From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox television Carnivàle was an American dramatic television series produced by HBO. Created by Daniel Knauf, it stars Nick Stahl and Clancy Brown. It ran from 2003-2005.

Carnivàle is a period drama set in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It has an overarching story about the battle between good and evil as well as the struggle between free will and destiny.

At the beginning of the first episode, the carnival's manager (a dwarf named Samson) says:

“Before the beginning, after the great war between heaven and hell, God created the earth and gave dominion over it to the crafty ape he called man.... And to each generation was born a creature of light and a creature of darkness...and great armies clashed by night in the ancient war between good and evil.…There was magic then, nobility, and unimaginable cruelty.... So it was, until the day that a false sun exploded over Trinity and man forever traded away wonder for reason.”

This quotation offers a glimpse into the show's subject matter and framework.

The show consists of two plot lines that are slowly converging. The first involves a young man named Ben Hawkins, the "creature of light," who joins a travelling carnival when it passes near his Dust Bowl home. The carnival consists mainly of a freak show and a strip show (known as the “cootch show”), but it also has a few rides such as a Tilt-A-Whirl and Ferris wheel.

Ben has quickly come to learn that his nemesis must be stopped by any means, and is learning the full extent of his powers to stop the nuclear holocaust he keeps seeing in his mind if his nemesis succeeds.

The second plot line revolves around a Methodist minister named Brother Justin Crowe, the "creature of darkness," who, along with the guidance of his sister Iris in their fictional town of Mintern, California, is also learning the extent of his powers, and his visions regarding the farm boy he keeps seeing, who is his nemesis. He has gathered a strong following of destitutes ("Okies") who have flocked to hear him and his Father Coughlin-like ministries (minus the anti-Semitism) going out on the airwaves.

As the story progresses, the carnival travels west toward California and a confrontation seems inevitable. The westward movement parallels the movement of the "Okies" from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl years.

Hawkins and Crowe are linked by mysterious events in the past (specifically during World War I, involving their fathers), and they have been appearing in each other's dreams regularly from the first season onward, finally confronting each other at the end of the second season.

The show mixes much Christian theology and Gnostic lore together with concepts of classical Greek mythology and Masonic lore, particularly that of the Knights Templar.



While ratings began agreeably, by the end of the first season they were down significantly. During the second season, the ratings slowly rose toward the end; however, the show became increasingly expensive to produce at the same time. Many fans suspected that, due to HBO's tradition of carrying shows through to an end, and Daniel Knauf's six-year-plan, the show would be renewed, but in May 2005, it was leaked that the series would not be returning for another season. HBO confirmed that the show had been cancelled on May 11, 2005.

Controversy & Lawsuit

On June 9th, 2005 a lawsuit was filed in United States District court by writer Jeff Bergquist. Mr. Bergquist alleges that the creators of Carnivale did not originate the idea for the show but rather stole them from his novel "Beulah". Mr. Bergquist is claiming that HBO and Carnivale's creators violated his copyright on "Beulah" and is seeking both recognition and punative damages. The validity of his claims have yet to be proven.


