Lovecraft Country (TV series)

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Lovecraft Country
Lovecraft Country (TV series).jpg
Genre
Based onLovecraft Country
by Matt Ruff
Developed byMisha Green
Starring
Music byLaura Karpman and Raphael Saadiq
Ending theme"Sinnerman" by Alice Smith
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Christina Varotsis
  • Dana Robin
Cinematography
Editor(s)
  • Marta Evry
  • Chris Wyatt
  • Joel T. Pashby
  • Bjørn T. Myrholt
  • Ian S. Tan
  • Sean Albertson
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time53–68 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkHBO
Original releaseAugust 16, 2020 (2020-08-16) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Lovecraft Country is an American horror drama television series developed by Misha Green based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. Starring Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, it premiered on August 16, 2020, on HBO.[2] The series is produced by Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, and Warner Bros. Television Studios.

The series is about a young black man who travels across the segregated 1950s United States in search of his missing father, learning of dark secrets plaguing a town on which famous horror writer H. P. Lovecraft supposedly based the location of many of his fictional tales.

Premise[edit]

Lovecraft Country follows "Atticus Freeman as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback".[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Jurnee Smollett as Letitia "Leti" Lewis[4]
  • Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman,[4] a young man who served in the Korean War.
  • Aunjanue Ellis as Hippolyta Freeman, Atticus' aunt and a star-gazer with an itch for adventure.[4]
  • Courtney B. Vance as George Freeman, Atticus' warm, funny and well-read uncle.[4]
  • Wunmi Mosaku as Ruby Baptiste, Leti's older half-sister.[4]
  • Abbey Lee as Christina Braithwhite, the sole daughter of the leader of a secret society.[4]
  • Jamie Chung as Ji-Ah, a seemingly naive nursing student who is more than she seems.
  • Jada Harris as Diana Freeman,[4] George and Hippolyta's daughter.
  • Michael K. Williams as Montrose Freeman, Atticus' hard-headed and secretive father.[4]

Recurring[edit]

