The hit HBO series Lovecraft Country is a perfect case study for what can be achieved when one embraces the endless possibilities that comes with diversity. Blending horror, science fiction, and history together, showrunner Misha Green creates a distinct and mesmerizing family drama. One that will send shivers up your spine, but not always in the ways you might think.
Based on Matt Ruff’s novel, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), a soldier who served in the Korean War, who returns home after his father (Michael Kenneth Williams) goes missing. Teaming up with his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance), who works on a guidebook for Black safe travel, and childhood friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett), Atticus sets out across 1950s America trying to piece together the clues to his father’s whereabouts. As the trio begins to dig deeper into the disappearance, they quickly find themselves engulfed in a plot far bigger and stranger than they could have ever imagined.
Filled with fantastical adventures and ghastly creatures, it is a testament to the show’s storytelling that the scariest monster of all is the racism imbedded in America. As one observes Atticus and his family weave their way through the Jim Crow south, where passing through sundown towns or stopping by a diner could be a matter of life and death, the tension is palpable.
In not shying away from the constant threat of danger that the Black community faces, the show is able to masterfully use genre tropes to explore everything from the impact of Emmett Till’s gruesome murder to discrimination in the workplace. The layered plot and rich characters also allows Green to push the boundaries of what is expected from shows of this nature. She constructs a show that can effortlessly tap into Afrofuturism to covey the female empowerment one minute and use magic to highlight the complexities of race and love the next.
With so much symbolism and references weaved throughout the show, one will need multiple viewings to catch it all. Thankfully, the complete first season arrives on Blu-ray tomorrow, courtesy Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and is packed with engaging extras. While all the extras are worthy of diving in to, the featurette “Orithyia Blue and the Imagination of Diana Freeman” is one of the standouts. Offering a thought-provoking look at both the growth of two key female characters, Hippolyta Freeman (Aunjanue Ellis) and Diana Freeman (Jada Harris), and the development of the artwork in the show, there is much to learn here. Another great feature is “Lovecraft Country: Compendium of Horrors” which dives into the production design of creatures like the Shoggoth and offer insight into everything from their movements to the significance of their colour.
Easily one of the best shows of the last decade, you will want to visit Lovecraft Country multiple times.
Bonus Features: Orithyia Blue and the Imagination of Diana Freeman, Lovecraft Country: Compendium of Horrors, HBO Special Crafting Lovecraft Country, Eight Exploring Lovecraft Country Featurettes, Four Lovecraft Country The Craft Featurettes.