“Carnival Row” introduces a captivating new fantasy world


Kaitlyn Schafer, Reviews, Features. and Editorials editor

The Amazon original show “Carnival Row” created by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham is a story unlike any other. It is a melting pot of genres; mixing in romance, action, drama, and some may even say horror. It lays out a murder mystery in a world of fairies and other mythical creatures, while also delivering a healthy dose of metaphorical politics. Starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, “Carnival Row,” while overall fairly interesting, contains plots that are extremely strange and characters that are too predictable and underdeveloped.

“Carnival Row” takes place in a Victorian fantasy world filled with mythological immigrant creatures, called “Fae”, whose rich homelands were invaded by man. This growing immigrant population of the Fae struggles to coexist with humans in a city called The Burgue. A human detective named Rycroft Philostrate, or “Philo”, and a refugee faerie named Vignette Stonemoss rekindle a dangerous affair despite an intolerant society. Vignette holds a secret that could jeopardize Philo’s standing in his most important case yet: a string of extremely gruesome murders threatening the row. As Philo investigates further, he discovers a monster that no one on the row could imagine.

Old friends- Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne play Rycroft Philostrate and Vignette Stonemoss in “Carnival Row.” In the show they had to conceal their relationship due to an intolerant society. “The show was really strange but I like shows like ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘Scream Queens’ so I enjoy that kind of TV. I loved how it’s unlike any other show I’ve seen before and that it involved Celtic folklore in with a murder mystery,” stated senior Tori Blanton. Photo Credit: Wired

While “Carnival Row” contains a fresh story that is for the most part fantastically written, there were some side plots that could have been slightly changed or left out entirely. This mainly comes from the complete and total weirdness of some of the show’s characters and the decisions they make. Although some TV watchers welcome and rather prefer strange shows, “Carnival Row” may just have gone a tad overboard. Most of the oddness is appreciated, but over time it became too much.

The primary setting of this show is in The Burgue, an old, dirty, and crowded city that happens to be the capital of the humans’ home country; The Republic of the Burgue. It looks as if the location were based on London in the 1800s; however, the vibe of this location is anything but a cup of tea. The city is exceptionally dark and sinister which works fantastically with the story’s murder mystery aspect. It is because of this that also helps make the scary scenes in the show even scarier such as the scenes with the so-called “Darkasher.”

The costumes and makeup are nothing short of spectacular. The fancy, high-class Victorian Era fashion is incorporated into the story through characters like Imogen and Ezra Spurnrose, as well as new, gorgeous fashions created for some of the Fae characters. The makeup is just as fantastic, if not more so. For a show like this that contains horned men, faeries and other creatures, the makeup is vital to making audiences interested in what their watching; “Carnival Row” did just this.

A majority of the characters like Vignette, Philo, Runyun Millworthy and more are well-developed and interesting characters, but the same can not be said for all. A fraction of the other characters were extremely predictable and not as developed as they could have been and the other fraction were just too strange to remotely like.

Although “Carnival Row” had a unique and creative story that was interesting and a joy to watch, it also had its downfalls; many scenes were too weird, awkward and laughable even and many of its characters were predictable and hard to like. “Carnival Row” would get a 3.5-star rating out of 5.

“Carnival Row” was released on Aug. 30 and is available to all Amazon Prime members on Amazon Prime Video.