Amazon green lights Carnival Row, a dark 'neo-Victorian' fantasy series. Despite some serious success as an independent movie distributor, thanks to titles like The Handmaiden, Paterson, and Manchester by the Sea, Amazon Studios has yet to really knock it out of the park, TV-wise. Though awards show veteran Transparent continues to draw attention to the streaming service's original content, Amazon remains at odds with rival company Netflix, which has thus far been much more successful with its original series.
Amazon is hoping to change their series luck, though, as the company moves to green light a number of new projects for their ninth pilot season. Among that lucky few is Carnival Row, a new show that's looking to offer a twist on the fantasy genre.
According to TVLine, Amazon has given the OK to Carnival Row, which will be showrun and written by Teen Wolf executive producer René Echevarria. Paul McGuigan (Luke Cage, Sherlock) will direct. The show's official synopsis is as follows:
"Carnival Row is a fantasy-noir set in a neo-Victorian city. Mythical creatures fleeing their war-torn homeland have gathered in the city, and tensions are simmering between citizens and the growing immigrant population. We follow the investigation of a string of unsolved murders which are eating away at whatever uneasy peace still exists."
Echevarria developed Teen Wolf for MTV, and has remained an executive producer on the show for all of its six seasons. He got his first screenwriting job by sending an unsolicited script to Star Trek: The Next Generation. After the script was developed into a full episode, he was offered a job as a series writer. Echevarria has also worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Castle, and Medium, and he co-created the USA sci-fi show The 4400.
If you're thinking that the synopsis makes this show sound an awful lot like a slightly varied Hemlock Grove or Penny Dreadful, that's because it does. Still, we don't want to cast stones before we've even seen concept art, so we're holding out hope that this series really delivers on the otherworldly creatures. Overall world-building will be what sets this show apart from any other modern fantasy series, the bulk of which are already set in England or Europe-like places and often deal with dark themes. Casting will make a real difference here, too, so we're excited to hear who signs on to this project.
We're not sure that this series will give Amazon the original series edge they need, but it will be interesting to see how it evolves. We'll keep you posted on more Carnival Row news as it develops.