Carnival Row is a TV series that’s currently available to watch on Amazon Prime. It stars Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevingne, Simon McBurney, Tamzin Merchant, David Gyasi and Andrew Gower. The show was created by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham. Carnival Row is a neo-noir fantasy about different groups of magical creatures that have sought refuge in a town due to being displaced because of a major war.
This was a series that got my attention only a week or so ago and I really wanted to watch it. Carnival Row offered something different, it’s something new in the fantasy genre and that makes it very special. There just isn’t much of these types of shows being made. Even though we have a massive amount of new streaming shows available every month, it’s rare we get anything new added to this genre. I was excited.
When watching Carnival Row for the first time this week, I found myself very impressed with the production values. Sets looked high budget, special effects were great, with things like the Fae’s wings looking quite realistic. There’s also some nice attention to detail to the costumes and clothing of the various characters and for a show set in the past, this is very important for bringing the world to life. Amazon seems to have invested a lot in this show and it was worth it, things always looked good on screen.
The story of Carnival Row is very interesting. Early on in the show viewers will be introduced to the world of the Fae which are winged fairy like creatures. The Fae are currently at war and are losing badly, they’re basically being wiped out. One of the show’s main characters Vignette (Cara Delevingne), is a Fae and she is a character trying to survive in the new town. Her people are displaced and she finds herself in a human society full of prejudices against her people, most of the humans seem to dislike the Fae and another race of people that also live there known as Pucks.
The show is filled with a lot of different themes related to social class warfare, racial prejudices and war. It is at times a little dark and bleak to watch, but I found it to actually to be very interesting. The world of Carnival Row is one with a lot of lore and the different races have big backgrounds. There is much that is explored throughout the 8 episodes and I think now that I’ve read since finishing the show that there’s going to be a season 2, there’s a lot of potential to further explore the lore of the world. Much of the first season is focused on establishing the world and creating a setting for the viewer and it seems to do this well. I am very interested to see what more they can do next season.
I guess the only problem I had with the story and the show in general. Is that for the most part, with this show we really have two main characters. There’s Vignette (Cara Delevingne) and Rycroft (Orlando Bloom). In the early episodes, I felt very interested in the Vignette character who is a Fae and she’s got a lot of history to her character. This is explored quite a bit, but from episode 5 onwards, the show shifts its focus to Rycroft. I know this is for plot reasons, but the show I think needs to choose which character to make the main one. There was I guess only 8 episodes in this first season so what can really be done, I’m not sure. While I feel that in the end, most of my questions about Rycroft were answered, I was left wondering about a lot of things about Vignette which were unanswered and probably won’t be answered until season 2 comes out I am guessing.
The actors are all very good. Cara Delevingne was excellent as Vignette and I think this is probably her best performance so far when compared to her previous roles in other things I’ve seen her in. Orlando Bloom was also great as Rycroft and the two seemed well cast and well suited to the type of show that Carnival Row is. The other supporting cast members were doing great and in general, the cast in this is solid.
In the end, if you are looking for a new show to watch, Carnival Row is a show that I certainly recommend taking a look at. I enjoyed this one so much that after watching it for the first time last week, I was left with some questions and went back and watched all 8 episodes a second time and enjoyed the show just as much. At times the show is a little slow paced and this may put some people off and it does struggle balancing two main characters in its very few episodes. But the actors are all great and both Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom were fantastic. The story is also very interesting, with strong themes and a lot of meaning. As something new in the fantasy genre, I am glad it is there and I highly recommend watching it as it is now probably my favourite show on Amazon Prime and possibly even one of my favourite new TV shows in 2019. I am very excited to season 2.
If you want to watch the show and don’t have Amazon Prime, you can currently get a 30 day free trial which is more than enough to watch all 8 episodes. You can find that deal here.