Humans and mythical creatures struggle to live together peaceably in the wake of a devastating war as a brutal serial killer runs amok in Carnival Row, a new “Victorian neo-noir” fantasy series on Amazon Prime. It’s part murder mystery, part fairy tale, and 100% wholly original, rather than being an adaptation of pre-existing source material. Small wonder Amazon has already ordered a second season of this lush and richly textured series.
(Mild spoilers below.)
Carnival Row is based on a feature film script by Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim), written when he was still in film school in North Carolina 17 years ago. He was working in the school library and found himself reading about everything from Celtic mythology to Jack the Ripper. All that fodder fed into a ten-page script for a short film about a constable in neo-Victorian London visiting a faerie brothel where a murder has taken place. His professor suggested the subject was better suited to a full feature, and Beacham worked on it in his spare time. An alumnus of his school forwarded the finished script to a few people in Hollywood, and it started winning fans. In fact, the script made the very first Hollywood Black List in 2005, an annual list of the “most liked” screenplays not yet produced.