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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Run Away From The Circus

I have just taken my first glimpse into the world of 'Carnivale' - the fifth episode, ('Babylon') - and I struggle to sort out my thoughts and feelings about the show.

Firstly, don't be lured in by the name - the carnival itself directly clashes with most associations I make with the word - mostly the happier associations. Don't think the Big Top. Think sword-swallowing, fortune-telling, freak shows and carousels.

The cast of characters includes a bearded lady, a man who seems to have scales or something similar on his face, female siamese twins, a midget who seems to run the show, a mentally infant strongman, and a man with a metal leg. You'll have no trouble keeping the characters straight, even though I can't remember any of their names.

The whole episode was dark and gritty. And dirty. The set is of a dull pallette that highlights what colour is left extraordinarily well. In that respect, it reminds me of A Series Of Unfortunate Events, although there is nothing childish and little humorous about this show.

It took me a while to work out that a good part of the show's centre lies in the mystical; the paranormal.The young female fortune-teller has conversations (only audible on her part) with her unmoving, seemingly dead mother.There is a sort of odd-job boy who seems to be having visions, and an old blind man who might also be able to see the future, and is attempting to direct the boy's abilities.And tonight's show turned out to be a ghost story. Or zombie, or whatever.

Another aspect of the show, one which seems like it has nothing to do with the main action, revolves around Justin, a religious man of some kind reading the Bible alone in a ruin of a building. Passages he reads of the Bible seem to mirror events at the Carnivale, but there did not appear to be any connection between the stories except to an outside audience - because they're in the same show.

The show tonight happened to contain full-frontal female nudity, as one of the carnival's dancers listlessly did her stuff. My parents had lost interest in the show long before and had retired to their room, but I could just imagine my little brother coming around the corner for a drink. I switched the TV off at that point and waited thirty seconds or so before turning the TV back on.

It's all despair, despair, despair. There is little sense of closure if any, and things just seem to happen. Characters do things, react to events and to each other, and just keep reacting. That is not traditional storytelling. That is probably considered too realistic for storytelling.

If this is a show you want to watch, don't expect stories with happy endings. But if you like a dark streak in your watching, a heavy dose of realism, and a lot of the 'spiritual', I'd recommend you give it a try. But remember: I warned you.


Blogger Casyn said...

I'll be lending you my tape. The visions Ben was having in the mine were all from dreams he was having in the first ep. Justin's story is actually a major part, but was pushed to the background of last night's eps.

I hope you stick with it.

9:54 pm  

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