The concept of Amazon’s new show, Carnival Row, is one that piqued my interest. But then, I felt the same way about Bright and it had some problems in the actual execution of it’s ideas. But Carnival Row is a series, 8-episodes, so it has more time to build and explore it’s ideas. That seems like a positive mark in its favor, and so I decided to give it a try.
But first, I picked up this free Audible selection as one of my two this month. It’s not a full length novel, only just over 3-hours, so more of a short prelude to the new Prime Video series. It was pretty good. And more importantly, I’d say that it increased my enjoyment and understanding of what was going on in the show. It’s not required listening by any means, but if you liked the show or are thinking of watching the show, I would recommend it as a nice bit of background info.
Carnival Row: Tangle in the Dark. Tourmaline Larou lives an idyllic life of learning by day and partying by night. An aspiring poet, her future promises nothing less than brilliance. Then, Vignette Stonemoss walks through the door, and Tourmaline’s world is upended. As she struggles to understand the effect this stranger has on her, Tourmaline and her fellow fae face a looming threat from the human world. War is on the horizon, and their very existence is at stake. And Tourmaline will discover whether love will save her—or destroy her.
I think it would be interesting if this world were the past of the world in Bright. But this show is so much better done that. Plus, you don’t have all that Dark Lord mumbo-jumbo going on. There weren’t any orcs in the show that I saw, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Just an idea. But anyway, what was I going to say… oh, yeah.
We finished Carnival Row on Friday, it’s only 8-episodes so it didn’t take long, maybe 4 or 5 nights of watching. I have to say, I liked it. I checked the scores elsewhere–95% of Google users liked it, IMDB is giving it 8 out of 10. I’d agree with both of those. But what is the deal over at Rotten Tomatoes? 57% on the Tomatometer? I disagree and I don’t understand that score. It was better than that. I’ve seen far worse things get better scores than that.
So, where would I put it? Well, for starters, I think I’m going to move away from the 1-5 star system I’ve been using and start using a grading system based on how much I liked or disliked things. In this case, it’s a solid B+ maybe even an A-. But, off the record, if I were still going to use the stars, I’d give it 4, I really liked it. Or rather, I liked it noticeably more than most of the things that I give 3 stars to.
The setting was well done. The acting was good. The idea, while disturbing, is interesting. Costumes and make-up were good. I really liked the puck horns, both the way they looked and the variety. The pix wings look weirdly limp, but I’ve decided that they work a bit like a penis… mostly they’re limp, but when you need them they get hard. It’s a bloodflow thing. There was nothing in the show said about it, but that’s just my take on the wings. Sure, the story was basically given to us in episode 3 (I think it was 3), but It still took me until almost the end before I figured it all out. Also, it was at that point I decided I liked where we were going. Episodes 1 and 2 were a little off point, in my opinion. Giving away the story worked. It did not make anything less enjoyable. Everything doesn’t need to be shrouded in so much mystery that it takes three viewings to figure it out. I’ll admit it was a little simple, but it was well done. I reiterate, I liked it. And I’m looking forward to seeing more.
But before we go I’ve got to say, these poor critch! They start off in a bad place. Things get worse. And then at the end, it’s even worse. It’s pretty miserable to watch this kind of societal segregation and discrimination. I mean, this is not a light-hearted fairy romp through a blooming, spring forest. It’s kind of the worst.