Carnival Row? More like Carnival No.
I know it’s already been renewed for a second season, but unless they change showrunners and get a new writing team that learns from their mistakes, I will be surprised if Carnival Row makes it a third.
This is a show I wanted to like. This is a show I should like. One part fantasy, one part Victorian era murder mystery, one part political allegory should all be up my alley. Plus, Amazon obviously spent a ton of money on it, so everything looks great.
But I didn't.
I pretty much hated it.
Here’s the problems:
* From the trailer and the premise, you think this will be exciting. It’s not. Even though it’s only 8 episodes, the whole thing is a tedious slog that had me watching the clock. Fantasy should always feel otherworldly and fantastical. This show gets too bogged down in the grim and the grime. So the whole thing just feels like depressing work and becomes aching dull.
* Somehow the world-building manages to be both complex and yet underdeveloped. So while you’re getting hit with tons of exposition, you’re also left scratching your head, wondering how does this work? Why is that like this?
* The love story between Philo and Vignette doesn’t work and also makes little sense (a cookie to whoever can explain why he had people tell her had had died during the war). (Also their love scene was one of the worst sex scenes I’ve seen since Showgirls).
* I called Philo’s secret almost immediately.
* No one should be more into the politics/class struggle angle more than me. The problem is none of it is clearly explained or very well developed and it’s just kind of nebulous and there. The racism is given no basis or grounded in anything other a very simplistic and very childish—because they’re different.
* The show tries to pack too much in without developing any of it. Some of the most interesting characters get virtually no time.
* Other than coming from money and having been a model at one time, I do not understand why Cara Delavigne continues to get acting jobs, because she is all around terrible in everything I’ve seen her in.
And this is no different.
* Orlando Bloom is not cut out to be a leading man. He’s just doesn’t have the acting chops or the charisma. He’s a supporting actor at best. And unfortunately, this entire series hangs on him and his character.
* I literally do not care about what happens next.
* The best thing I can say about the show is at least the writers resolved the main plot.