LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) The traveling show of "Carnivale" has made its final stop. HBO has decided not to order a third season of the spooky series set in Dust Bowl-era America, the showbiz trade papers report. HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss says in a statement that the show reached a natural conclusion in its second season, which ended in March.
"We feel the two seasons we had on the air told the story very well, and we're proud of what everyone associated with the show accomplished," Strauss says.
The show starred Nick Stahl as a young man with the power to heal who hooks up with an equally mysterious traveling carnival. Clancy Brown also starred as a preacher whose true intent was to bring hell on earth; the show led up to a confrontation between the two in the final episode. Although the show had a fierce cult following, its ratings this year didn't live up to those of season one, so the cancellation doesn't come as a huge surprise. Additionally, series creator Daniel Knauf signed a development deal with Showtime in late March.
I did catch some of season two, and really got into the show, bummer it ended so soon.
Yeah, bummer. I was afraid that would be the deal. Well, at least we got to a "pause" point. Wonder if Knauf will be able to arrange somebody else to make the rest, or some other media for the rest of the story.
(I wonder what this means for season 2 DVDs? They'll probably do them for the fierce cultists. Any revenue they can get.)
We're wearing the black armbands around our house. We were so hoping it got renewed. My wife frequents some of the Carnivale message boards and had heard the news early this week. In the event they didn't make the Season 2 DVD, we had taped all this season as it went along. I'd rather have the DVDs though.
I wouldn't worry about the DVDs; I'm pretty sure they'll come out. Since Band of Brothers has spent the last three years on the DVD charts doing an imitation of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," HBO seems to have learned the long-term revenue value of the DVD as well as any other network. Probably more so, since reliance on subscriptions to fund the shows means that they really do need to seek the DVD dollar to round out their earnings.
Besides, it's HBO. No matter how small the DVD package, they've shown their willingness to charge people nearly $100 for it. (Maybe they're operating off the A&E business plan.) If that's what they have to do to get Carnivale to the marketplace, they'll do it.
That said, it's a shame the show got canceled, and I'm really curious as to why it did. As a huge fan of The Wire I watched it and Carnivale's mentions in entertainment columns with great interest, since both shows were drawing less than the anticipated ratings for HBO, and both were rumored to be getting the axe anyday. But for some reason The Wire got renewed while Carnivale didn't. I'm wondering: did Carnivale cost that much more to make, meaning that HBO was losing more money on it? Or was it a case of critics lauding The Wire so much that HBO was afraid to cut the show because of the possible critical backlash?
Like I said, it's a shame about the cancellation. I was just getting into it this season and was looking forward to getting a hold of the first season and putting everything together. Damn. I'd try to get mad, but this is HBO. It's not like Fox, which has done so much to earn blind hatred over the years.
From what I've heard, Carnivale was pretty pricey to make. They always did a fabulous job of staying very true to the period, & that's got to drive costs up. I believe it was Knauf who said something about not being able to find an authentic 30's ferris wheel just anywhere. (Compare Deadwood, which requires one Western movie lot, some horses & leftover movie costumes, & from what I've seen doesn't give much of a crap about authenticity.)
I'm thinking the "non-renewal" is probably a combination of the cost & the critical response. Although the second season was paced much faster than the first (The first, uphill section of the roller coaster is always slow -- it's later on you get to go "Wheeee!"), it seems like the critics didn't notice. There wasn't nearly as much positive press this season as there was early on.
We're keeping it for "Empire Falls" which is being shown on May 28th and 29th. It was filmed in our neck of the woods (Skowhegan, Waterville and Winslow, Maine), so we got to see a lot of it while it was being made. It was pretty cool seeing Dennis Farina and William Fichtner in the local grocery store. May 30th, HBO will be canceled, though!