TL;DR at bottom.
First a warning: This is NOT a show to watch with children.
If this was a film it would have a hard R rating. The sex and violence
is on par with American Gods or GoT. It looks like a fairy tale, but it’s
more like the original untranslated writings of the brothers Grimm.
Carnival Row is a beautiful world. Intricate, interesting, and a place you can find yourself
wanting to be lost in. If you like Charles deLint style of storytelling this is a must watch.
I just wish they had better gaslights. The show is a bit dark, both in story and in viewing.
The glimpses when it breaks through the dark are breathtaking. You want to explore
the universe independent of the storyline. The hallmark of excellent worldbuilding.
You wonder who you would be in the Burgue
The plotline is rather tasty, and the various understories and side/flashback tales
flesh out the world deliciously. The bad taste? With such strong cast members,
the writing fails in it’s dialog. While this might be a critique by a writer; it’s sometimes
just painfully cloying, needlessly vague, while at the same time having empty
exchanges. Writing jumps to physical and effects when a well written exchange
could be better. The cast can handle much more intricate or difficult dialog.
I wish someone like Gaiman or even deLint were consulted.
Carnival Row is still enjoyable despite this. It even plays on racial inequality without being
too heavy handed. It has the feel of the era it’s set in (in our world) and the problems
that our history has regarding race, in a different world design. It does feel a bit typical
Have’s vs Have Not’s at times. Luckily that’s used more as plot driving than diatribe.
Even so, do not expect anything new to challenge a discussion with others.
A good start. A nice layering to a world that can hopefully be explored more later.
It does what a lot of streaming first seasons do, set the stage for season two.
The setting is solid, players in place, and by the end the audience is familiar
with The Burgue. I’m ready for eight more episodes.