  • Nick Stahl as Ben Krohn Hawkins, an Okie; Son of Henry "Hack" Scudder; Avatar of Light
  • Clancy Brown as Brother Justin Crowe (Alexi Belyakov), a corrupt Methodist minister; Son of Lucius Belyakov; Younger brother of Iris Crowe; Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya's father; Avatar of Darkness; Usher of Destruction
  • Amy Madigan as Iris Crowe (Irina Belyakov), Brother Justin Crowe's older sister; Daughter of Lucius Belyakov; Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya's aunt
  • John Carroll Lynch as Varlyn "Bird Dog" Stroud, an escaped convict; Brother Justin Crowe's searcher for and finder of Henry "Hack" Scudder
  • Ralph Waite as Reverend Norman Balthus (Deceased-Brother Justin Crowe), Brother Justin Crowe's righteous Methodist mentor; Formerly crippled stroke victim
  • Robert Knepper as Tommy Dolan, successful radio host who launched Brother Justin Crowe's "Church of the Air"; Under arrest for arson and murder
  • K Callan as Eleanor McGill (Deceased-Iris Crowe), an Okie; Devoted follower of Brother Justin Crowe
  • Time Winters as Wilfred Talbot Smith (Deceased-Henry "Hack" Scudder), occult advisor to Brother Justin Crowe
  • Glenn Shadix as Val Templeton, a councilman in Mintern, California; Brother Justin Crowe's candidate for congress
    • Matt McCoy as Ned Munson, another councilman in Mintern California; Assistant to Val Templeton
  • John Savage as Henry "Hack" Scudder (Deceased-Brother Justin Crowe), previous generation's Avatar of Darkness; Formerly the "Gentleman Geek" of the carnival; Father of Ben Krohn Hawkins
  • Linda Hunt as (voice) Management, or Lucius Belyakov (Deceased & Ascended-Ben Krohn Hawkins), previous generation's Avatar of Light; Owner of the carnival; Father of Brother Justin Crowe and Iris Crowe
  • Michael J. Anderson as Edgar "Samson" Leonhardt, head of the carnival; Former dwarf-strongman
  • Tim DeKay as Clayton "Jonesy" Jones, leader of the roustabouts; husband to Libby Dreifuss
  • Clea Duvall as Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya, fortune teller; Daughter of Apollonia Bojakshiya and Brother Justin Crowe; Former lover of Ben Krohn Hawkins; Currently exhibiting hitherto unknown powers: These powers seem to be like Ben's as she touches Brother Justin and the field around him begins to die
  • Diane Salinger as Apollonia Bojakshiya (Deceased-Suicide by fire), catatonic fortune teller; Mother of Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya; Could communicate telepathically with her daughter
  • Patrick Bauchau as Professor Ernst Lodz (Deceased-Ben Hawkins/Part-time possessing Ruthie), blind mentalist; Ex-head of the carnival
  • Debra Christofferson as Lila Villanueva, the bearded lady; Professor Ernst Lodz' lover
  • Adrienne Barbeau as Ruthie (Part-time possessed by Lodz), the snake charmer; Ex-flame of Henry "Hack" Scudder; Mother to Gabriel
  • Brian Turk as Gabriel, a strong man; Ruthie's son
  • Toby Huss as Felix "Stumpy" Dreifuss, manager of the "cootch show" (strip show); Rita Sue Dreifuss' husband; Father to Libby Dreifuss-Jones and Dora Mae Dreifuss
  • Cynthia Ettinger as Rita Sue Dreifuss, main cootch show stripper; Felix "Stumpy" Dreifuss' wife; Mother to Libby Dreifuss-Jones and Dora Mae Dreifuss
  • Carla Gallo as Libby Dreifuss-Jones, cootch show dancer; Daughter of Rita Sue Dreifuss and Felix "Stumpy" Dreifuss; Former older sister of Dora Mae Dreifuss; Widow of Clayton "Jonesy" Jones
  • Amanda Aday as Dora Mae Dreifuss (Deceased-Murdered), cootch show dancer; Former youngest daughter of Rita Sue Dreifuss and Felix "Stumpy" Dreifuss; Former younger sister of Libby Dreifuss-Jones
  • Bree Walker as Sabina Engstrom, "The Scorpion Woman" (ectrodactyly) of the rival Daily Brothers Carnival; Ex-wife of Samson
  • Matthew McGrory, as a giant
  • John Fleck as Gecko, a lizard man (Season One)
  • Karyn Steben as Alexandria, conjoined twin of Caledonia (Season One)
  • Sarah Steban as Caledonia, conjoined twin of Alexandria (Season One)
  • Don Swayze as the Tattooed Man, a symbolic representation of the Usher of Destruction found in Avataric dreams

Episode Guide

Season 1 (2003)

Episode Title Writer Director Overview
1 Milfay (Pilot) Daniel Knauf Rodrigo Garcia Ben Hawkins, a chain gang fugitive, is picked up by a traveling carnival after the death of his mother. A California preacher receives signs that he and the boy have mysterious powers.
2 After the Ball is Over Daniel Knauf and Ronald D. Moore Jeremy Podeswa A joke leads Ben to a piece of a puzzle that is his past; Brother Justin has a vision of a new church.
3 Tipton Teleplay by Henry Bromell and Daniel Knauf; Story by Henry Bromell Rodrigo Garcia The town of Tipton refuses to let Carnivale set up; Ben learns the price of his powers.
4 Black Blizzard William Schmidt Peter Medak During a dust storm, Lodz tests Ben's powers; Meanwhile, Brother Justin's church burns down under mysterious circumstances.
5 Babylon Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin Tim Hunter While the show sets up in a ghost town, Ben has a experience to remember in a mineshaft and one of the carnies is tragically killed.
6 Pick a Number Ronald D. Moore Rodrigo Garcia Samson learns the truth about Babylon. Ben participates in "Carnivale Justice"
7 The River Toni Graphia Alison MacLean Brother Justin learns of his past and his destiny. At the Carnivale, Stumpy is inconsolable over the death of his daughter.
8 Lonnigan, Texas Daniel Knauf Scott Winant Brother Justin is committed to an insane asylum; Lodz and Samson having a falling out about Ben's errand from Samson.
9 Insomnia William Schmidt Jack Bender Ben tries to drive off the torments of his dreams by staying awake, however he is extremely tired. Justin is released from the mental institution.
10 Hot and Bothered Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich Jeremy Podeswa Brother Justin returns to Mintern to make a new direction for his ministry; Samson tracks down clues from Freemasons.
11 Day of the Dead Toni Graphia John Patterson With management's blessing, Lodz creates a plan to reach out to Ben; Brother Justin's powers turn sinister; Ruthie dies from a snake bite
12 The Day That Was The Day Ronald D. Moore Rodrigo Garcia Ben meets management for the first time; As Ben kills Lodz, Ruthie comes back to life. Brother Justin and Reverend Balthus discuss his greatest evil; Appolonia sets fire to the trailer.