Guest[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byTeleplay by [5]Original air date [6]U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Sundown"Yann DemangeMisha GreenAugust 16, 2020 (2020-08-16)0.760[7]
After arriving in Chicago, Korean War veteran Atticus Freeman discovers a letter from his missing father, Montrose, inviting him to discover his family legacy in Ardham, Massachusetts. Atticus, his uncle George (who writes a Green Book-style Black travel guide), and his friend Leti set off on a road trip to Devon county, which was settled in the 17th century by a strange group of English settlers. A group of murderous white men chase them out of the first town they stop in, but they escape thanks to the intervention of an unknown white woman, who somehow causes the mob's car to flip over. Soon after, they encounter the Devon county's racist sheriff, Eustice Hunt, who is eager to enforce a sundown law. Just after sunset, the sheriff's deputies force the travelers into the woods with the intent to lynch them, but the entire group is attacked by vicious monsters. Atticus, George and Leti fight their way out, while the police officers perish. The monsters are called away by a whistle. In the morning, the trio stumbles out of the woods to find an enormous mansion, where they are welcomed by a mysterious white man, William, who greets them warmly.
2"Whitey's on the Moon"Daniel SackheimMisha GreenAugust 23, 2020 (2020-08-23)0.867[8]
William explains that the mansion is Ardham Lodge, designed by Titus Braithwhite, a slave trader and the founder of an occult secret society of wizards called the Sons of Adam. George realizes that Atticus is a descendant (through implied rape) of Titus and thus a premier member of the Sons. Because of this powerful heritage, Samuel Braithwhite, the current owner of the Lodge and leader of the Sons, plans to use – and potentially sacrifice – Atticus in an upcoming ritual. The white woman who helped the group earlier is revealed to be Samuel's daughter, Christina, who has a whistle that controls the monsters. After telling Atticus that not all white people are bad, she traps the travelers in their respective rooms with magic force fields. They eventually break out and rescue Montrose, who George had earlier deduced was being held captive in a nearby village. Samuel stops them, shooting and killing Leti and seriously wounding George. Atticus agrees to cooperate in the ritual to save their lives, but the magic backfires as a black woman in a 19th-century dress appears (implied to be Atticus's slave ancestor), turning Samuel and the other Sons to stone and burning down the mansion. Atticus escapes, only to discover that although Leti has been resurrected, George has succumbed to his wounds.
3"Holy Ghost"Daniel SackheimMisha GreenAugust 30, 2020 (2020-08-30)0.747[9]
Three weeks after George's funeral, Leti uses an unexpected inheritance from her deceased mother to buy a dilapidated Victorian mansion in an all-white neighborhood on Chicago's North Side, filling it with black renters together with her half-sister Ruby. The white neighbors harass them and burn a cross on the lawn. A white supremacist police officer, Captain Lancaster, threatens Leti. Inside the house, supernatural activity flares up. Leti learns that the previous owner was a white scientist, Hiram Epstein, who with the help of Lancaster kidnapped, experimented on, and killed eight black people before burying them under the house. All nine spirits are trapped there. With the help of a medium and the black spirits, Leti banishes Epstein's malevolent ghost. Later, Atticus finds Christina in Chicago; she survived the fire. Atticus has deduced that she was, secretly, the source of the "inheritance" and steered Leti to the house. Christina explains that the house was built by Horatio Winthrop, a Sons of Adam member banished after stealing pages from The Book of Names in the 1800s, and that Epstein was a follower of Winthrop's. She asks Atticus to help her find the missing pages, which could help decipher "the language of Adam". Atticus attempts to shoot her, but she's seemingly invulnerable to harm.
4"A History of Violence"Victoria MahoneyMisha Green
Story by : Wes Taylor
September 6, 2020 (2020-09-06)[a]0.630[11]
Montrose learns that Titus Braithwhite's pages from the Book of Names are stored in a vault in a museum in Boston where Braithwhite donated a wing dedicated to his career as an explorer. Montrose tries to hide this information from Tic, as he wants his son to stop pursuing magic, but he eventually relents and goes with Tic an Leti to the museum. They break into the vault after hours and find a desiccated corpse bent over the pages. When Tic tries to take them, the corpse reanimates into an Arawak Two-Spirit named Yahima. Yahima tell Tic that Braithwhite kidnapped them and locked them in the vault after they translated the pages for him. They agree to leave with the Chicago travelers, but the vault begins to flood, and the four barely escape. Upon returning to Chicago, Montrose murders Yahima to keep them from revealing more information about the pages. Meanwhile, Sheriff Lancaster and Christina vie over control of the Chicago Sons of Adam lodge, William seduces Ruby, and Hippolyta and Diana go in search of answers about George's death.
5"Strange Case"Cheryl DunyeMisha Green and Jonathan I. Kidd & Sonya Winton-OdamttenSeptember 13, 2020 (2020-09-13)0.744[12]
After sleeping with William, Ruby wakes up as a white woman and William reveals to her his metamorphosis potion. Montrose tells Atticus that he has taken care of Yahima and destroyed the pages, causing his son to nearly beat him to death. Leti tells Atticus that she is afraid of his anger, but the two later reconcile and have sex. Montrose goes to Sammy's apartment and has sex with him. As Tic works on deciphering the "Language of Adam" from Leti's photos, he reveals that Montrose killed Yahima and she warns him that the use of magic is inherently evil and will corrupt them all. Ruby decides to keep using the potion for its privilege and under the name Hillary gets a job as an associate manager at the department store. William tells her that she must perform a "favor" for Christina by planting a runic stone in Captain Lancaster's office. While doing so, she discovers an imprisoned man who has been tortured in his office and that the sheriff has a partially black body. Later, after forcing her black subordinate, Tamara, to take them to the South side, Ruby witnesses her white boss, Paul, humiliate and sexually assault Tamara. Sammy and Montrose attend a drag queen ball where they kiss for the first time. After Christina tells Ruby to embrace power, Ruby rapes her boss Paul with a stiletto heel. Ruby confronts William and asks what he and Christina do in the basement and William metamorphoses into Christina. As Atticus works on the language, he translates something that causes him to call his former lover, Ji-Ah, in South Korea.
6"Meet Me in Daegu"Helen ShaverMisha Green and Kevin LauSeptember 20, 2020 (2020-09-20)TBD
7"I Am."[13]TBAMisha Green and Shannon HoustonSeptember 27, 2020 (2020-09-27)TBD
8"Jig-a-Bobo"[14]TBAMisha Green and Belinda Ihuoma OfordireOctober 4, 2020 (2020-10-04)TBD
9"Rewind 1921"[15]TBAMisha Green & Jonathan Kidd & Sonya WintonOctober 11, 2020 (2020-10-11)TBD
10"Full Circle"[16]TBAMisha Green
Story by : Misha Green & Belinda Ihuoma Ofordire
October 18, 2020 (2020-10-18)TBD

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On May 16, 2017, it was announced that HBO had given a series order to Lovecraft Country. Executive producers include Misha Green, Jordan Peele, J. J. Abrams, and Ben Stephenson. Additionally, Green serves as the series' showrunner and wrote the pilot episode. Production companies involved in the series include Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, and Warner Bros. Television. It was reported that Peele originally brought the project to Bad Robot Productions and enlisted Green to develop the show.[17][18][19][20]

On March 5, 2018, it was announced that Yann Demange would direct and executive produce the pilot episode.[21][22][23]

Casting[edit]

