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Trivia / Carnivāle

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  • Actor Allusion: A Clancy Brown character gets a powerup after decapitating one of his enemies. Hmmm...
  • California Doubling: Oh, so very much. No matter where the carnies go, it looks suspiciously like South Korea or some planet visited by Serenity.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Management is a Russian man voiced by Linda Hunt.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In the earliest episodes, Daniel Knauf intentionally kept Clancy Brown in the dark about whether his character was supposed to be the Creature of Darkness or the Creature of Light. In interviews, Brown has admitted that he initially thought it was the latter, as he thought Brother Justin's visions were proof that he was some kind of messiah (just like Brother Justin himself did). Though he eventually caught on, it made Brown's performance as a Knight Templar that much more believable at the beginning, as he genuinely thought that he might be playing the hero.
  • Executive Meddling: Lots. As Clancy Brown has put it, HBO was "uncomfortable with ambiguity," and so altered story-lines and characters to fit their needs. Brother Justin becoming all but pure evil in the second season in contrast to being conflicted in the first was because of this. Scenes where Justin was depicted as being more sympathetic were vetoed by the producers. HBO meddled quite a bit with Justin and Iris' relationship. They pushed for Justin to rape her at the end of the first season (which the writers did not want to do, hence the ambiguity of that scene), and then demanded that the show drop their relationship entirely in the second season.
    • Knauf was also forced to kill Professor Lodz at the end of the first season, because "someone has to die in a finale". Originally Lodz was supposed to be in the series until the very end (and may have even survived it, like Sampson). HBO also unintentionally screwed up Knauf's attempts to write him back into the show in the second season (see below).
  • What Could Have Been: 2001: A Space Odyssey's Keir Dullea was the second choice for Brother Justin.
    • Bruce Campbell and John Ritter both auditioned for the role of Justin.
    • Sofie's conception was originally meant to be consensual. Justin and Apollonia's orginal backstory was as follows (quoted from the Carnivale wiki): One night, drunk, seething with anger and lonely for company, he was drawn to a sign outside a row of tenements advertising "Palmistry and Fortunes Told." He entered the brownstone and there met Apollonia, a young Gypsy. Enchanted by her beauty, he agreed to a sitting, hoping the stories he'd heard of loose Gypsy trollops was true. For her part, Apollonia found the seminarian attractive, flirting with him as she drew his Tarot cards, ultimately seducing him into her bed. This experience was changed in the actual show to an act of rape by Brother Justin.
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    • Had the show continued, Season 3 would've opened with a Time Skip to 1939. Yet another jump forward would've had the last two planned seasons taking place in '44/'45, culminating in the Trinity nuclear test.
    • Lodz was originally going to return in the middle of season two. As originally planned season 2 would have consisted of two mini-seasons of 8 episodes each with a break in-between (similar to how Sex and the City was handled). However HBO changed their mind while the second season was already in production, and cut the order down to 12 episodes, and the storyline had to be abandoned. Originally the second carnival that our heroes ran into (shortly after Stroud torched them) would have had the mummified body of Lodz as an exhibit. Hawkins would have been put on trial, carnival-justice style. Just as Samson was about to pull the trigger on his revolver, Lodz would've tapped on the inside of his class coffin, leading to the revelation that he was still alive.
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    • Season 3 would have opened with Jonesy pitching in a Major League Baseball game and still being married to Libby, as well as having a son with her.
    • Season 4 would have ended with Ben eventually re-assembling all of the favorite carnival members together to fight the growing threat that was Brother Justin. The fifth season would have then dealt with Ben trying to prevent the creation of atomic weapons, learning why Sofie is called the Omega, having a child with her and having to sacrifice the child in the blast.
    • Carnivale and Deadwood's lackluster ratings were the first two data points of a trend that continues to this day. This lead HBO to misblame the poor ratings on the quality of the series, since they were using Sex and the City and The Sopranos as a yardstick. Rome and Boardwalk Empire got similar ratings and were considered successes. (Also, the least-viewed episode of Carnivale had more viewers than the most-viewed episode of Girls) If the number-crunchers had realized that the Sopranos numbers were an abberation unlikely to be repeated (HBO didn't see those kind of numbers again until season 7 of Game of Thrones), they wouldn't have been so quick to cancel Carnivale.


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