HBO wants to know what you think about Carnivale.
December 5, 2003 8:06 PM   Subscribe

HBO wants feedback about Carnivàle. The first season of HBO's Carnivàle concluded last Sunday (making way for Angels in America to occupy the next two Sunday evenings). Although a second season is likely, according to its creator, HBO is now asking viewers what they think about the show, asking them to rate each character and say whether or not they'd watch a second season. [survey link via TV Barn Ticker; background info inside.]
posted by realityblurred (21 comments total)
The show, a drama about good and evil in the 1930s that's primarily set in a traveling carnival, opened as the most watched debut in HBO history, but ended on a weaker note, with less than half of its premiere's viewers. That's possibly because it was "confusing [and] pretentious"; it's creator even admits that he "couldn't pitch it" because it was so complex -- or muddled.
posted by realityblurred at 8:08 PM on December 5, 2003

Soooooooo.... HBO wants us to volunteer for market research. I'm usually pretty cool about this adfilter stuff, but seriously, what the fuck.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:12 PM on December 5, 2003

The show's fucking weird. I have the last six or seven hours on Tivo. Maybe I'll wait to see how the survey comes out before I watch the rest
posted by Slagman at 8:19 PM on December 5, 2003

The show, while it moves quite slowly at the onset, got extremely good as it went on.. with a cracker jack of an ending (at least I thought so). Definitely deserves at least one more season. Hopefully it'll happen. I went ahead and filled out the survey.
posted by tittergrrl at 8:24 PM on December 5, 2003

I'm with Stan on this one. Other companies have to pay people to tell them what people think of their stuff. You're putting these people out of a job! Think of their children.

This isn't exactly a bold new idea. Anyone, at anytime, can send an email to any network about any show, complaining or praising it.

The main page for the surveys site says:
"Welcome to!
Please click on the link that you were e-mailed to complete the survey."

Did you sign up for a Carnivale email list, reality?
posted by Salmonberry at 8:41 PM on December 5, 2003

Of course, I know how to focus group.

I'll complete the survey for $50 and some snacks.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:42 PM on December 5, 2003

A more complexing inquiry is the company behind the Market Research, KL Communications which features possibly the shittiest 1993 era web design motif ever. This has to be some kind of racket, and I want to know how to get in on it if making HTML 1.0 forms is all they do.

??? Profit!
posted by Stan Chin at 9:17 PM on December 5, 2003

Never got past the 4th episode. The grimy look got old, and overall it struck me as David Lynch, 'cept not done right.

Tittergrl makes me wonder if I gave up too soon, but 6-8 slow episodes is alot to sit through before the show starts to deliver.
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:09 PM on December 5, 2003

I watched the first six episodes and agree that it got really slow. I stopped watching when they would finish the episode with some freaky carni sex scene. I just don't need that as the last image of the show when I go to do something else. I'm a big Soprano's fan, and something I notice about that show is that they don't leave you with some sexual or ultra violent scene to end an episode. Kind of like mouthwash after some pretty rich/suggestive content.

Does anyone else know of a Soprano episode that has ended in a 'charged' fashion?
posted by kremb at 10:42 PM on December 5, 2003

I didn't start watching Carnivale until around 8 weeks in. I was able to watch everything in order, thanks to the joy that is HBO OnDemand. The show isn't muddled--it's just so complex it often takes multiple viewings to understand what's going on in each episode. But the direction everything's going in is exciting. Brother Justin is turning into Father Coughlin, if Father Coughlin had the Talent. Unlike Fupped Duck, I like the grimy look. It's a carnival in the Dust Bowl. Of course it's dirty.
posted by jbrjake at 11:01 PM on December 5, 2003

i watched the entire season waiting for some type of payoff or idea of what the whole thing was about and where it was going. the "cliffhanger" was horrible plus one of the most interesting characters is killed/murdered. the affair going on during a bunch of the episodes really had nothing to do w/anything. who cares about that?? the concept is great. a carnival w/good and evil and the brother justin stuff was interesting but could've been so much more. a story arc should be 2-3 episodes and not 2-3 seasons. after the whole season sucking i was hoping the final episode would make it all worth it. there would be some big payoff. there wasn't...the show sucks.
posted by suprfli at 12:27 AM on December 6, 2003

