36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant program,
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This review is from: Carnivale: The Complete First Season (DVD)
In a short period of time, "Carnivale" has grown into my favorite television show. Structured like a dense, epic novel, the production values are sumptuous, the acting uniformly ingenious, and the central mysteries complex and involving. The series, ostensibly about the final battle between good and evil, as wonder gives way to reason, is so firmly rooted in a three-dimensional, realistic world with three-dimensional realistic characters that I would classify it as more magical realism than science-fiction or fantasy. The characters drive the plot, rather than the other way around, which is a difficult feat to accomplish in such a complex narrative that includes shadowy symbolism and prophetic dreams. There have been complaints that the first season did not wrap up any loose ends, but why should it? Season 1 is but the prologue to this novel-for-television, and narratives are never concluded in the prologue. Be forewarned, though, if you are looking for a television show that does not tax your intellectual muscles and does not ask you to do some work to understand it, this is not the show for you. If, on the the other hand, you are looking for a show that is fascinating, multi-layered (the symbolism alone could be discussed for hours), and intellectually stimulating, with fantastical situations that still manages to maintain a strong verisimilitude of character and the time period in which it occurs (1934, the Great Depression, in the Dust Bowl), I would urge you to watch this DVD set immediately, so you can be caught up for the second season, which premieres January 9th. The video quality of this DVD set, by the way, is among the finest I have ever seen. I would rank it up there with "The Lord of the Rings" Extended Edition sets for a near-perfect picture.