On April 26, 2018, it was announced that Jurnee Smollett had been cast as the series' female lead.[24] On May 2, 2018, it was reported that Jonathan Majors had joined the main cast as the series' male lead.[25] A day later, it was reported that Wunmi Mosaku had also been cast as a series regular.[26] On June 19, 2018, it was announced that Aunjanue Ellis and Elizabeth Debicki had been cast as series regulars and that Courtney B. Vance had joined the series in a recurring capacity.[27] On October 10, 2018, it was reported that Michael Kenneth Williams had been cast in a leading role.[28] On June 14, 2019, it was reported that Abbey Lee had replaced Elizabeth Debicki in the role of Christina Braithwaite, whilst Jamie Chung and Jordan Patrick Smith had been cast in recurring roles.[29] On June 20, 2019, it was announced that Jamie Neumann, Erica Tazel, and Mac Brandt had been cast in recurring capacities.[30] In July 2019, Tony Goldwyn joined the cast.[31]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the series began on July 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.[32] Filming also reportedly took place at the Chicago Cinespace Film Studios[33] in Elburn, Illinois[34] and White Pines State Park in Mount Morris, Illinois,[35] at Blackhall Studios in Atlanta, Georgia and Macon, Georgia.[36]

Release[edit]

Lovecraft Country premiered on August 16, 2020, on HBO, and consists of ten episodes.[37][38][2]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Lovecraft Country holds an approval rating of 89% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 8.69/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Anchored by Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jonathan Majors' heroic performances, Misha Green's Lovecraft Country is a thrilling take on Lovecraftian lore that proves the Elder Gods aren't the only thing that goes bump in the cosmos."[39] On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[40]

Writing for The A.V. Club, Shannon Miller lauded the show's ability to balance Lovecraft's more problematic political views with "an appreciation for [his] unparalleled vision".[41] Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com pointed to the show's use of genre storytelling "to peel back layers of American history to reveal the systemic problems underneath it", while also describing it as "marvelously entertaining".[42] Hugo Rifkind of The Times described the show as "brutal and righteously furious".[43] Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, in reference to earlier, less successful attempts at adaptation of Lovecraft's works, said the show "succeeds where others have not" and commended the show on its themes, despite calling the five episodes available for early review "uneven".[44] The New York Times' Mike Hale credited Green's "impressively seamless job... in wielding the cultural metaphors" as part of the show's strength.[45] In a review for The Dispatch, Alec Dent praised the show's success at "examin[ing] racism in America’s past through an unexpected genre," calling it a good reminder that "oftentimes true evil takes a normal guise".[46] In a more critical review, Daniel D'Addario of Variety wrote that "the violence of Lovecraftian horror is so extreme [...] that even the most evil impulses of humanity seem an inadequate counterweight".[47]

Ratings[edit]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Lovecraft Country
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
1 "Sundown" August 16, 2020 0.2 0.760[7]
2 "Whitey's on the Moon" August 23, 2020 0.2 0.867[8]
3 "Holy Ghost" August 30, 2020 0.2 0.747[9]
4 "A History of Violence" September 6, 2020 0.1 0.630[11]
5 "Strange Case" September 13, 2020 0.2 0.744[12]

Other[edit]