Season 2 (2005)

Episode Title Writer Director Overview
13 Los Moscos Daniel Knauf Jeremy Podeswa Ben goes in search of his father. Brother Justin finds the site for his new temple using recollections from his previous visions.
14 Alamogordo, NM William Schmidt Jack Bender Brother Justin and his sister hire a beautiful servant; Samson threatens to fire Stumpy; Sofie finds comfort in manual labor
15 Ingram, TX John J. McLaughlin John Patterson As Ben searches for the next link, Justin tends to his flock.
16 Old Cherry Blossom Road Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich Steve Shill Lila grows worried of Lodz's whereabouts; Iris tells Justin not to bear secrets.
17 Creed, OK Tracy Tormè Jeremy Podeswa Justin is pushed by Dolan to make a difficult decision; Iris gives an important dictation; Ben has a nightmare visit with a mask-maker.
18 The Road to Damascus Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich Tucker Gates The troupe breaks bread with another carnival and Samson makes a deal with an old friend named Sabina; Iris and Justin prepare for their most difficult sermon yet.
19 Damascus, NE Story by: William Schmidt; Teleplay by John J. McLaughlin Alan Taylor Justin and Iris placate Bishop McNaughton with a hearty breakfast; Ben follows his visions to a seedy hotel with Stroud hot on his tail; Sabina airs her dirty laundry with Lila; Libby and Rita Sue do some self-reflection; Iris displays her strength to Norman; the troupe worries about Sofie; Libby gives Jones special treatment; and Samson is distracted while Management tries to destroy a gift from Ben
20 Outskirts, Damascus, NE Daniel Knauf Tim Hunter Ben and Samson have a heated argument; Iris and Justin back a local politician; Rita Sue tries to play hardball with Stumpy's debt collector; Libby shocks her parents with an announcement; Ruthie seeks refuge in the safety of her trailer.
21 Lincoln Highway William Schmidt Rodrigo Garcia Ben and Jones learn that justice is "for the birds"; Ruthie's visitor leaves lipstick traces; Lila tries to reach Lodz; Sofie finds salvation in her work; Iris takes Eleanor on a picnic; Balthus misses a big chance; Stroud keeps the morphine flowing; and when chaos breaks out during a public speech, Justin shocks the crowd with forgiveness.
22 Cheyenne, WY Tracy Tormè Todd Field Libby struggles to stick to her alibi, buckling under the weight of Rita Sue's superiority; Jones goes for a ride with Ben; Ruthie delivers a nocturnal message to Lila; Talbot-Smith intercepts a near disaster for Justin and reneges on a deal with Scudder; Iris discovers a relative; Stroud increases security with his "Knights of Jericho," and Justin does some backseat driving.
23 Outside New Canaan Story by John J. McLaughlin; Teleplay by Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich Dan Lerner When Samson announces the carnival's next stop, Lila challenges his authority; Stumpy and Rita fear dark days to come; and Libby urges Jones to reveal a secret to the troupe. As Justin baptizes his converts, a new tragedy rises to the surface; Ben volunteers to stack firewood; Sofie sees a face from her past; Iris welcomes a chance to sponsor some fun; and Justin is startled by a development in the migrant camp.
24 New Canaan, CA Story by Tracy Tormè; Teleplay by Daniel Knauf Scott Winant (Series Finale) As the world grows smaller, Samson devises a grand plan; Justin forces Iris to face her fear of heights; Stroud wants to protect Justin; Sofie finds herself in the dark; Rita Sue is touched by Samson's generosity; Ben performs his most important healings; and the carnival once more shakes dust...

Genealogy of Scudder and Belyakov Lines

Family Name Description
Scudder Line Hilton Scudder Husband of Emma Krohn; Father of Henry "Hack" Scudder
Emma Krohn Wife of Hilton Scudder; Mother of Henry "Hack" Scudder
Henry "Hack" Scudder Son of Hilton Scudder and Emma Krohn; Husband of Flora Hawkins; Father to Ben Krohn Hawkins
Flora Hawkins Wife of Henry "Hack" Scudder; Mother of Ben Krohn Hawkins
Ben Krohn Hawkins Son of Henry "Hack" Scudder and Flora Hawkins
Belyakov Line Lucius Belyakov Husband of Plemina Belyakov; Father of Iris Crowe and Brother Justin Crowe
Plemina Belyakov Wife of Lucius Belyakov; Mother of Iris Crowe and Brother Justin Crowe
Reverend Norman Balthus Adopted father of Iris Crowe and Brother Justin Crowe
Iris Crowe (Irina Belyakov) Daughter of Lucius Belyakov and Plemina Belyakov; Older sister of Brother Justin Crowe; Adopted daughter of Reverend Norman Balthus; Aunt of Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya
Brother Justin Crowe (Alexi Belyakov) Son of Lucius Belyakov and Plemina Belyakov; Younger brother of Iris Crowe; Adopted son of Reverend Norman Balthus; Violater of Apollonia Bojakshiya; Father of Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya
Apollonia Bojakshiya Raped by Brother Justin Crowe; Mother of Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya
Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya Daughter of Brother Justin Crowe and Apollonia Bojakshiya; Niece to Iris Crowe

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