Fantasy fiction often comments on modern time. It seems the new noir urban fantasy series Carnival Row from Amazon Prime is playing that card. Set in a Victorian world where magical creatures and humans strive to live peaceably side-by-side, the series confronts challenges of immigration, racism, and classicism through the lens of a gothic mystery. The visually stunning and captivating series comes to Amazon Prime on August 30.
Stars Orlando Bloom
Carnival Row stars Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) as a pair of separated lovers reuniting during a time of struggle and violence between races. After war shatters the peaceful coexistence of fae and humans living side-by-side, magical creatures have fled to The Burgue, the outskirts of a human city, living as immigrants in the slums. Bloom plays Rycroft “Philo” Philostrate, a human detective, and Delevingne as a refugee faerie, Vignette Stonemoss. Despite the bans on relationships between the races, the two rekindle their forbidden affair. They go on amidst the growing animosity to find a ray of hope in the darkness.
Magical creatures—including faun, trolls, centaurs, and fairies—have scraped together a rough life, living in human cities, growing in number as man invades their homelands. Here they are treated as second-class citizens, abused, exploited, and struggling to get by as more and more laws are tightened around their existence. Freedoms are slowly stripped away, fairies are denied the right to fly, and romance between the races is forbidden.
Meanwhile, new dangers threaten the already tenuous peace between the two races. A brutal serial killer is eviscerating magical victims in the streets, and Philo is determined to stop them and to cross the racial divide to protect the innocent.
Second Season Already On The Way
The setting is a gritty, neo-noir Victorian era, bustling with the steam and smoke of the industrial age. Teasers so far have shown a lushly designed and creative world, with rich detail and back-story, dropping viewers right into the midst of the established tension. It will be interesting to see how the first season pans out—and, based on early buzz, Amazon has already ordered a second season.
As members of the human community, Carnival Row costars Simon McBurney (The Borgias), as an eccentric traveling showman. Jared Harris (Chernobyl) is cast as the secretive Chancellor of The Burgue. Arty Froushan (Knightfall) plays a compulsive playboy and son of a powerful politician.
Also cast is Tamzin Merchant (Salem) as an ambitious young woman who turns to a wealthy fae to reverse her family’s fading fortune; and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) as the matriarch as a powerful family in the The Burgue; as well as Andrew Gower (Outlander), and Caroline Ford (Once Upon A Time).
Joining them as members of the magical outcast society are David Gyasi (Interstellar) as a wealthy faun who crosses the racial lines to try to move into high society, and Karla Crome (Under the Dome) as quick-witted faerie poet.
Where to Watch Carnival Row
If you aren’t an Amazon Prime member yet, they offer a free 30-day trial, and then subscription options include:
- A video-only plan for $8.99 a month
- Monthly Amazon Prime rate of $12.99, including all Prime benefits
- Annual Amazon Prime rate of $119, including all Prime benefits
Episodes can be streamed on the Amazon website or watched through any device that hosts the Amazon Video app, including Roku, Apple TV, Tivo, as well as smart TVs, gaming consoles, and mobile devices, either by streaming or downloading to watch offline.
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