- 19 August 2019: Tim Goodman for The Hollywood Reporter
Carnival Row mixes deep mythological elements with a creatively bleak, timeless setting (recalling the Victorian era) and contemporary issues of race, class, immigration and sexual identity. […]
Carnival Row has a strong cast and if you’re in the open-minded mood to see how humans, fairies and inter-species creations fight to get along in a dark world of magical realism and Jack the Ripper-era British police tactics — replete with political machinations, an otherworldly serial killing spree and disparate tribes of combatants — then this is precisely your stew.
The fine supporting cast includes Jared Harris (Chernobyl) and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) as a powerful politician and his scheming wife; David Gyasi (Interstellar, Cloud Atlas) as a rich outcast; Simon McBurney (The Loudest Voice) as a theater actor and key piece to a larger murder mystery; and Karla Crome (The Victim, Misfits) as a fae prostitute and best friend to Vignette. All give strong performances, as do Andrew Gower and Tamzin Merchant as brother-and-sister aristocrats with sinking fortunes.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)
- 27 August 2019: Allison Shoemaker for Roger Ebert
Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) […] finds herself and her contract in the home of the sniveling Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower), his petulant, marriage-obsessed sister Imogen (Tamzin Merchant, a series standout), and their faun housekeeper Afissa (Tracey Wilkinson). The Spurnroses have a mysterious wealthy new neighbor, who himself is a faun—the handsome, brooding Mr. Agreus (David Gyasi), who’s met with snobbery at best and hostility and prejudice at worst. It’s prickly. Luckily for Vignette, this is a city where you are bound to run into everyone you’ve ever met without much effort.
[Travis] Beacham’s world is richly textured […] and directors like Thor Freudenthal and Jon Amiel capture that texture, even luxuriate in it.[…] When the storytelling approaches the level of the world-building and subsequent production design, it can be engaging, even enthralling. […]
Each and every member of the cast acts their little hearts out, and each and every corner of this world could not possibly be more Carnival Row. Like many a silly novel, it is a shambles, but an enjoyable one, and […] you’ll be rewarded with a long, messy, and satisfying distraction.
(Source: Roger Ebert)
- 29 August 2019: Melanie McFarland for Salon
It’s a fable about refugees and immigrant discrimination written to reflect the crises and cruelties of our times. It’s a tale of clashing cultures and warring belief systems. But it’s also a Victorian-style murder mystery in which a Jack the Ripper-style killer is hunting unsuspecting fae. […]
Carnival Row is a visual splendor, make no mistake about that. Even when the setting is at its dingiest, its directors Thor Freudenthal and Jon Amiel draw the eye to the beauty in the muck, making the loveliest scenes glow all the richer. Of course the real test is how well the CGI sells the fairy flights and mid-air skirmishes, and it passes on both counts. The fae wings, when unfurled, are enviable. […]
The divided world of the Burgue is harrowing enough to navigate with a killer on the prowl. Then add in the drama’s array of subplots only loosely connecting most parties during the first four episodes of season one, and at times, keeping all the stories in order feels akin to sorting through entrails — though much lovelier, of course, and peddled by extraordinary actors.