REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (EPISODES 1 – 5) / WHERE TO WATCH: HBO, SKY ATLANTIC
Based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name, the Misha Green and Jordan Peele-developed Lovecraft Country is one of the most-anticipated new shows of 2020. Having been lucky enough to take a look at the first five episodes of this genre offering, let’s see whether this latest HBO series is worth the hype that’s surrounding it.
Without veering into spoiler territory or giving too much of the game away, the initial plot of Lovecraft Country centres around Jonathan Majors’ Atticus Black on a journey across the oft-racist corners of 1950s American as he looks to find his missing father. But racism isn’t the only monster lurking around the corner for Atticus, his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance), and friend Leti (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), for there are plentiful Lovecraftian beasts similarly waiting to rear their heads.
To put it out there from the get-go, Lovecraft Country is very much worthy of the hype that preceded it. While the presence of some stunning Lovecraft-inspired creatures could be the main drawing power to some, there is so, so much more going on in this series. From top to the bottom, Lovecraft Country has an absolutely phenomenal ensemble cast, but special praise has to go to leads Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Messrs Majors and Smollet-Bell are a powerhouse duo who anchor Lovecraft Country in the most masterful of ways, and names such as Michael Kenneth Williams, Wunmi Mosaku, Aunjanue Ellis, and Abbey Lee are all likewise fantastic when given their time in the spotlight.
One other notable element of delight from Lovecraft Country, is the sheer scope of what the show sets out to cover. From terrifying monsters, to age-old cults, to supernatural chicanery, to action-adventure quests and more, this is a series that so often varies from episode-to-episode – yet all while pushing forward with a continuing narrative, and with heinous acts of racism forever present.
Given the very real horrors of the world that have once more shown themselves to be tragically still present here in 2020, Lovecraft Country feels extremely timely. And in these first five episodes alone, there is more than enough on display to suggest that Lovecraft Country could well prove to be a truly special piece of television.
Lovecraft Country premieres August 16 on HBO, with the UK premiere following the very next night on Sky Atlantic.