Carnival Row

Orlando Bloom is back!

Is It Worth Watching? Yes, if you’re into the whole fantasy thing.

Carnival Row is one of those programs which has a terrible trailer, completely off-putting. And that What do you want from me? song is not in the style of the program. But I urge you to not be put off, to at least watch one episode and if you’re not hooked I’ll eat my words. Women with wings, men with horns and Orlando Bloom. A recipe for success.

Carnival Row is a steampunk TV Series which reflects much of the immigration and refugee crisis that’s affecting most of the Western world. Although the pace is slow and it is a little self-indulgent in setting up the story, the suspense and atmosphere is enough to make you want to come back for more.

The Story

The story follows Vignette, a fae, who’s come to Burgue to escape from the atrocities in her own homeland, only to find that the situation of immigrants in Burgue is not that much better. Human beings are wary of pucks (horned-folks) and faes (winged-folks) and other various mythical creatures (centaurs, imps), and want them out. Then there is Philo, a policeman who is investigating a recent string of murders and has his own secret. The first series is a whodunnit which is intriguing enough, but the myriad sub-plots slow it down. Philo and Vignette’s relationship is complicated and interesting and so is the politics of Burgue. There is a touch of Vaughn’s and Staples’ Saga and more than a touch of H P Lovecraft. So if you’re a fan of the comic book, you’d enjoy this. And if you haven’t read the comic book, go read it.

Orlando Bloom

Gif: giphy

I’ve never been a big fan of Orlando Bloom or his inhibited style of acting. I once saw him on stage in David Storey’s In Celebration. He was awful. Needless to say, I was dubious of his performance in Carnival Row until almost episode four when he had me convinced. It might be the fact that he is more experienced now or the whole Cockney-accented-copper-act suits his style of acting, nevertheless he was very convincing as Philo, a lost man tormented by his memories.

Cara Delevingne

Gif: tenor

Cara Delevingne has so far been unlucky with the box-office performance of her films (Suicide Squad, Paper Towns) but critics agree that she’s not lacking in acting skills and she’s proven that in Carnival Row. Delevingne is the real star of the show. Her character, Vignette, is feisty, aggressive, temperamental, and pansexual. She makes for a good heroine who doesn’t need the man to help her and finds her own path, even if it is a bit self-destructive. And I love her pixie haircut.

The Romance

Gif: tumblr

There is a lot of sex and nudity and all the other stuff that you get warned about before a show starts. But despite the actors stripping off in almost every third scene, the love-hate relationship of Philo and Vignette stands out and so does the budding romance between Imogen (boring human being) and Agreus (a Puck!). It follows the tried-and-tested plot of both hating each other only to fall deeply in love, nevertheless you find yourself rooting for both of them.


Some of you clever clogs will probably figure out half-way through the program who is behind all the gruesome murders, but the build up of the tension is still worth the watch. It’s really this story line which keeps the whole plot afloat and delivers at the end too. You will not be disappointed. Until then listen to the haunting song above.

Carnival Row Season 2 has already been announced and will probably arrive in Summer, 2020. So go on and get up to date with it.

Similar Programmes: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Lucifer, Stranger Things

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