Only a few days remain before the new Victorian fantasy series, Carnival Row, launches on Amazon Prime, and viewers are intrigued to find out what the brooding show will have in store. The show blends several popular genres, including fantasy, steampunk and crime drama, which puts it on par with series like A Game of Thrones in terms of potential audience interest, but will it deliver?
Given that it's going to feature a love story as well as some conflict between humans and refugees, who happen to represent Irish mythological characters, it may be a timely cultural comment that also banks on the current revival of myth and magic.
10 It Features The Land Of Tir Na NOg
The land of the Irish fairies, Tir na nOg, has been featured in several productions, from the Hellboy franchise to the lush animated feature Song of the Sea, but this will be a much more prominent focus on the land and its people. In this case, the inhabitants of the mysterious Celtic world are displaced as refugees following a great war.
Guillermo del Toro, who directed the first two Hellboy films, was originally a part of Carnival Row, which is probably why so much of the trailer feels like he had a hand in it. He's listed in the credits for one episode as a writer, but he was juggling too many projects to remain on board.
9 Orlando Bloom And Cara Delevingne Star
Both of the stars of Carnival Row have had plenty of years of experience in making fantasy, sci-fi and action films. Orlando Bloom, renowned as Legolas from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, will be Rycroft Philostrate, a war veteran from the battle between the fae and humans. The character is a detective in this new post-war world. From Kingdom of Heaven to Pirates of the Carribean, he's certainly ready for a world full of fae folk.
Delevingne is famous for roles such as Enchantress in Suicide Squad, the mermaids in Pan and Sergeant Laureline in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Although her forays into the fantasy realm haven't been as commercially successful as Bloom's, she is still a talented actress who may have found her biggest role yet in Carnival Row.
8 Rycroft Philostrate and Vignette Stonemoss Have A History
While it might occur in flashbacks, there will be no meet-cute at the heart of this story. Protagonists Rycroft Philostrate and Vignette Stonemoss are well known to one another, having been lovers in another life before the faery, Stonemoss, became a refugee in Philostrate's human world.
We don't know a lot about their relationship at this point, but we do know that he left her behind- or so Stonemoss believes. There may be more to the story, but we will have to wait until August 30 to find out. Given that it's launching the same day Netflix is airing The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, it will be a big weekend of binging for lots of fantasy lovers.
7 It's Got Lots Of Fantasy And Sci-Fi Cred
Carnival Row isn't coming from the minds of newbs to the genres it represents, but old hats from a variety of worlds in the same vein. There's an Arrow writer, Marc Guggenheim, on board, as well as Batman and Harry Potter creature designer, Nick Dudman. Pacific Rim's Travis Beacham is the executive producer of the series,
That may seem like a pretty wide blend between sci-fi, the DC universe and the Potterverse, but that's probably what a series like this one needs in order to succeed, given the number of genres and themes it crosses. Of course, we can't help but mourn the loss of one creative who didn't stay on for the series, Guillermo del Toro.
6 A Series Of Unsolved Murders Are At The Heart Of The Series
Make no mistake: this is not a romance. While there may be romance in the series, it's a crime drama that will be focusing on a series of unsolved murders that Philostrate is tasked with solving--at least, at the beginning of the series, that is where we meet him. Where it leads to is anyone's guess.
Given the Victorian era in which the film takes place, it's possible that we'll also see similar themes to series Sherlock Holmes. Other famous TV shows that have utilized this time period include Doctor Who, Penny Dreadful, The Alienist and Ripper Street.
5 Del Toro Wasn't The Only Person To Leave The Project
If Carnival Row has a Sherlock vibe, it's because the first episode was directed by Sherlock director Paul McGuigan, who was also behind projects like Teen Wolf, Luke Cage and Victor Frankenstein. McGuigan was set to be an executive producer of Carnival Row as well, but he was replaced by English filmmaker Jon Amiel.
Amiel, who wrote and directed the 2009 Charles Darwin biopic Creation, has also worked on projects like Hemlock Grove, The Tudors and Marco Polo, so he's no stranger to a period piece. Clyde Phillips, who worked on Dexter, also left the series. Both exits followed a scandal surrounding Amazon entertainment chief Roy Price.
4 Refugees Are Not Allowed To Fly Or Love
According to the synopsis of the series, the fae refugees, whose population only continues to grow, are "forbidden to live, love, or fly with freedom." Other series summaries have pointed out that there is intense hostility between the humans and fae folk, which makes perfect sense since one is the reason the others have no home left, or so it seems.
Early trailers of the show depicted Delevingne and Bloom back-to-back, wings fluttering between them, and it was difficult to see just whose wings they were. This may be an omen foretelling that they will have one another's backs.
3 The Affair Isn't Over
According to the show synopsis, the main characters will "rekindle a dangerous affair despite an increasingly intolerant society," which alludes to the tension between the humans and the fae as well as the possibility of laws forbidding their love. The star-crossed lovers between two worlds might end up being the main conflict rather than the ongoing struggles between their people.
If this occurs, we will certainly be seeing even more genres in the mix of the show. Given that the people of this world are already living in an "uneasy peace," perhaps their forbidden love will be what breaks the truce.
2 She Presents A Danger To Him
Is Vignette Stonemoss simply a displaced fae in love with a human, or will she become something more, maybe even something darker? The show's description states that she "harbors a secret that endangers Philo’s world during his most important case yet: a string of gruesome murders threatening the uneasy peace of the Row."
Is Stonemoss the culprit, or is she close to someone who might be? Perhaps she's not truly in love with Philostrate, especially if she believes that he abandoned her in her own kingdom. It's quite possible that she has something nefarious up her sleeve for her old flame.
1 It's Already Renewed For A Second Season
Amazon isn't waiting for audience approval with this one. It's already given the green light for a second season of the eight-episode show, so confidence regarding the show must be high. Whether or not it's the new Game of Thrones, it certainly features elements from several popular shows that may lend it likability.
Carnival Row is also supposed to feature plenty of creatures and special effects, which is a draw in and of itself. There probably won't be white walkers, but if nothing else, viewers will certainly tune in just to catch a glimpse of what kinds of beasties might show up on screen.