|Based on||A Killing on Carnival Row|
by Travis Beacham
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Production location||Czech Republic|
|Running time||50–67 minutes|
|Distributor||Amazon Prime Video|
|Original network||Amazon Prime Video|
|Audio format||Dolby Atmos|
|Original release||August 30, 2019 –|
Carnival Row is an American neo-noir fantasy television series created by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham, based on Beacham's unproduced film spec script, A Killing on Carnival Row. The series stars Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevingne, Simon McBurney, Tamzin Merchant, David Gyasi, Andrew Gower, Karla Crome, Arty Froushan, Indira Varma, and Jared Harris. The series follows mythological beings who must survive as oppressed refugees in human society, as a human detective works to solve murders connected with them.
Carnival Row's first season was released in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video on August 30, 2019. In July 2019, Amazon renewed the series for a second season, which is set to premiere on February 17, 2023, and will serve as the series' final season.
In Carnival Row, "mythical creatures... have fled their war-torn homeland and gathered in the city as tensions are simmering between citizens and the growing immigrant population". There is an investigation into a string of unsolved murders, questions of madness of power, unresolved love, and social adjustments eating away at whatever uneasy peace exists.
Cast and characters
- Orlando Bloom as Rycroft "Philo" Philostrate, an inspector of the Burgue Constabulary, investigating a dark conspiracy at the heart of the city. A half-fae passing as a human, and veteran of the war, he sympathizes with the fae to the disgust of many of his colleagues.
- Cara Delevingne as Vignette Stonemoss, a fae and Philo's former lover who believed him to be dead following the war. She falls in with a group of fae ruffians known as the Black Raven while dealing with her complicated feelings for Philo.
- Simon McBurney as Runyon Millworthy, a human street performer and master of a troupe of kobolds
- David Gyasi as Agreus Astrayon, a wealthy faun (also known by their derogatory name of "Puck") shunned by Burgue high society for his appearance and origin
- Tamzin Merchant as Imogen Spurnrose, an heiress who becomes involved with Agreus to support her lifestyle
- Andrew Gower as Ezra Spurnrose, Imogen's brother whom she blames for mishandling the family finances and driving them into debt
- Karla Crome as Tourmaline Larou, Vignette's friend and former lover, Poet Laureate of Tirnanoc, and a courtesan at the Tetterby Hotel in Carnival Row
- Arty Froushan as Jonah Breakspear, Absalom's son who rebels against his controlling father
- Caroline Ford as Sophie Longerbane, the power-seeking daughter of Ritter Longerbane
- Indira Varma as Piety Breakspear, Absalom's manipulative wife who seeks to enshrine her family's legacy
- Jared Harris as Absalom Breakspear (season 1), the chancellor of the Republic of the Burgue
- Alice Krige as Aoife Tsigani, a Haruspex (or witch) in the service of Piety Breakspear
- Jamie Harris as Sergeant Dombey, a constable under the rank of sergeant known to harbor racist beliefs against the Fae and despises Philo for sympathizing with them
- Ariyon Bakare as Darius Sykes, Philo's old friend and a former soldier of the Burgue now held in captive luxury due to having been bitten by a Marrok (a type of wolf-man) during the war
- Maeve Dermody as Portia Fyfe, Philo's landlady whose romantic advances he frequently rebuffs
- Waj Ali as Constable Berwick, Philo's timid partner who nevertheless remains loyal to him
- James Beaumont as Constable Cuppins, a constable who finds Philo's interest in the Fae unnatural
- Tracey Wilkinson as Afissa, the "Puck" housemaid and cook to the Spurnroses
- Leanne Best as Madame Moira, the proprietor of The Tetterby Hotel, which she uses as a brothel
- Anna Rust as Fleury, a Pix courtesan at Moira's brothel
- Mark Lewis Jones as Magistrate Flute, the head constable in the Burgue who urges solidarity amongst his officers and frequently butts heads with Philo over his concern for the Fae's welfare
- Theo Barklem-Biggs as Cabal, a "Puck" malcontent seeking to bring his brethren together
- Ronan Vibert as Ritter Longerbane, Sophie's father, Absalom Breakspear's primary political opponent, and longtime advocate of Fae subjugation
- Chloe Pirrie as Dahlia, the ruthless Fae leader of the Black Raven
- Scott Reid as Quilliam ("Quill"), a "Puck" footman, unjustly dismissed by the Chancellor, who turns to radicalism
- Sinead Phelps as Jenila, Sophie Longerbane's "Puck" lady's maid
- Jim High as Fergus, a human servant in Mr. Agreus's household
- Erika Starkova as Aisling Querelle, Philo's mother and a once-famous Pix singer turned to the life of a scavenger
|First released||Last released|
|1||8||August 30, 2019|
|2||10||February 17, 2023||March 17, 2023|
