A sweeping epic that is both challenging and highly accessible, this one-hour HBO drama series focuses on the primordial conflict of good vs. evil, as played out against a pair of vivid and unusual backdrops: a traveling carnival working the American Dustbowl circuit, and an evangelical ministry in California. When a young fugitive named Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) is taken on by the carnival’s diminutive yet strong-willed manager (Michael J. Anderson), his undeniable yet unexplainable spiritual powers jolt members of the troupe, including a tarot-card reader (Clea Duvall), a bearded lady (Debra Christofferson), a blind mystic (Patrick Bauchau) and a head rigger (Tim DeKay). Across the country, in a small California town, preacher Brother Justin (Clancy Brown), who lives with his sister Iris (Amy Madigan), is being visited by visions that demonstrate his own burgeoning powers. As Ben tries to understand his special gifts, and as Brother Justin maps out an ambitious future, the two men are set on a cataclysmic collision course that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
The Emmy-winning HBO drama series Carnivàle returns for its second season with a story that brings the conflict of good vs. evil, played out in the dust-bowl era 1930s, to a hair-raising series of climaxes. As the spiritual powers of Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) evolve, Management exposes him to the cataclysmic disasters that await the world if he doesn’t identify and conquer his nemesis, Brother Justin (Clancy Brown). In order to do this, Ben must find his father, the elusive Henry Scudder, who holds a crucial link not only for Ben, but for Justin as well. Continuing to function as Ben’s cover from the law, the Carnivàle troupe follows his lead further west. Meanwhile Justin has employed a new “Apostle” to aid in his search for Scudder: a prison inmate named Varlyn Stroud. Justin and sister Iris (Amy Madigan) spread the word drawing throngs of weak and impoverished masses into their spiritual web. With time running out, Ben and Justin are thrust into high gear – and onto a collision course that will ultimately determine the fate of mankind.