Carnival Row

For today’s post, I would like to discuss how much I love the Prime Original Series Carnival Row.    The first season premiered in August of 2019, and fans of the series are still awaiting the second season.   This is understandable given the amazing production value, and fantasy content (it takes a long time to edit) as well as the spread of the pandemic halting production.   It is known that the second season has been filmed, and is being edited, but it is uncertain when we will be seeing it.

Now that I have explained a little background I want to talk about the show and why exactly I love it!   I do not want to have any major plot spoilers in this post, so I will mostly speak in generalities here.    

The series is an epic fantasy set in a fictional city known as The Burge, which behaves like Victorian London, only with full knowledge of several races of Faery beings.    The title of the series comes from the area of The Burge where all of the Faery beings live, as it is called Carnival Row!   Seven years before the first season a war had taken place where Burgish soldiers helped fight against a group known as The Pact.   It is during this war in Tirnanoc that a Faery (or derisively called a Pix) named Vignette Stonemoss meets a Burgish soldier named Philo (his full name is Rycroft Philostrate).

Vignette and Philo fall in love, and at the point where the series premiere begins, she believed that he was dead.   This is true until she is informed that he is still alive by her closest friend Tourmaline, who is working in The Burge as a prostitute.   Vignette had escaped to The Burge knowing there was nothing left for her in her homeland and is heartbroken to find out her lover faked his death!   The audience also finds out that Philo is working as a detective in The Burge.   This is an interesting way to work in a murder mystery aspect.   

It makes this a steampunk fantasy series with layers of mythology built into it!   I adore how they worked these layers.    Several subplots allow for developments that make some powerful statements!   For instance, how the different classes of Faery beings are openly discriminated against in The Burge.   Vignette even mentions that Tourmaline was a Poet Laureate in their homeland, and in The Burge, she is a whore!    Besides the Pix, who are winged faeries, there are also beings called derisively Pucks (who are Fauns) that play important roles in the first season.   Many other Faery races are shown in passing, but the two that play the largest role are Pix and Pucks.   There are even Lovecraftian references throughout the series, making the horror elements within feel even more Victorian!

I cannot wait to see what they do with season two.   We already have two great couples in Vignette and Philo, and Imogen and Agreus!   This gives a solid emotional attachment to come back to, and with the ending, there is a perfect set-up for the upcoming season.   It gets bonus points from me for utilizing references to actual Celtic myth and faery faith elements.    I also have to give props for using both the epic fantasy and the steampunk Victorian aesthetics in a way that balanced out quite perfectly!   I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy, horror, mystery, period pieces, dark settings, Faery anything, and naughtiness (it is an MA-rated show for a reason)!

For those who have not yet watched this series, I hope that I have convinced you to give it a try.   For any other fans, I hope this helps tide you over until the new season premieres.   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a poster from season one.    I found the image on https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/carnival_row.

Further Watching/Reading