Every year, there are television casualties that leave viewers with cliffhangers that will never be solved. HBO knows this all too well. While the buzz for it's latest science fiction show, Westworld, is growing, many are recalling another HBO show that had viewers entranced called Carnivàle. Caution: spoiler alerts ahead.

An amazing concept

Carnivàle was the ambitious series where the Bible met the circus. It sounds like a strange concept, but it was brilliant in it's creation.

It pitted Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl), a young boy/Christ figure who is adopted into the circus and is hiding a world changing secret ability, vs. Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown), a rising leader in the ministry world who isn't so saintly.


The two waged a secret battle of good versus evil unbeknownst to the other carnies and to the pair themselves for a time.

This was a good, if not great show, and right when it reached it's climax--when the other carnies started to discover Ben's healing powers--the show was cancelled before its third season. It left so many cliffhangers like what will happen with Ben and Sophie (Clea DuVall) now that we know she's the Omega? Is Justin really dead? How is the show going to progress now that everybody is finally aware of their purpose?

It was a frustrating end and for fans it's still frustrating 11 years later. With the X-Files, 24 and Prison Break joining the ranks of rebooted shows, it's a wonder why no one has thought of rebooting Carnivàle. Clearly, there's a need for a show with a high arching story line, otherwise HBO wouldn't be tackling Westworld, but does it mean that there's still hope for a new series? That would depend on the factors surrounding the cancellation.

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Carnivàle vs. Westworld

The story goes that Carnivàle was cancelled because the network couldn't sustain its more than $2 million per episode budget, but it's location is familiar to Westworld. Carnivàle was set during the Great Depression whereas Westworld is set in the American Old West. Both locations have a dust bowl-like quality to them and require period costumes. Westworld, however, has to switch between at least two worlds, if not four--depending on whether or not HBO will include Roman World and Medieval World like the original film. So if you're talking about budget, Westworld's budget is going to be astounding. While there might not be room for two high concept sci-fi/mystery shows on one network, maybe HBO could do a limited series or possibly a TV movie, just to catch up with the cast and provide some sort of closure for fans. It might be good to see Ben, Justin and Sophie 11 years later.