Carnivàle is set in the United States during theGreat Depression and Dust Bowl. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching story depicts the battle between good and evil and the struggle between free will and destin, the storyline mixes Christian theology with Gnosticism and Masonic lore, particularly that of the Knights Templar.
Charlie Jade is a rogue private detective in a world dominated by greedy multinational corporations. While on an investigation, Charlie explores a secret desert facility. A massive explosion propels him from his own universe (alphaverse) to a strange parallel universe (betaverse). Soon, Charlie is drawn into a conflict that involves these two universes and one other pacifist universe (gammaverse) with unsuspected terror at its heart.