Sure, a lot of crazy things go down in the big city, but if you want the really, really weird stuff, you've got to get out to the boonies. You know, those wide spots in the road where the locals all know there's something strange going on but they're not about to tell you. Or save your hide when you stumble across their deep, dark secret. So bring your flashlight, a map and the sense your mama gave you, as we tour some of the strangest towns TV has ever seen.
Also, to make this column, a show must have actually been good. Shows that are canceled and deserve it certainly aren't "Gone Too Soon." They're perhaps not gone soon enough. Furthermore, a GTS could just as easily have been on the air for years before ending abruptly. If I'm sitting here wondering what happens next and now I'm never going to find out, that's gone too soon.
Which brings us to our first entry. HBO is known for groundbreaking television, but even they didn't know how much ground they broke with Carnivàle in September 2003. On the surface, it was yet another brilliantly produced period piece, perfectly capturing the look and feel of the Great Depression era United States. Underneath, it was nothing short of the epic struggle between good and evil.
(S01E03) Nope, this isn't Eureka, and that isn't the friendly Sheriff Carter up there. But it is Eureka's Colin Ferguson, and with Clifton Collins Jr. he has created a truly chilling installment in NBC's increasingly "must see" horror anthology Fear Itself. Well, much of the credit to the success of this episode belongs at the feet of Dan Knauf, who proved himself an absolute master of the macabre with his darkly brilliant HBO series Carnivále. He's also been a writer for Supernatural, so this stuff is clearly old hat for him.
And I'm pleased to say that the "old pro" really came through with "Family Man." Easily the best episode of the young season so far and one of the best stand-alone hours of any anthology series I think I've ever seen. Ferguson, who we've come to know and love for playing the nice guy really shines here. And due to the complexity of the story, both he and Collins get a real chance to flex their acting muscles to brilliant effect. From the chilling scenes at home to the overwhelming drama in the prison, each moment propelled the story forward. The only thing that blows me away is that director Ronny Yu, who does wonderfully here, has Freddy vs. Jason and Bride of Chucky as his horror directing pedigree.
It's that festive time of year when children put tinsel on the television antennas and hang mistletoe over their favorite DVDs. Where celebrities check into rehab to spend the holidays with all their celebrity friends. And where the rest of America is invited to corporate non-specific, non-religious, non-alcoholic generic winter holiday luncheons where they can mingle with their co-workers and say things like "Remember when this company used to have real Christmas parties?"
But while political correctness may have ruined most holiday functions, nothing can ruin Festivus! That magical season in which TV Squadders hope and pray for televisions dreams come true. And I know just what I want...
HBO hasn't been able to replicate the success of its biggest hit to date, The Sopranos, but that doesn't seem to bother its subscribers. According to Reuters, even experts such as senior analyst Deana Myers, who's been tracking premium cable viewing patterns for the past decade, are surprised. While she says "it did seem like it was going to go down," those numbers in fact increased slightly. Apparently the viewers weren't hanging onto HBO just to see how the saga of mobster Tony Soprano turned out after all.
HBO wants to do a two hour movie to wrap up all the loose ends left unresolved when the show was canceled last spring. But the show's creators don't think that there's enough time to do a movie that will be satisfactory, since there is still a lot of story to cover. However, the story might continue as...a comic book!
At any rate, there will actually be a Carnivale convention in California next year.
All may not be lost if Carnycon has its way, asking fans to send paper telegrams directly to HBO CEO Chris Albrecht, pleading for the show's return. I wish them good luck with their efforts.
Plenty of flashbacks bring us closer to who Sophie really is and a better understanding of Ben’s earlier visions of the Usher. A successful suspense-filled chase leads to an anti-climatic fight between Ben and Justin, but it was Sophie that was really the climax. I guess we figured out why she is the Omega now. I almost feel gypped, I was hoping for more of a finale. The Sophie/Justin link will lead to an interesting third season, if there is to be one. The episode left me empty; I still love the story, but something was missing.
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