Carnival Row

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Carnival Row TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Fantasy murder mystery has big stars, lots of sex, violence.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some messages about prejudice and justice. 

Positive Role Models

Characters act mostly out of self-interest, though there are some vague gestures indicating that bigotry is bad.


Lots of guns and routinely dark and violent content. Fairies get massacred by soldiers, a dog-like creature gets strangled, there's a series of grisly murders.


Frequent simulated sex featuring male and female nudity.


"F--k," "s--t," "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters, including fantasy creatures, smoke and drink regularly.

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."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBigdog30 September 3, 2019

If you're looking for the next game of thrones keep looking

Okay so only seen one episode of this show but I still believe that it's a fantasy strictly for adults and from the start there's blood and Gore there... Continue reading
Adult Written bychirpycrcicket September 17, 2019

Best New Show Out There

I absolutely LOVE this show. The storyline is amazing and enthralling, the characters are interesting and their development is intriguing, the setting is absolu... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 18, 2020


It is very interesting although you feel sad for all that discriminated creatures and too much sex but I think the plot worths it.
Teen, 15 years old Written byKnowva Gale April 2, 2020

Good concept, but a little overboard

The visual effects are absolutely stunning, the show has a strong and engaging plot and deals beautifully with race based discrimination and problems with immig... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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