Season 1 (2019)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Some Dark God Wakes"||Thor Freudenthal||Story by : René Echevarria and Travis Beacham|
Teleplay by : René Echevarria
|August 30, 2019|
|Vignette Stonemoss escapes Pact soldiers onto a ship with other fae-folk she has helped flee Pact-occupied fae land. A storm at sea leaves Vignette the sole survivor. The ship belonged to Ezra Spurnrose, who lives with his sister Imogen in one of the Burgue’s richer neighborhoods. Having lost a significant profit in the shipwreck, he expects the indentured Vignette to work as a lady's maid to Imogen. Vignette goes to Carnival Row on an errand, meeting her old friend Tourmaline, now a prostitute, who reveals Vignette's lover Philo is still alive. Now a police inspector investigating violent attacks on fae-folk, Philo realizes the suspect is a sailor. He tries to catch the assailant, but the man, before committing suicide, warns him that a "dark god" has awakened under the city. Vignette tells Philo that she knows he is alive. Imogen and Ezra are shocked to learn their new neighbor is a faun named Agreus. Absalom Breakspear, Chancellor of the city, faces strong opposition from his rival Longerbane. He and his wife Piety discuss their son Jonah, whom he warns not to visit Carnival Row.|
|2||2||"Aisling"||Thor Freudenthal||René Echevarria||August 30, 2019|
|A female fae named Aisling is murdered near the sewers. Philo learns Aisling was a singer turned scavenger, and asks a fae butcher to perform an autopsy, allowing a fae priestess to perform last rites. Imogen meets Agreus, rebuffing his advances. A drunk Ezra attempts to rape Vignette and she assaults him in self-defense; Ezra files a police complaint accusing her of stealing. Philo overhears this and buys Vignette's contract from him. Ezra tells Imogen they are financially unstable, and he plans to give the house as collateral to the bank to procure another ship. Imogen has her own plans, and writes to Agreus, reciprocating his interest. Vignette joins the Black Raven, a rebel fae group dealing in contraband and is tasked to steal a flag from inside police headquarters. She succeeds by blackmailing Philo into letting her escape. Philo meets Darius, an old army friend currently in prison. Jonah is kidnapped while visiting Tourmaline. Without a ransom demand, Piety suggests they consult a witch, who sacrifices Absalom's pet bear, Barry, and tells him Longerbane kidnapped his son. It is revealed Piety is behind the kidnapping, asking the witch, her family's loyal servant, to lie.|
|3||3||"Kingdoms of the Moon"||Anna Foerster||Travis Beacham||August 30, 2019|
|A flashback reveals Philo and Darius were soldiers with the Burguish army, occupying a fae village near a telegraph line. Sent to investigate whether the faefolk are a threat, Philo finds a library guarded by Vignette, who threatens him to stay silent and is ordered to keep a close eye on him by Mima. Vignette helps the Burguishmen fix the telegraph line across a ravine, where they are attacked by Pact soldiers who morph into Marroks (a type of wolf-man) using injections. Darius is bitten, turning into a Marrok which Philo promises to keep secret. Tourmaline and other fae seek refuge at the village when their home is attacked by the Pact. Tourmaline talks to Vignette, her past lover, asking what Vignette’s plans are with Philo after the war. Vignette confronts Philo about their future, and he reveals he is a half-blood orphan who had his wings cut off as a child to pass as a man. News arrives that the Burgue has ordered its troops home. The Pact attacks the village, and Philo asks Mima to tell Vignette he is dead, to protect her. In the present, Vignette tells Philo she will keep his secret, but their love is finished.|
|4||4||"The Joining of Unlike Things"||Thor Freudenthal|
|Travis Beacham & Marc Guggenheim and Peter Cameron||August 30, 2019|
|Finch, headmaster of Philo's former orphanage and his foster father, is murdered. Philo encounters the killer in the sewers after finding that it left the footprints of a faun and a trow. The priestess explains to Philo that the creature may be a Darkasher, a golem reanimated from various corpses with dark magic. To prove this theory, Philo asks the witch to create a Darkasher bonded to him, which requires her to sexually assault him in Vignette’s form to collect his seed. Distraught, Absalom agrees with Piety to take Longerbane into custody until he confesses to kidnapping their son. Agreus agrees to support Imogen if she helps him gain acceptance from her peers. Suspecting Vignette is an informant, Dahlia orders her to find the real informant or die. Tourmaline forces Philo to reveal the informant is Hamlyn, who tells Philo that a deceased member of the Black Raven named Wren was hired to dig up several bodies. Finding Longerbane on the brink of death, Piety poisons him, telling Absalom where to find Jonah. Vignette attacks Hamlyn, but he overpowers her and Philo shoots him dead. Dahlia promotes Vignette in Hamlyn's place after bringing her his wing. Jonah is returned to Absalom, but recognizes the sound of Piety's heels from captivity. Philo takes his landlady Portia on a date.|
