Skip to content

Carnival Row

Vignette and Philo, before Philo got his ridiculous hat and his bad haircut.

When the “Carnival Row” series started in 2019, I ignored it because I misconstrued what it was. It’s fantasy. But because of the name, and because of the stupid hat that Orlando Bloom wears in the promotional photos (under which is a very unbecoming haircut), I assumed that the Orlando Bloom character was a carnival barker and that the series had to do with a bunch of dysfunctional people rejected by society who traveled with a carnival. I was wrong.

A second season starts this Friday on Amazon Prime Video. The first season is now streaming again, and I took a closer look. “Carnival Row” actually is the name of a rough street in an imaginary city that is a lot like a gothic, pagan, somewhat steampunk London of the 19th Century. The Orlando Bloom character, Philo, is a detective who tries to protect the odd people who live on Carnival Row. Philo has a secret (which is revealed in episode 3). Some of these odd people have hooves. Some have wings and can fly. The ones with wings are called fae, and they’re a lot like human-size faeries. One of the fae, Vignette (played by the very fey English actress Cara Delevingne), has a grudge against Philo (also explained in episode 3).

After four episodes (of eight) in the first season, I’ve discovered that “Carnival Row” is a good bit of fun to watch. The sets and settings are excellent. The cast, which includes Indira Varma, is expensive. If this series had better writers rather than writers who are somewhere short of excellent, it would be great. It’s the writing that falls short, with dialogue that’s just not quite good enough for the cast.

In short, “Carnival Row” probably deserves its weak Rotten Tomatoes score of 57/88. But when there’s not anything better to watch, it will do.

As for anything better, I am mystified why “The Last of Us” has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97/91. To my taste, it’s pure junk, nothing more than yet another lame zombie series, a useless genre that should have died twenty years ago. “Zombie genre” is a double entendre — a genre that keeps stumbling around and refuses to die. Yes, episode 3, which a friend persuaded me to watch, was completely different. But episode 4 (I won’t watch any more of it) went right back to the usual boring zombie nonsense. I wasted a lot of popcorn watching four episodes. Even perfectly popped Orville Reddenbacher with sea salt, real butter powder, and brewer’s yeast couldn’t make “The Last of Us” fit to watch.

Meanwhile, “Mandalorian” season 3 will start on Disney+ on March 1, a series that’s more than worth its popcorn.

One Comment

  1. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    Funny review. If anything I would have thought you would pop real organic corn from scratch using home churned butter from the local dairy

    Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *