||After a leisurely debut season, HBO's stunningly creative cable-television series CARNIVALE stepped up the pace in round two of its allegorical tale of good and evil set against the surreal backdrop of a Depression-era travelling circus. By the beginning of the second season, carnival-roustie-cum-Christ-figure Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) has grudgingly accepted his destiny as a "creature of light" while continuing to search for his godlike father, Henry Scudder (John Savage), in a neo-Homeric odyssey that takes him from his demented backwoods clan to an eerily cloying maker of death-masks. Meanwhile, Ben's nemesis, the evil preacher Brother Justin (Clancy Brown), does his best to instigate an apocalyptic showdown via an increasingly powerful right-wing political campaign that invites obvious comparisons to early-21st-century neocon politics. When polar-opposite avatars Ben and Justin finally meet in the season's final moments, the result is one of the most terrifying, emotional, and profound climaxes in television history. Though it was unduly cancelled after the second season (the show was conceived by creator Daniel Knauf as a six-season story arc), CARNIVALE is an ephemeral gem that will undoubtedly become a cult favorite as iconic as that other benchmark of the dark and bizarre, TWIN PEAKS. This collection presents all 12 episodes of the unjustly shortlived series' second and final season.