I'm Carlos Now is a 13-episode experimental American TV series that appears on YouTube and debuted on February 4, 2017. It stars Lawrence Johns, Paul Flum, Clarence Johns and Don Houvener. It was created by Lawrence Johns and Paul Flum based on Lawrence Johns' epic poem BEYOND EXILE. The series illuminates the poem through two competing timelines - the 1970s and the present. Radical theology is mixed with strong elements of multiple identities, confidence games, doomsday, and the psychological drama of Carlos The Jackal.
The series follows Frank Glendover, a young American in exile during the 1970s. Frank is a former agent who resurfaces 40 years later as the reclusive artist TEXAS RED and has suddenly gone missing. A private investigator, Mr. Green, has been hired to find and deliver him for a "commission that he cannot refuse." The 1970s landscape is depicted in a collage of grainy grayscale photographs and explained in Johns' poetic verse, while the present landscape is painted with actors in improvised monolog and dialog.
The 1970s Frank is self-exiled from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He leaves The States, and wanders through the UK, Europe, and Asia while meeting Carlos The Jackal at unexpected turns. The present day Frank encounters a con man who claims to be Carlos. As TEXAS RED, Frank spray-paints his personal "rocking TR brand" on the major figures of western culture.
The series is based on the epic poem BEYOND EXILE by Lawrence Johns. The odyssey of Frank Glendover starts as he walks through Sproul Plaza across the campus of UC Berkeley, to begin his exile from The States. By the end of the decade, we see that Frank encounters the terrorist Carlos The Jackal, and the two would "meet and meet again" before or after the killings of the Paris police detectives, the OPEC raid, and Carlos' escape.
The 13-Episodes record Frank's personal experiences around the world and his theological investigations. His studies include the works of the Greek philosophers, especially Aristippus, a disciple of Socrates. These studies inform the artistic content and style of TEXAS RED's paintings. He also extends the philosophy of will introduced by Friedrich Nietzsche ("I am a Nietzschean thinker!") and Arthur Schopenhauer. He argues with the American radical theologian T.J.J. Altizer, who famously declared the Death of God.
As Frank adopts his second identity as TEXAS RED in present times, he creates a metaphysical brand to dominate the greats of western literature, music and art. His paintings include Shakespeare, Dionysus, Picasso, and present day stars Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Tupac Shakur.
As his first identity, Frank is given instructions to kill Carlos. In the present day, he celebrates a New Babalon Working with Carlos. In present day as TEXAS RED, he invents the PAM comlinks ("which can take the best of humanity to other planets!") and possesses the doomsday trigger. The existence of the doomsday trigger was anticipated in the film "Dr. Strangelove."
TEXAS RED's artwork is used with permission of the artist, and appear throughout the series. The 1970s narration is a linear retelling of BEYOND EXILE bringing the strong visual elements of John's poetry to the screen. The meta-narrator reaffirms the reality of the narration by reversing it. Additional musical contributions appear with credit given to YouTube. Any relations to living or past historical characters, including but not limited to "Carlos The Jackal" are entirely fictional.
A major theme of the series follows Johns' concept of First Will, and echoes Patrick McGoohan's "Number Six" in the 1960s British TV series "The Prisoner" where individualism competes with collectivism and group think.