Carnival Row Review

The first eight episodes of the much-hyped Carnival Row finally dropped on Amazon Prime Video last week, giving people a new, dark fantastical world to get lost in (read /Film’s non-spoiler review here). Fans of fantasy, noir Victorian tales, and Orlando Bloom will particularly enjoy the show, which creates an expansive and immersive world while also narrowing in on a mysterious set of murders in The Burgue, the Victorian London-esque setting where most of the events of the first season take place.

There’s a lot going on in the first season (arguably too much, especially in the last few episodes), but those that stick through to the end will be rewarded by some twists and surprises, including who (and what) is behind the gory deaths that Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom) is investigating. But perhaps what’s more intriguing is what remains unresolved at the end of the last episode.

Read on to get our spoiler-filled breakdown of the big moments from the first season, and what we can expect to see further explored in season 2. Naturally, spoilers abound below. 

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carnival row comic-con

Carnival Row has had a long road to Amazon. The project is what opened doors for its creator, Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim), who for a long time thought his original fantasy script would never get made. Things heated up when director Guillermo del Toro and Hugh Jackmanwere attached to make it, but for one reason or another, the script got never produced as a movie. But now, years after Beacham wrote the original script for fun in film school, it’s now an epic fantasy series starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevgine.

“The world here, brought to life through the characters we spend time with, is a rich one, and one that will draw viewers in and have them eagerly waiting for the next season,” Vanessa Armstrong wrote in her review for the site. A second season is already in the making, which Beacham told us a little about after he explained some of his rules for world-building.

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Carnival Row Review

It would be easy to categorize Carnival Row—the eight-episode Amazon Original series set to premiere on August 30th—as Amazon’s attempt to create a Game of Thrones-esque hit for their streaming platform. This categorization isn’t wrong, exactly—Amazon has clearly invested a large amount of money to make this a flagship show for them—but placing Carnival Row into only this bucket does the series a disservice. 

Yes, the new series is like Game of Thrones in that it takes place in a darkly fantastical world full of geopolitical strife and unnatural evils; and yes, like a certain HBO show, Carnival Row, with its graphic deaths (and innumerable close-up shots of entrails), nudity and foul language, is definitely not suitable for children. These similarities, however, are superficial at best. Viewers will get a different experience here—a more intimate one that reveals Carnival Row’s magically effed-up world through a cadre of unique individuals with varying levels of social status.

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carnival row season 1 trailer

After several enticing teases of the upcoming fantasy series starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, the full Carnival Row season 1 trailer is finally here. The trailer gives us a fuller look at the steampunk fantasy world of the Amazon Prime Video series, which follows Bloom and Delevingne’s two star-crossed lovers caught in a conflict between humans and mythical creatures. Watch the Carnival Row season 1 trailer below.

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amazon cancellations

Amazon Prime original series needed either fairy wings or a spaceship to escape the bloodbath of Amazon cancellations, as the streaming service axed five shows including Nicolas Winding Refn’s Too Old to Die Young and the Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen-fronted supernatural series Forever. But in the midst of Amazon’s ruthless cancellations, Carnival Row survived with a second season renewal, despite it being a month out from its season 1 premiere.

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Carnival Row Comic-Con

Carnival Row has had a long history, languishing in development purgatory before finding a home as an eight-episode fantasy-noir series premiering on Amazon Prime Video next month.

“I wrote this script in film school 17 years ago,” show creator and executive producer Travis Beacham explained at San Diego Comic-Con’s Carnival Row panel on Friday. “I did it as a feature film and I did it without a mind to ever sell it; it was just a sandbox where I could play. Ironically, it was the script that first sold, and it was the script that started my career…as beloved as it was, it languished for awhile until about four or five years ago when Legendary picked it up and suggested doing it as a TV series. The prospect of that was extremely exciting — in writing the world I had imagined so much backstory, and so much stuff around the corners and around the streets. If I had been writing it for the first time now, I would never had even written it as a film.”

Read on for everything we learned at the Carnival Row Comic-Con panel. Read More »

carnival row teaser new

Bright meets Penny Dreadful in Carnival Row, a new series from Amazon starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. The show is set in an alternate Victorian era filled with mythological creatures. In Carnival Row, a human detective and a refugee faerie fall for each other. Oh, and they also have to deal with a series of gruesome murders. Watch the Carnival Row teaser below.

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Carnival Row Teaser

Amazon is taking a big step into the fantasy world with their new series Carnival Row from Legendary Television. Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings) and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) star in the series, which takes place in a Victorian fantasy world and follows mythological immigrant creatures whose exotic homelands were invaded by the empires of man. The struggle for humans and mythical beings to coexist is real, and it’s about to become much more dangerous. Watch the Carnival Row teaser below. Read More »

Guillermo del Toro

Director Guillermo del Toro has spent a few years trying to get Killing on Carnival Row made. Written by Pacific Rim scribe Travis Beacham, the dark fantasy tale once had del Toro set to direct and Hugh Jackman attached to star. That iteration of the project fell apart, but over a year ago, the rights reverted to Beacham, and he and del Toro decided to develop the story into an Amazon series with the help of Legendary Pictures. Amazon has ordered the pilot for the show, now titled Carnival Row, in addition to a few other titles.

Below, learn more about the five Amazon pilots.

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Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro is building a carnival over at Amazon. Many years ago Pacific Rim writer Travis Beacham sold a script called A Killing on Carnival Row, and Guillermo del Toro was soon attached to direct. That film never happened, and other directors such as Tarsem and Neil Jordan flirted with making the movie, which is scripted as a noir-influenced fantasy mystery set in a city that is somewhat like London of centuries past. Now the project has been revived, but as a series for Amazon rather than a feature film. Read More »