A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Carnival Row is a mystery series with fantasy elements starring Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Cara Delevigne (Paper Towns) -- its mythical creatures like fairies are often placed in dark adult situations. The noir genre gives the show permission to dial up both the violence and the sexual content, so there's frequent gun violence, murder, nudity and simulated sex. Profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," and "damn."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After escaping a massacre that took the lives of many of her people, a fairy named Vignette (Cara Delevigne) resettles in a city neighborhood called CARNIVAL ROW, where she lives among various other immigrants who have been driven from their own homelands. Vignette connects with a human detective named Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom), with whom she had a prior romantic relationship, and the two of them combine forces to solve a series of grisly murders that may uncover a pattern of corruption bigger than either can imagine.
Is it any good?
Fantasy stories involving mythical creatures can often function as allegories -- about how we treat the environment, for example, or each other. Carnival Row makes a cursory attempt at allegorical relevance: it takes place in a refugee camp, except in this case the immigrants are fawns and faeries. But the show's attempts at topicality are entirely surface level, as Carnival Row feels more interested in achieving "prestige TV" status, attempting to justify its indulgences in graphic violence and sex, instead of exploring the nuances of its political allegory. The idea of a dark detective show taking place in an incongruous setting has been done before (see: Pokemon: Detective Pikachu or the unimpeachable Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and the best ones work on higher levels as well as just the surface.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy storytelling. Why does Carnival Row choose to tell a detective story about mythical creatures?
Detective noir mysteries tend to be about corruption. How is the world of Carnival Row corrupt? How could the murder mystery expose this corruption? How does it compare to real-life situations you've heard about in the news?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fantasy
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