Lovecraft Country — TV Show Review

Image for post
Image for post
Lovecraft Country Poster

The journey of Atticus, a black man trying to uncover the truth of his mysterious maternal parentage in search of his father through a perilous trip in 1950s America. He attempts to locate the ominous town of Ardham, which does not appear in any known maps with the last census of the city dating back to 200 years prior. There, he’ll come face to face with a society which will forever change his perception of reality…

The world of Lovecraft Country is based in 1950s America, at a time when racism and harassment against the Black population was at an all-time high. The movie has a huge emphasis on the hatred of the time and it forms a big part of the narrative. As Atticus tries to discover the truth of his mother’s past, every corner is rife with the white population trying to hinder his journey at every turn, blended with ripples of hints of a Lovecraftian undertone.

Image for post
Image for post
Yog Sothoth by TentaclesandTeeth

The primary characters of the show are largely linked to the same two families. They are extremely tight with one another and always support each other in times of need, despite the obvious drama and tension between the different members of the family.

Image for post
Image for post
Lovecraft Country Characters — HBO

The main character is Atticus (Jonathan Majors), who is united by his childhood friend Letita (Jurnee Smollett) after she travels back to her residence and meets her sister Rubi (Wunmi Mosaku). Atticus is supported by his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance). The two of them, alongside Letita, eventually decide to locate the mysterious town of Ardham to unlock the secrets of his past.

The only actor I recognised was Michael Kenneth Williams (The Night Of), who portrays the father of Atticus.

Image for post
Image for post
Michael Kenneth Williams (L) as Montros & Jonathan Majors (R) as Atticus — HBO

There is decent development between the characters. The series starts off with a tight-knit family, which is eventually and steadily torn by doubts and deceits leading to the opportunity for redemption. Each character journey carries their own trajectory which culminates into an interlocking story.

This series is separated into 10 episodes, as per typical HBO tradition. Without spoiling anything significant, Atticus discovers the city at the end of episode one. The subsequent episode is more about the secret society which resides in the area, with subsequent episodes becoming ever more fantastical over time.

Image for post
Image for post
Dreams in Lovecraft by Abbey Esparza

Alongside the main journey, there were also storylines which highlighted the difficulties of the life as an African American in that specific time period which did not hinder the main story at all. One story includes of a black woman who can change into a white woman and experience the different sides of the coin of reality. It was realistically depicted. There was a good balance between the realism and the fantasy aspects of the show.

Image for post
Image for post
Lovecraft Country — HBO

As a whole, the series was structured well. As to my current understanding, HBO Max has adapted the book in its entirety, so there should not be a need for another season. The TV show ends in a reasonably good place.

But in the end, it’s always “Follow The Money”.

In Brief:

  • Atticus tries to discover the truth of his ancestry.
  • It’s based in the 1950s America.
  • Racism and discrimination is a big part of the narrative.
  • There is a good balance between realism and the fantasy elements.
  • It becomes fantastical over time.
Image for post
Image for post
Lovecraft Country — HBO

My only critique is the fact that there does not appear to be a single good white character in the show. All white people are vilified in the show. There isn’t a single good one. In the same way the 1950s white population generalise and vilify the black people, the dialogue at the very ending of the series proves that this can also happen vice-versa. At times, I felt like the show was really pushing some form of a societal agenda, but the story in the end was largely enjoyable.

Image for post
Image for post
Lovecraft Country Poster (unofficial) by Brian Taylor

Also, the book itself had subtle Arabian and Islamic references which appears to have been largely ignored by the TV show. This was covered by Secrets of Dune:

Lovecraft Country: The Book of Names Explained | Protection Symbol + Secret Character

If you are a fan of the works of Lovecraft, this series has subtle references to his works, but the story itself is largely original. If you can watch the show with an open-mind and just brace yourself for an intriguing story, then it’s a good show to binge. Alternatively, there is always the book.

Disclaimer

This following statement discloses the presence of affiliated links in accordance with the Medium guidelines.

Update 02/11/2020 21:39 GMT —Included the mention of the absence of the Arabian/Islamic elements for the critique.

Written by

Writer. Reader of Novels. Video Gamer. Documentary Watcher. Tech nerd.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store