Carnival Row [6/10]

Rummaging through various fantasy tropes, the eight-episode “Carnival Row” evokes a Victorian-era world in which humans coexist with fairies and other non-humans. Set in The Burgue, a claustrophobic, evocatively portrayed city at war, a relentless police detective (played grimly and effectively by Orlando Bloom) investigates a series of hideous murders whilst trying to resurrect a fraught affair with a feisty fairy. Subplots involving the parliament of the city (Jared Harris is magnificent as chancellor) and an aggressive non-human arrival (very much addressing xenophobia and refugees) flesh out the plot. Some episodes ramp up the murder mystery angle, others flex the subplots. Although the climax offers no twist to the alert viewer, the final episode satisfies, and I recommend “Carnival Row” for those keen for rousing dramas in skewed worlds.

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