I agree that the concept is strong but the payoff was ultimately very weak. I didn't need complete resolution on every storyline, and I don't mind cliffhangers, but I didn't really like the finale at all. It seemed, as did other plot lines recently, to be more gratuitous than dramatic. If there's a season two, I hope it goes back to its roots.
Did you sign up for a Carnivale email list, reality?
Nope. In the post I credited TV Barn, which is where I saw the link. I just thought it was interesting that a network was somewhat publicly asking for viewer feedback on a show -- even if that is through its marketing department -- rather than just making a unilateral decision about its future.
posted by realityblurred at 3:35 AM on December 6, 2003

Also? The acting? It SUCKED. And the writing was just terrible. I really wanted to like this show and watched the first four or five, and now I just want that time back. I'll do the survey, not for $50 but for a refund of those 5 hours.
posted by pomegranate at 7:50 AM on December 6, 2003

I agree with the general consensus here: good concept (and execution, in physical terms -- the Depression look and sound is great), lousy realization. My wife and I stuck it out to the end (being big fans of Six Feet Under, another complex show full of weird stuff) but probably won't let ourselves get sucked into another season; it's just not worth the frustration. I don't care how many "deep thoughts" they pack into it, it feels like a story that would fit naturally into four to six episodes that was forced by HBO to be spread much thinner so that it could be an ongoing series ($$$). Result: confusion, extraneous plotlines, and viewer dropoff. Too bad, because it had real potential.

one of the most interesting characters is killed/murdered

Make that two (apparently, although they may pull a soap-opera switcheroo), and they were about the only characters I actually liked.
posted by languagehat at 7:56 AM on December 6, 2003

I don't watch a lot of television, but I do give HBO programming a chance. I gave Carnivale about three episodes before moving onto greater, less hackneyed pastures. The show felt like a wannabe Twin Peaks, minus the textures and dark side of Americana it was striving for, then thrown into a Cuisinart with a heavy-handed approach. Almost like Stephen King at his worst. One of the worst things that any fantasy series can do is have clairvoyants and healers as characters. Unless done really well, this betrays the idea of the human condition, which is composed of flaws and fallacies, rather than omnipotent or omniscient abilities where characters conveniently know or sense everything. From what I could tell, the producers behind Carnivale were also fond of deus ex machina/Hand of God-like endings. (The little girl in the Radio Flyer wagon, magically healed, in the first episode turned me off immeausrably. As if you couldn't see that coming.)

Too bad. Because I'll watch just about anything involving historical reinterpretation of that time period or featuring the underrated character actor Clancy Brown.
posted by ed at 8:04 AM on December 6, 2003

I liked it. I want it back. I love Clancy.
posted by oflinkey at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2003

My best friend has been mailing me tapes of this show--I'm only up to episode 8, having just got the tape with the last 4 hours yesterday. I'm really enjoying it, so far. I love me some carnival freaks. And, uh, Clancy Brown.
posted by eilatan at 7:20 PM on December 6, 2003

What happened to K Street? Did ANYONE watch it past the first two episodes? It seems like it was a monumentally massive failure but I haven't seen anyone write about it.
posted by akmonday at 12:01 PM on December 7, 2003

Well, thanks to my job (and a wife apparently incapable of remembering to tape, plus a lack of cash for a PVR), I'll have to wait for it on DVD or such, then launch a cram session...
posted by Samizdata at 1:08 PM on December 7, 2003

What happened to K Street?

i thought K Street was terrible. curb your enthusiasm works w/a concept and not a full script b/c the cast is incredibly talented. K Street's "actors" mostly are not actors w/no impromptu ability. sitting in a room and talking over each other for 2 hours and then cutting that down to 30 minutes doesn't make a show. or at least it makes a show but a really bad one...
posted by suprfli at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2003

I am a Carnivale freak. Loved it. Watched it. Want it on DVD. I think management will resurect Professor Lodz. Loved Lodz. Worshipped Lodz. Want him living in my basement.
posted by StormBear at 8:54 AM on December 9, 2003

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