Saturday, July 09, 2005

"Shake some dust . . . "

And get thee to your local movie-rental emporium to rent Carnivale. The Meridians visited Blockbuster yesterday and, on a whim, I rented the first two episodes of Season One. I had read some articles about it in the past and was intrigued; but, seeing as we don't have cable, I hadn't seen any episodes before last night. So, my apologies in advance for being a bit behind the times with this post.
The series is set during the Depression. The first two episodes introduce us (only) to the two main characters, Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin, two men who don't know each other and who live half a continent apart from each other, but who have dreams in which the other appears and who have similar supernatural powers: Ben has the power of healing; Brother Justin, a minister of indeterminate but Calvinistic denomination, can powerfully make his parishoners confront their sin. Ben, an Okie, joins a travelling carnivale (their spelling) after his mother dies and their farm is repossessed by the bank. The carnivale is gradually heading west--toward California, where Brother Justin is, though I'm only surmising that part. Other mysteries come to light as well: a trunk in a carnivale trailer contains a picture of Ben's mother when she was a young woman, and we come to understand that Ben's father might/might not be a mysterious man previously associated with the carnivale but whom people are (so far) reluctant to talk about. There's a so-far unseen entity travelling with the carnivale called The Management, who seems to know something about Ben that even he doesn't know. To wit: items from Ben's dreams begin appearing, after the fact, in the carnivale.
So: what's all this like? Imagine Cormac Mccarthy, Katherine Dunne, and Chris Carter collaborating on The Grapes of Wrath, and that might suffice. The pace of these episodes is absolutely glacial--for which I'm very thankful; I've never seen another TV show (and very few films) this visually rich, one that requires that the viewer not watch so much as ponder.
We'll be watching more--and pondering--soon.

Via Technorati's (wonderful) tags, I found Carnycon, a beautiful site dedicated to all things Carnivale. Go have a look.

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1 comment:

sutrix said...

You're in for an absolute blast.