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency published a story criticizing the third episode, "Holy Ghost", for seemingly invoking the anti-Semitic canard of an evil Jewish scientist sacrificing and experimenting on children as a modern variant of the medieval blood libel.[48] The episode's backstory involves Hiram Epstein – a character invented for the TV series not in the novel – acquiring black captives with help from a corrupt police officer, using them for unethical experiments, and killing them. While Epstein's religion is not directly discussed, "Epstein" is a last name closely identified with Jews.[48]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "A History of Violence" was released on September 4, 2020 (2020-09-04) on HBO's website.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Newby, Richard (August 16, 2020). "'Lovecraft Country': Inside the HBO Horror Drama's Chilling Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "New Drama Series LOVECRAFT COUNTRY Debuts August 16, Exclusively On HBO". WarnerMedia. July 1, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Kreps, Daniel (May 1, 2020). "'Lovecraft Country': See First Trailer for Jordan Peele-Produced HBO Horror Series". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Lovecraft Country: Cast". HBO. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Lovecraft Country". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  6. ^ "Lovecraft Country – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (August 18, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.16.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (August 25, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.23.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (September 1, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.30.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Lovecraft Country [@LovecraftHBO] (September 4, 2020). "We'll still be live-tweeting during #LovecraftCountry Sunday, but If you just can't wait for the party, a new episode is now available to stream early on @HBOMax" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 6, 2020. Retrieved September 6, 2020 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (September 9, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.6.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (September 15, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.13.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "Lovecraft Country 07: I Am". HBO. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  14. ^ "Lovecraft Country 08: Jig-a-Bobo". HBO. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  15. ^ "Lovecraft Country 09: Rewind 1921". HBO. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "Lovecraft Country 10: Full Circle". HBO. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  17. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (May 16, 2017). "'Get Out's Jordan Peele Teams With WBTV, HBO & Bad Robot For 'Lovecraft Country' Drama Series; Misha Green Writing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  18. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 16, 2017). "Jordan Peele to Produce HBO Series 'Lovecraft Country' With J.J. Abrams, Misha Green". Variety. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  19. ^ Sokol, Tony (May 16, 2017). "Jordan Peele to Produce Lovecraft Country for HBO". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  20. ^ Sandberg, Bryn Elise (May 16, 2017). "Jordan Peele Teams With Bad Robot for HBO Drama Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 5, 2018). "'Lovecraft Country': Yann Demange To Direct HBO Series From Jordan Peele & J.J. Abrams". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  22. ^ Kit, Borys (March 5, 2018). "Yann Demange Joins Jordan Peele, J.J. Abrams for HBO's 'Lovecraft Country'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  23. ^ Boucher, Ashley (March 5, 2018). "Jordan Peele, JJ Abrams' HBO Series Adds Yann Demage". TheWrap. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 26, 2018). "'Lovecraft Country': Jurnee Smollett-Bell To Star In HBO Series From Jordan Peele, J.J. Abrams & Misha Green". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 2, 2018). "'Lovecraft Country': Jonathan Majors To Star In HBO Series From Misha Green, Jordan Peele & J.J. Abrams". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  26. ^ Petski, Denise (May 3, 2018). "'Lovecraft': Wunmi Mosaku Cast In HBO Series From Misha Green, Jordan Peele & J.J. Abrams". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  27. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 19, 2018). "'Lovecraft Country': Courtney B. Vance, Aunjanue Ellis & Elizabeth Debicki Join HBO Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  28. ^ Petski, Denise (October 10, 2018). "'Lovecraft Country': Michael Kenneth Williams Cast In HBO Series From Misha Green, Jordan Peele & J.J. Abrams". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  29. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 14, 2019). "'Lovecraft Country': Abbey Lee Joins In Recasting, Daniel Sackheim Set As EP/Director, Jamie Chung & Jordan Patrick Smith To Recur On HBO Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  30. ^ Petski, Denise (June 20, 2019). "'Lovecraft Country': Jamie Neumann, Erica Tazel & Mac Brandt To Recur On HBO Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  31. ^ Petski, Denis (July 10, 2019). "'Lovecraft Country': Tony Goldwyn Joins Cast Of HBO Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  32. ^ "Monday, July 16 Filming Locations for You're The Worst, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, The Chi, John Wick 3, & more! – On Location Vacations". On Location Vacations. July 15, 2018. Archived from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  33. ^ Patton, Daniel (July 9, 2018). "Cinespace adds new Chicago facility". Reel Chicago. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  34. ^ Bachman, Tyler (June 28, 2018). "Elburn Will Be Filming Site for New HBO Series Next Month". WSPY News. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  35. ^ "HBO gives sneak peak at 'Lovecraft Country' series, filmed in Mount Morris". WTVO. November 11, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  36. ^ Plaskowsky, Andrew (May 1, 2020). "HBO releases 'Lovecraft Country' trailer with shots of downtown Macon". WMAZ. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  37. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (May 1, 2020). "HBO's Trip to Lovecraft Country Takes a Horrifying Turn in First Trailer — Watch". TVLine. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  38. ^ Seddon, Dan (May 2, 2020). "Star Wars' JJ Abrams unveils trailer for spooky new series Lovecraft Country". DigitalSpy. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  39. ^ "Lovecraft Country: Season 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  40. ^ "Lovecraft Country: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  41. ^ Miller, Shannon (August 7, 2020). "Lovecraft Country is a stunning, horrific look at a grotesque legacy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  42. ^ Tallerico, Brian (August 12, 2020). "HBO's Lovecraft Country is Wicked Smart Television". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  43. ^ Rifkind, Hugo (August 21, 2020). "Lovecraft Country review: this is like nothing else — brutal and righteously furious". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  44. ^ Phillips, Michael (August 7, 2020). "'Lovecraft Country' review: the wild side of 'Green Book,' pulled from the guts of American racism". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  45. ^ Hale, Mike (August 13, 2020). "'Lovecraft Country' Review: Nightmare on Jim Crow Street". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  46. ^ Dent, Alec (August 29, 2020). "The Horror of Racism". The Dispatch. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  47. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (August 7, 2020). "'Lovecraft Country' Uses Horror Traditions to Tell a Story of American Racism: TV Review". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  48. ^ a b Cramer, Philissa (September 1, 2020). "HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' contains a plot point that resembles an age-old anti-Semitic lie. Why?". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved September 8, 2020.

External links[edit]