From Producers Jordan Peele, JJ Abrams and creator Misha Green comes this new horror TV series Lovecraft Country, based on Matt Ruff’s book of the same name.
It focuses on the story of Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) a young former soldier who returns to the United States to find his missing father, Set during the 1950’s during Jim Crow era America. After fighting wars abroad he comes back home to a country that racially discriminates against Black Americans having to fight a different kind of war at home.
On his road trip across America to find his father Montrose (Michael K Williams), he is joined by his uncle George Freeman (Courtney B Vance) and old childhood friend Letitia ‘Leti’ Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), not only do they encounter supernatural terrifying monsters, but they also have to deal with the horrific discrimination and racism of 1950’s white America.
Lovecraft Country is entertaining, beautifully shot with wonderful visuals and effects but does not shy away from the honest brutality and violence of that era that are historical events that took place in the 1950’s such Sundown Towns which were used as part of racial segregation, expulsions and worse. It touches upon a good few different genres like a western/adventure in the road trip aspect, with the former soldier/Atticus returning to town like a gunslinger looking to fight injustice, and the horror anthology aspect exploring different self-contained stories similar to TV shows like an Outer Limits, Twilight Zone and Black Mirror.
The show keeps a focus on the seasons overall stories without stereotypical troupes told from the perspective of black men and woman during that era and the real horrors that entailed along with the supernatural.
It challenges stereotypes and as the show goes on you discover the eternal struggle including various characters such Christina (Abbey Lee), Ruby (Wumni Mosaku) and Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) will have to deal with regarding race bias, gender and social-economic standing. It really takes you on a journey that explores the darkness/goodness of the human heart, the oppression of that crushing an individuals spirit it, challenges certain troupes and flips it on its head, whatever your opinion or perspective on the stories being told it will release strong emotions you as they are very human challenges, if the ghosts of your pasts are not dealt with than they will haunt and consume you going forward as these characters will find out, while showing various perspectives from their own viewpoints with a certain gravitas and visceral intensity.
While entertaining with compelling characters this will at times be uncomfortable to watch, provocative, brilliant eye-opening, out of the box and horrific because of the brutal truths of the period and unfortunately the racism and discrimination still exist today. Atticus, George and Letitia are not only fighting supernatural monsters but also human monsters making you wonder who the true monsters are in Lovecraft Country.
I found it compelling how the real horror and fictional dovetail and makes you think about the realities of its era and how relevant it is for today’s audience and climate. I have had the privilege of watching so many quality shows since childhood to now, but never have I seen a show that digs so deep and goes to places with so many layers that will entertain, educate and shock your system in one way or another.
Lovecraft Country-Season 1 is available to stream on HBO Max, Sky Atlantic and episode 1 has been made available to watch for free.