• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 14, 2003
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28

Where To Watch

Stream On
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Critic Reviews

  1. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Aug 2, 2013
    20
    Insufferable ... for the most part a stylish and incomprehensible bore. [15 Sep 2003]
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 65
  2. Negative: 4 out of 65
  1. Oct 1, 2013
    10
    Deep, extremely engaging story, very interesting art directing, Clancy Brown is perfect as the bad guy along with The Wire the best TV SeriesDeep, extremely engaging story, very interesting art directing, Clancy Brown is perfect as the bad guy along with The Wire the best TV Series I've ever seen. Full Review »
  2. Jan 25, 2013
    10
    Carnivale is --by far--one of the most epic, deep, and unique shows I've ever seen air on television. Watching this series gives one thatCarnivale is --by far--one of the most epic, deep, and unique shows I've ever seen air on television. Watching this series gives one that gratifying feeling you get after you've finished reading an excellent novel. The series was designed around the creator's plan to produce the series in three "books" --each "book" comprised of two seasons each. Though it was regrettable that the series was cancelled after only two seasons because of low ratings and high budget overruns (they insisted on only on-location shooting and refused a soundstage) the series gives a satisfying end to everything, since after two seasons, the first "book" of the series had closed. This is a series I really wish HBO would have continued simply for the prestige of this being one of the BEST shows TV has offered in years. If you're looking for an example of "television as literature" look no further. You've found it. Full Review »
  3. Jun 3, 2014
    10
    This show went completely over most critics heads. One of the deepest, mysterious, and engaging TV dramas of all time. Beautiful in it's lookThis show went completely over most critics heads. One of the deepest, mysterious, and engaging TV dramas of all time. Beautiful in it's look and it's characters. Different from anything that has ever been done on TV and most likely anything that will ever be done. I feel like these critics like many viewers, expected everything to be perfectly laid out in the pilot. They want to know exactly where the show is going and what everything means. Which makes it no fun at all if you ask me. This show had such great mythology and mystery. It was meaningful, More meaningful and deep than any show I can think of on TV right now. Do yourself a favor and don't listen to these negative reviews based off of one or two episodes. This is one of the all time greats. Full Review »