My Own Weird Little Hypocrisy

Despite not being a religious person (or perhaps I should say, more accurately, an areligious person), I must admit to an affinity for religious-themed thrillers. I just watched the premiere of the new HBO series Carnivale, and I’m hooked. There are still a few threads left only marginally explored, so they may drop the ball going forward, but so far, so good. (And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I did record the premiere of the politically-themed Soderbergh/Clooney collaboration K Street, but haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.)

Supernatural, conspiratorial stuff’s always fascinated me — hell, I even watched the old UPN series Nowhere Man until it became glaringly evident that the creators had absolutely no idea where they were going with their “conspiracy” — but for some reason the overtly religious stuff just strikes a chord. Probably why Alan Parker’s Angel Heart is one of my favorite films, and why I loved the ideas behind Kevin Smith’s Dogma so much (I even gave the Schwarzenegger crapfest End of Days a chance). I don’t think it’d be going too far to suggest that my fascination with Crowleyan mysticism derives from the same basic interest.

No, I don’t have a fully formed essay here, just a thought, but I suppose that no matter how much I reject the overall religious connection to the real world, the themes, stories, and characters are so ingrained in the unconscious, so archetypal that they’ll forever be irresistably compelling. But even without the supernatural aspect, the whole “religion as secret society” angle draws me in — as with Jean-Jacques Annaud’s adaptation of Umberto Eco’s astonishing The Name of the Rose, just to give an example (I’ll even enjoy The Godfather Part III on occasion).

Well, whatever the reason, Carnivale was pretty cool, and I’d say it’s worth a viewing — although I’ll proffer a warning. As my wife likes to say, it’s not DBF: “dead baby free.” In fact, just for good measure, it’s not even DKF: “dead kitten free.” So needless to say, Pam will be watching something else.


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