that challenged us to the core like "Carnivale" did. At long last, the second season has found its home on DVD.

It's hard to describe such a show without giving too much away, but I will do my best. The first season left off with Ben Hawkins (an unlikely savior and healer) and Brother Justin (a man who once served religion has now found his place along darkness and an ultimate evil)finally realizing their path in life and knowing who they really are. Ben is scared and instructed by the mysterious Management on what he has to do in order to prevent the end of the world as we know it, but Ben is not so sure who is using him and who he can trust. Yet, he knows that the key to the final battle between good and evil is his father, Henry Scudder. The problem is that Brother Justin is also looking for Scudder, as he has some terrible, awful plans of his own for the world. These two are states away, but finally they will meet and the fate of the world ultimately depends on who ends up coming up on top. And that's only a part of the overwhelming and forceful epic that is known as "Carnivale."

The second season is much more darker and unsettling than the first, and it never slows down. As good as the first season was, the pace was very slow--but it had to be in order to set the pieces into place. A lot of things that didn't make sense in the first season will come to light in this one.
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Format: DVD
Carnivale is such an amazing show. I ran out immediately and bought the $100 season one as soon as it became available and watched the entire season in one sitting on a Sunday morning prior to the premier of season two. Delving into the first season like this opened up some mysteries to me, and unlocked some clues that I had the luxury of being validated in the first episode of season two.

Season Two answered a lot of these burning questions, it raised the stakes of the looming confrontation, it threw in some intriguing twists, and finally gave us an amazing pay-off at the end. The problem is, is that there is still so much more of the story that needs to be told and this fascinating saga is no where near completed.

One of the biggest mistakes HBO has ever made was to cancel this series in the heart of its story-telling. Since they've done that, I have done everything in my power to distance myself from their programming. How can the company expect a decent amount in DVD sales when the price they decide to charge is obscene? Most consumers immediately realize that they can take their $100 and turn around and buy a 24 episode season of some hit show, and at LEAST three full length feature movies for the same price. Especially in this world of pirated and downloadable media; it appears that HBO is rather naive and making some bad business decisions on bogus data.

Regardless of HBO, I will definitely be purchasing this long awaited Season Two of Carnivale on 7/18/2006 and preparing myself for another marathon of watching the enthralling saga play out one final time.
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Format: DVD
This is by far what I consider to be the BEST series HBO has ever produced. While some say the first season moved too slow, the second season took off and your feet would never touch the ground again. By now everyone knows the plot. The great depression, battle of good versus evil in a supernatural battle for world domination, all set around a traveling group of rag-tag carnies going from city to city just to exist. Each member with a secret and each fitting into a perfect 3D puzzle. Thrust into this, the great satan of Brother Justin and the reluctant Ben Hawkins who does not want to face up to his destiny. Even the final battle was not the end. Season three would have been just as mind blowing if not for the rocket scientists who run HBO.

Despite the huge campaign, those same people have ignored the great hue and cry to resurrect the series. Much in the same mind frame as NBC executives in 1968 when Star Trek was cancelled. Personally, I cancelled my subscription to HBO and have never looked back. For anyone into Stephen King, see this and realize just how inadequate the "master" is when compared to a really great gothic horror series. Hopefully, another network will pick this up and allow the cast and crew to once again put some quality back on the small screen.
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Topic From this Discussion
did they finish the story?
The show was designed to consist of three "books" of two seasons each. So, the essential storyline of the first book was completely told, however, it is clear at the end that there were much bigger plans for the story.

I would not let the lack of the central story being wrapped up... Read More
Jun 30, 2010 by Pirate Lawyer |  See all 2 posts
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