With so much crap on television, it's always a pleasant surprise when something worth watching comes along. Not so surprising is when these shows come from HBO, where quality seems to be more important than dumbing down to the lowest common denominator (namely, the American television audience). Well, after Sex and the City and Six Feet Under, they appear to have struck gold once again with Carnivale. It's an odd David-Lynchian-type mix of The Stand with little touches of Pulp Fiction and even The X-Files tossed in for good measure.
The story focuses on a traveling carnival who takes in what appears to be a prison escapee named Ben who has some pretty amazing supernatural talents, but the carnival itself is not quite what it seems. On the other end of the spectrum is a preacher who appears to be getting signs from God, but other happenings may be suggesting otherwise. And, of course, everybody has secrets and a past that's begging to be explored.
Bonuses include appearances by the talented Patrick Bauchau, Amy Madigan, and Nick Stahl in the lead. If you like unusually good television that is just left of mainstream, this is worth a look.