Home » CARNIVALE Comes to HBOGO!


by Jef Dinsmore
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UPDATE:  It appears that the episode will be available on March 27th!  Here’s the proof:


Carnivale_onHBOAs I was doing my routine digging around for HBO information to pass on to you I stumbled upon the following: CARNIVALE, the 2003-2005 dramatic series, is coming to HBO’s streaming service soon.

My facts come from HBO itself which states that “Coming Soon” to HBOGO are all twenty-four episodes of the craftily created dark fantasy series from creator Daniel Knauf. This show is so rich with its mythology and religious themes, its historical settings and its freak show weirdness that it is hard to describe. It is more than just a battle of good and evil. Some critics thought that all that heaviness is what muddled the plot not making it healthy for the mainstream viewer. Thus, CARNIVALE ended after a second season, even though it was storyboarded for a whole six seasons.


If you have never seen the show and have access to HBOGo keep your eyes peeled for its arrival. I suspect it will surface sometime in the next month or two. The main characters of the story are the inhabitants of a traveling carnival complete with a freak show. Some of the characters include Samson, played by Michael J. Anderson, who is the co-manager of the traveling troupe and Jonesy (Tim McKay), his right hand man and leader of the roustabouts. There are colorful and odd characters like a Bearded Lady, a Snake Charmer (Adrienne Barbeau), a blind seer, and a bevy of “coochie” girls.

But, as these misfits move from place to place, as reflected in the title of a majority of the episodes, they seem to be serving a larger goal than just entertaining townsfolk; they are allowing and abetting the Creature of Light and the Creature of Dark to meet in a showdown. Ben Hawkins, played by Nick Stahl has the role of “good” thrust upon him and Clancy Brown as Brother Justin Crowe, struggles with his “bad” calling. I told you it was heavy!


This just scratches the surface of the odd powerful series that is CARNIVALE. Again, if you have never seen it or wish to revisit it again than it must be in the cards for you to do so later this year on HBOGo. I hope to watch it again myself.

One last thought, I’m thinking, as I write this, that CARIVALE should be given its due with an HBO CLASSIC feature here on our site. What do you think? If some time opens up and the fates allow HBOWatch just might get that done.


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JAN DECHAMPEAU July 16, 2019 - 9:57 am


Jef Dinsmore July 16, 2019 - 5:35 pm

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but CARNIVALE was only two seasons long. The 12 episodes of the premiere season began on 09.14.2003 and the 12th episode of Season Two ended on 03.27.2005. As usual, especially at that time, the budget per episode was just too much for HBO to handle and that end brought plenty of unfinished plotlines.

We have all wished since then that the show would have continued longer.

LJ June 10, 2014 - 4:51 pm

Will we ever get Seasons 1 and 2 of Carnivale on blu-ray disc? I would love a two season comprehensive set with some retrospective bonus content from the actors and/or producers.

A real shame that the show was canceled.

Lastcookie September 3, 2013 - 6:37 pm

Loved Carnival! More please…

Mike September 3, 2013 - 6:30 pm

Give me a Carnivale feature on HBOWatch! I love this show and rewatch it to this day. I wish HBO would resurrect it because I think it would do even better today than when it originally aired, especially with all the Comic-Cons out there and the way shows are interactive with its fans. They could really develop Carnivale’s world further with specials and extras online. HBO has held the rights hostage and made it impossible for the creator Dan Knauf to finish it in other forms, such as the graphic novel HBO shot down or the movie to tie up loose ends. Give Carnivale its due and see if off properly, HBO. Play the two seasons alongside Game Of Thrones and I’m pretty positive its audience would latch on the mythology of Carnivale. I could die a happy guy if this show came back. I know Knauf and co. would love to see it finished properly. Come on, HBO! Let’s do it!

Jacob Klein September 3, 2013 - 8:08 pm

We did this one: https://hbowatch.com/a-look-back-at-carnivale/
Can’t promise much more than that haha! We may review the Blu-Rays or something if they ever come out.

mwilson21 March 5, 2013 - 10:25 pm

I love HBO Go, and since investing in a Roku I can watch the service on my TV instead of my laptop, which is great, but I don’t understand why a good number of their original series aren’t on Go. No John From Cincinnati, no In Treatment, no Larry Sanders Show, no Spawn: The Animated Series, no Tales From the Crypt, no The Kids in the Hall, no From the Earth to the Moon, no The Corner, no K Street, no Da Ali G Show, etc.

When it comes to their own original content, it doesn’t make sense to provide as much of it as possible (in order to increase the value of HBO Go itself, therefore driving subscriptions up). There is a fantastic collection of HBO original films on the service, but like original series, I think they should get their own section and not simply be placed among the ‘Collections’ category. Also, I just recently discovered their original web series comedies and plan to check then out soon.

So while I definitely love HBO Go, I’m a bit confused as to why so much of their original content (such as the amazing Carnivàle had been) isn’t in the catalogue. Sure, arguably (most) of their best series are already provided, but even their failures tend to be more interesting than most of what’s on television (John From Cincinnati, for example), so it’d be nice if their original content was more comprehensive (especially since their original content is the main thing that differentiates it from things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus.

Jacob Klein March 7, 2013 - 11:17 am

Great comment, thanks MW!

So I’m with you on this one mostly. I think it has to do with licensing on these old shows. HBO wasn’t “in the groove” like they are now. By that I mean they release the DVD/Blu-Ray/HBOGo a certain time after the show airs without fail. I think it probably has to do with legal/licencing stuff from 10 years ago, ya know?

But hopefully someday all of those will expire and we’ll see The Wire on Blu-Ray, and on HBO Go. I think it makes an HBO subscription worth SO MUCH MORE if every show ever was on HBOGo.

BUT they have to balance that with selling Blu-Rays.

I think as physical media dies you’ll see HBO Go grow and become “standalone”. At that time they’ll hopefully have all their old stuff.

But yes, licencing contracts from 10 years ago have caused many a headache for fans. Can’t confirm it as we’re just fans but I’ve seen it happen before. Just have to wait until they expire.

Jef Dinsmore March 11, 2013 - 9:56 am

It is surprising how tangled contractual agreements can get. They have got the be the biggest reason content does not see the light of day years after. That is why a majority of shows from the 50’s – 80’s aren’t on TV or some iconc characters in media don’t materilize on screen.
HBO and Time Warner evidently tangle with it as well.


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