I was fortunate enough to get a sneak-peek at Lovecraft Country that released on Showmax this week. It is one of those series that just stick with you, that you have to contemplate and unpack. It leads you to introspect, but it is also a wild ride. It is without a doubt the best series I’ve seen this year.
Lovecraft… wasn’t he an author?
Yes! And it is similar in that every episode is a new fantastic quest reminiscent of Indiana Jones (see episode 4), classic haunted house tropes and occultist nightmares. The series is actually not based on his works at all, but on the 2016 dark fantasy novel of the same name written by Matt Ruff.
The novel explores the nuances and intertwined racism in the works of famous author H.P. Lovecraft in the United States, as experienced by Atticus Turner, who is a science-fiction enthusiast, and his family. This was a very specific time in US history, the era of Jim Crow laws.
What is that, you ask? These laws enforced racial segregation on a national and state level. They were put into place by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures in the late 19th century and early 20th century. These laws aimed to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people, and were abolished in 1965.
Just another racial drama?
No! Lovecraft Country is unlike anything that I’ve ever seen on television before. Horror-guru, Jordan Peele (from Get Out and Us fame) and science fiction powerhouse, J.J. Abrams (best known for Lost, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Star Trek, and Westworld) are producers on this show, classified as a drama, horror, fantasy.
Except for these big names behind the screen, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with actress Jurnee Smollett as the feisty Leti Lewis, as well as the male lead, Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman. These stellar performances, coupled with HBO’s incredibly high production value makes for one thrilling ride. Everything is shot beautifully, the costumes are breathtaking, the small towns are nostalgic and the city of Chicago shines.
And did I mention the opening scene? We kick off in the imagination of science fiction fanatic, Atticus Freeman, and what ensues is a whole Pandora’s box of references to classic science fiction. Think; War of the Worlds, The Jackie Robinson Story and more. If you are an H.P. Lovecraft fan, you’ll also see several references to his collection of short stories, The Outsider and Others.
The first four episodes of Lovecraft Country are now available to binge on Showmax, with the next four releasing on 6 October.