Carnival Row

Madelyn Cottrell, Staff Writer

In late August, Amazon dropped a new original series called “Carnival Row” available to Amazon Prime users to stream. I saw ads for it on Orlando Bloom’s Instagram, and when I saw he was the one starring in the new Amazon original, I was immediately hooked. 

Carnival Row” takes place in a neo-noir post-war Victorian society where magical creatures and humans struggle to coexist in the Burge, a city that is semi-tolerant of the discriminated magical beings. The creatures are restricted from flying, loving, and living freely, but hope lives in the shadows of their struggles. 

The series’ leads are played by two of my favorite actors. Vignette Stonemoss, played by Cara Delevigne, is a faerie refugee who comes to the Burge after facing discrimination and violence in her homeland. Rycroft Philostrate, played by Orlando Bloom, is a human detective with a respectable reputation in the Burge. He has a complicated history with Vignette, and is one of the less oppressive characters in the series. Not to mention, his character is hard not to fall in love with. 

The series does take a dark turn a few episodes in, and it’s creative plot makes the unexpected twist more interesting. A series of murders breaks out in the Burge, threatening the relatively stable peace. Rycroft takes the lead in finding the truth behind the gruesome murders, but the truth is darker beyond the surface, and it all leads back to his hidden past. 

 I personally am a sucker for mysteries and fantasy type genres, so I was really excited to see a show that blended all of my favorite elements. It is really well written, and the characters are relatable in their own way. Carnival Row” is like a good book. It is hard to stop once you get invested. The season is 10 episodes long, with each episode averaging to be about an hour long. I got hooked on this show, and binged it all in a day and a half. 

The series covers several relevant topics in our society as well. It battles racism, oppression, segregation, and even brings an LGBTQ+ character to the screen. Vignette is bisexual in the show, which is not something commonly represented on the screen, especially not in lead characters. The cast of Carnival Row also has an extremely diverse cast, which is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other shows I have seen with a predominantly white cast. 

Carnival Row”is definitely a binge worthy show. Whether or not I would recommend it depends on the viewer. It played with my mind at points, and has some pretty explicit scenes. But, if fantasy-thrillers in a racist, post-war setting is up your alley, it is worth the watch.