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Why critics are calling 'wildly original' Lovecraft Country 'a masterpiece'

  • Exec produced by Oscar winner Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out) and JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Cloverfield, Lost, Super 8, Westworld)
  • Developed by Misha Green, who co-created Black Reel-nominated historical drama Underground
  • Based on the 2017 World Fantasy Award-nominated cult novel by Matt Ruff
  • Stars Black Reel nominee Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Da 5 Bloods), Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey, Friday Night Lights), Emmy nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of), Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order) and Bafta winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, The End of the F*ing World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
  • #3 Most Popular TV on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 89% critics rating
  • #3, IMDb's Most Popular TV
  • "A masterpiece" NPR

The first four episodes of HBO’s brand-new horror drama Lovecraft Country – the third most popular TV series on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes right now – just dropped on Showmax. New episodes are also available on 1Magic (DStv 103) on Mondays at 9.30pm.

In the 1950s, Atticus, a young African-American, sets out on a road trip with his childhood friend Letitia and his uncle George to find his missing father. This catapults the three into a struggle for survival against the dual terrors of Jim Crow-era America and terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a paperback written by pulpy horror author HP Lovecraft. As the lines between real-world dangers and the realm of the fantastic start to blur, the trio find themselves caught between Cthulhu and the KKK, with sinister cultists as their only allies.

“Atticus is a bibliophile and a soldier, a warrior and a poet,” says lead actor Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Da 5 Bloods). “He’s a man that goes from living in a world of books and of sci-fi, to living in an actual world full of monsters and witches.”

Based on the 2017 World Fantasy Award-nominated cult novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is exec produced by Oscar winner Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) and Emmy winner JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Super 8), as well as Emmy nominee Bill Carraro (American History X, Blade Runner 2049). Misha Green (Underground, named Best New Cable/New Media Show of 2016 by the African-American Film Critics Association) is the showrunner and co-creator.

NPR calls Lovecraft Country “a masterpiece”. Time Magazine calls it “a stunning dissection of America’s racist history - and an absolutely wild ride … smart, gripping and wonderfully wild.” And Rolling Stone hails it as “a mind-bending, genre-blending tour de force… Couldn’t possibly feel timelier.”

Lovecraft Country has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with much of the praise going to the formidable cast, which also includes Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey, Friday Night Lights) as Letitia; Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order) as George; and Emmy nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of, The Wire) as Atticus’ father, Montrose.

The Hollywood Reporter calls Jurnee’s performance, “a fierce turn in which her every bit of actorly business — whether driving a car, sprinting away from ghouls or wielding a baseball bat ... feels instantly iconic. You can't take your eyes off her… It's to everybody else's credit that Smollett doesn't knock them off the screen entirely but Majors is a steady, slow-burning leading man and Vance and Williams add embraceable decency and fiery torment respectively.”

Also look out for Bafta winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, The End of the F*ing World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Neon Demon), Emmy and Critics Choice nominee Aunjanue Ellis (When They See Us, The Help, The Book of Negroes) and Zimbabwean-South African actress Sibongile Mlambo (Lost in Space, Donna in Siren - the first Black mermaid on mainstream TV).

Lovecraft Country is a very unusual tale. I don’t think television has seen anything like this before,” says Vance. “In our world, there’s monsters – be they literal or figurative monsters. It’s very interesting and disheartening: some of the same issues that we’re dealing with in the ‘50s, we’re living them today. But we need each other in this world and that’s what our journey here will hopefully show to audiences.”

“It really blows my mind, the ingenuity that’s gone on into creating Lovecraft Country,” says Ellis. “You become a child again because it is fantastical.” At the same time, she says: “It makes you question things that the world wants to turn a blind eye to. It’s a lesson in empathy.”

Perhaps the best thing about Lovecraft Country though, is that it’s a blast. “I think people will take away a sense of excitement and possibility,” says Mosaku. “It feels rebellious. Minds may be blown a little bit… maybe a lot.”

As Newsday put it: “To call Lovecraft Country ‘wildly original’ seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.”

Watch episodes one to four of Lovecraft Country on Showmax now, with episodes five to eight coming 6 October and episodes nine and 10 coming 20 October 2020, just after the US finale.

About Showmax

Showmax is an internet TV service. What sets Showmax apart is a unique combination of hit African content, first and exclusive international series, premium documentaries, and the best kids’ shows. Showmax Pro adds music, news and live sport from SuperSport. For a single monthly fee, get unlimited access. Start and stop when you want. Cancel anytime - there’s no contract. Stream Showmax uses apps for smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, computers, media players and gaming consoles. Manage data consumption using the bandwidth capping feature. No internet? No problem - download shows to smartphones and tablets to watch later offline. Showmax was born in 2015. Showmax and Showmax Pro are available in sub-Saharan Africa. A Showmax diaspora service is also available in selected markets worldwide. For more information, visit www.showmax.com.

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