|5||5||"Grieve No More"||Andy Goddard||Ian Deitchman and Kristin Robinson||August 30, 2019|
|As the Darkasher cannot be killed while its master lives, Philo searches for its creator. Over Ezra's objections, Imogen invites Agreus to a tea party with her friends, which proves humiliating when he insists on being treated as their equal. As Agreus prepares to leave, Ezra swallows his pride and permits him to stay. Afterward, Agreus gives him a check. Philo returns to the orphanage, revisiting painful memories, and meets with the assistant headmaster who reveals that Finch regularly traveled to the Tetterby for companionship. Longerbane's ambitious daughter Sophie assumes his office and declares her opposition to coexistence with the fae. Enthralled by her, Jonah grows distant from his family. Runyon's kobold performers are seized by the police and deported as unregistered pets. Philo learns the truth from Madame Moira: Finch was in a secret relationship with police coroner Morange who confesses that Finch knew Aisling in his younger days, leading Philo to deduce Aisling was his mother. That night, Morange is murdered in his home by the Darkasher. Jonah's former footman Quill joins a secret society of "Pucks" after their leader Cabal gives him a book to read.|
|6||6||"Unaccompanied Fae"||Andy Goddard||Stephanie K. Smith||August 30, 2019|
|Philo's fellow police officers become suspicious as he seems to be making no progress on his case. Jonah meets Sophie and learns she abhors her father's politics, but cannot afford to alienate his supporters. She tells him they are very much alike, but he is still under his parents' thumb. Philo tells Portia he is a half-blood and she ends their relationship and kicks him out. Vignette discovers her library is on display at a Burguish museum. Enraged, she accosts the patrons and is arrested for trespassing. During a procession, Quill witnesses a fellow Puck being beaten by an abusive foreman which Cabal offers as proof humans will never accept the Fae. Imogen accompanies Agreus to a charity auction where he impresses her with his wit and humiliates a haughty couple who insult her. Constable Dombey forces Portia to reveal Philo's secret. Berwick tries to explain Philo's theory about the Darkasher, which Dombey and the Magistrate are convinced Philo made up to disguise the killings. Runyon tells Philo that the late Mr. Spurnrose, an admirer of Aisling, let her stay at his house to give birth safely. Philo is taken into police custody.|
|7||7||"The World to Come"||Jon Amiel||Story by : René Echevarria|
Teleplay by : Peter Cameron
|August 30, 2019|
|Dombey hopes Philo will be killed by human prisoners. Vignette warns him and he fights them off. The witch warns Piety that she will die soon and that the police have the wrong man. Guilt-stricken, Portia tells the police she lied about Philo. The Magistrate offers to free Philo if he swears he is a man, but Philo admits he is half-fae. Dombey plots to have Philo murdered before trial. Hired as Jonah’s tutor, Runyon lambasts him for his lack of purpose, driving Jonah to accept Sophie’s offer to force his father from power. Furious to learn his father sheltered Aisling, Ezra tells Imogen that Agreus will cast her aside. She visits Agreus where they confess their mutual feelings and have sex. Cabal inducts Quill into his society by having him kill the foreman. Philo and Vignette reconcile and realize the killer is Philo's father who wants to rid himself of his half-blood son and has been killing those close to him to learn his identity. Philo is removed from his cell by Dombey, having been warned by Berwick of his plans. Instead of being killed, Philo is taken to a rural estate to meet his biological father: Absalom.|
|8||8||"The Gloaming"||Jon Amiel||Travis Beacham||August 30, 2019|
|Absalom prepares to kill Philo until his son convinces him that he did not kill Aisling. Swapping stories, Absalom promises to free Vignette, but a disguised Quill stabs him in his office. Piety reveals to Jonah that Sophie is his half-sister from her affair with Ritter and Jonah realizes his father always suspected he was not his biological son. Catching Agreus and Imogen sleeping together, Ezra tries to shoot Agreus who strikes him. Piety smothers her husband and inspects his liver, learning of Vignette's existence. The witch is killed, warning Philo that Vignette is in danger. Piety sends the Darkasher to kill Philo, but Vignette frees herself and stabs Piety with a pair of shears, killing her and her monster. As his mother's body has not been found, Jonah assumes the role of acting chancellor with Runyon as his chief advisor and deduces Sophie was responsible for the blackmails by convincing Piety that Philo, not him, was destined for greatness. Nevertheless, Jonah forms an alliance with Sophie. Agreus and Imogen take Agreus' ship to find a new home. In light of the uprisings, Jonah establishes a ghetto for the Fae, forbidding them to leave the Burgue or interact with humans where Fleury is shot for trying to fly away from the Tetterby Hotel. Embracing his fae heritage, Philo joins Vignette and the other fae in the ghetto.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by ||Original release date |
