Anyone out there seen the former HBO series Carnivale? It was suggested to me as (very) tangentially related to the course I'm teaching this fall, and I've just seen the first two episodes on DVD. Full disclosure is that I'm coming to it right after watching Twin Peaks through for the second time, and I'm afraid it pales a bit in comparison. The atmosphere is there in spades - there's mystery, an OK use of music, the same capacity to inflect ordinary objects with a sense of menace, and the use of the visionary in surprising ways. But Carnivale, so far, has a very tight tonal focus. It's useful for linking the simultaneous and presumably converging stories of a guy who joins this traveling carnival, and who happens to have power over life and death, and a minister preaching to migrants. It just doesn't leave room, so far, for a sense of humor. (Where is Kyle MacLachlan hanging upside down from a chinup bar, dictating to his secretary Diane?)
But Clea DuVall is really good, so I might watch a couple more before giving up.