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SYFY WIRE Original Video

SDCC 2019: Carnival Row cast on politics and fantasy


What happens when your city is suddenly invaded by fairies, fauns, centaurs and other creatures you thought only existed in fantasy books? Do you accept them, or cast them out?

Carnival Row sees politics like you've never imagined it. This upcoming Amazon series about fae who flee their war-shattered homeland for Victorian England takes a magical approach with some often divisive themes. Seeing tensions play out between humans (who have the upper hand) and non-humans (who are always below them in the hierarchy) might have many of us forming certain opinions.

"We find ourselves in the situation that we find ourselves in because we, at some point, stopped talking to each other," executive producer Mark Guggenheim told SYFY WIRE. "My hope is that shows like this can somehow get people talking again."

Guggenheim believes that discussing a fantasy show is a much easier way to get people talking about politics than raging on Twitter or enduring too many awkward silences. So does Tamzin Merchant, who plays Imogen Spurnrose, a snooty, entitled young woman who cringes when she finds out the creature who buys the most expensive house on Carnival Row is the lowest of the low — a faun.

"I think that maybe people could surprise themselves by watching the show without actually deciding on any of the issues before their guts tell them how they want to feel about things," Merchant said.

Horns and hooves are just not cool with some people, as David Gyasi, who plays the satyr (or faun) Agreus, is aware. The actor said that his character does something really uncharacteristic of a species considered the scum of the Earth — he buys a huge, expensive house, walks in wearing the most impeccably tailored clothes, and just sits in a chair on his own.

There are other themes in Carnival Row that give it its magic. You can't have a fantasy, even a noir fantasy, without that otherworldly feeling, can you?

"It's the themes of love, passion, sorcery, seductiveness… they're dressed up as pucks, they're dressed up as fairies, whatever," Gyasi said.

Keep watching to have a look at some of these creatures from the other realm.

This article was contributed to by Elizabeth Rayne.