|9||1||TBA||TBA||Story by : Erik Oleson and Travis Beacham & Marc Guggenheim|
Teleplay by : Erik Oleson
|February 17, 2023|
|10||2||TBA||TBA||Sarah Byrd||February 17, 2023|
|11||3||TBA||TBA||Wesley Strick||February 24, 2023|
|12||4||TBA||TBA||Dylan Gallagher & Mateja Božičević||February 24, 2023|
|13||5||TBA||TBA||Tania Lotia||March 3, 2023|
On January 9, 2015, Amazon signed a development deal for the series which, at the time had Guillermo del Toro on board as a co-writer, executive producer, and director. The series, set to be co-written by del Toro, Travis Beacham, and Rene Echeverria, is based on a feature film spec script written by Beacham, entitled A Killing on Carnival Row. The company ordered three scripts with the expectation that if the series went into production del Toro would direct the first episode. On June 6, 2016, the production was given a pilot order with the previously announced creative team still set to be involved.
On May 10, 2017, the production was given a series order with Beacham and Echeverria still executive producing, and with Echeverria expected to act as showrunner. Filmmaker Paul McGuigan was set to direct the series. By this point, del Toro had stepped away from the project, as his feature film schedule did not permit him to stay on as an executive producer as the project moved forward. On November 10, 2017, filmmaker Jon Amiel replaced McGuigan as director.
In August 2017, Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne were cast in the series' two lead roles. On September 22, 2017, it was reported that David Gyasi, Karla Crome, Indira Varma, and Tamzin Merchant had joined the main cast. In October 2017, it was announced that Simon McBurney, Alice Krige, and Jared Harris had been cast in recurring roles. On November 3, 2017, it was reported Ariyon Bakare was joining the series in a recurring capacity. On December 15, 2017, it was announced that Andrew Gower and Jamie Harris had been cast in recurring roles. On January 30, 2018, it was reported that Scott Reid had joined the cast as a series regular. On October 8, 2018, it was reported that Anna Rust had joined the cast in a recurring capacity.
The series spent almost five months in pre-production before filming began. The series was shot entirely in the Czech Republic throughout 108 shooting days. Principal photography began in October 2017. Much of the work was done at the Barrandov Studios in Prague, while locations included the city of Liberec, the chateaux in Frýdlant and Krnsko, and at the Prachov Rocks (Prachovské skály) area. Filming for the first season concluded on March 14, 2018.
Production on the second season commenced in November 2019 but was halted in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. As of the first week of May, preparations for resumption of production were underway. However, by June 2020, Amazon had yet to resume production on the series. Upon production halting due to the pandemic, the production team were reportedly three weeks away from concluding filming for the season. Filming for the second season continued in August 2020 in the Czech Republic. Production for the second season again resumed in May 2021 in the Czech Republic to film the remaining scenes which involved Orlando Bloom, who was not available in 2020 due to the birth of his child.
On June 3, 2019, it was announced that the series would premiere on August 30, 2019. The second season is set to premiere on February 17, 2023, with episodes releasing weekly in batches of two episodes.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Carnival Row holds a 57% approval rating based on 68 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Beautiful, but bloated, Carnival Row boasts meticulously crafted mythology and luscious world building—unfortunately its story of haves and have nots simply has too much going on to create anything cohesive." On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Sam Brooks of the New Zealand-based The Spinoff noted that the premise of the show is "a mish-mash of influences and inspirations, from Neil Gaiman to Mortal Engines (the novels not the film)".
- Carnival Row: Tangle in the Dark – An audiobook about the first meeting of Tourmaline and Vignette
- Carnival Row: From the Dark – A comic starring Rycroft
- Carnival Row: Sparrowhawk – A comic starring Vignette
- Carnival Row – A roleplaying setting for the Cypher System by Monte Cook Games
- Tales of Carnival Row – A graphic novel anthology set in the Burgue.
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Hourlong neo-noir fantasy drama
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