Lovecraft Country has arrived and the reviews are glowing. This HBO series is inspired by the tales of H.P. Lovecraft and takes the monsters made famous by the author to creates a new series that tells of the very real horrors of racism in America.
The big question is, can Lovecraft Country compete with the other acclaimed shows that HBO has released? Judging by the reaction to the premie, the answer certainly seems to be an early yes. Don't take our word for it, here's a Lovecraft Country review round-up. The series is available on HBO in the US and Sky/NowTV in the UK.
Lovecraft Country seeks not to retell the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, nor is it an allegory, for nothing about American culture is hidden in this story. The racism, the erasure of that racism, and the impact of racism on Black citizens blatantly appear throughout “Sundown.” No, Lovecraft Country is fan fiction. Removing the detestable parts of the original text, inserting original characters into the narrative, and taking little jabs at the author for his ignorance makes Lovecraft Country a delight for readers fond of the author’s monsters, but not the man himself. Cackling, free, and mad, these are the horror stories Black Americans tell around a campfire, for we have always been fans of science fiction. But we’ve only been able to tell these stories on large platforms for the past 50 years. Lovecraft Country takes us back 80 years to open this era of horror to modern Black creatives.
By the end of the first episode, audiences will have witnessed skirmishes with flesh-eating, forest-dwelling, multi-eyed monsters, racist redneck cops, and white supremacists who cast magic spells, including one who believes he is a direct descendant of Adam.
That sets the tone for the rest of a peculiar series beaming with ideas (although maybe too many for its own good) — including an apparent supposition that whiteness itself is a superpower, at least from the perspective of Black people in a country with racism woven into its very fabric.
HBO’s Lovecraft Country will blow your expectations away... This show will mess with your mind, in a good way, while being both fantastic and fantastical. If your expectations were low, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If they were high, then you’ll feel vindicated, but not in the way that you’d suspect. It’s overwhelming at times, and messy, mostly intentionally so – especially when between-episode transitions feel so disjointed and tonally jarring that there’s virtually an anthology effect – but it never stops entertaining.
The season premiere of Lovecraft Country couldn’t have come at a better time. In a year marked by vehement public outcries against the entrenched, racist systems which uphold every aspect of American life with a life-changing election on the horizon, the newest HBO series from creator Misha Green (Underground) and executive producer Jordan Peele (Get Out) is here to entertain and confront in equal measure. Adapted from Matt Ruff‘s 2017 novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country serves up a potent concoction of sci-fi, horror, and some not-so-distant American history which makes it all the more timely and engrossing. In Episode 1, “Sundown,” we meet our heroes and the many forms of monsters they will encounter on their quest, some human and some, well, not-so-human.
Lovecraft fully integrates a noxious real-life history into its fantastical narrative — and reminds us how little some things have changed in the six decades since the story’s setting. But its goal appears to be to scare us into having fun, something it achieves about half the time in the five episodes made available in advance...
Lovecraft Country, despite its fully hourlong episodes, would be a good candidate for binge viewing — its verve and variety would help carry you through the slow spots, and you could hold the kaleidoscopic story in mind. On HBO, we’ll have to wait and see how Green and her collaborators, including the high-powered executive producers J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, carry it across the finish line.