Horror fans couldn’t look away from all the pulpy gore and timely racial strife served up Sunday night during the premiere of HBO’s Lovecraft Country. The new series is based on the bestselling 2016 dark fantasy novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. Misha Green, creator of WGN America’s critically acclaimed Underground, adapted the novel for television and serves as showrunner. Megawatt executive producers JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele are also attached.
Lovecraft Country follows pulp fiction fan Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors) on a journey into the dark night of America’s soul amid Jim Crow. Tic is desperate to track down his missing father and learn the truth about his mother’s family, not to mention his birthright. Tic’s Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and sultry childhood crush Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) are along for a heart-stopping ride that serves as a period piece answer to Peele’s Get Out.
Tic and Uncle George are no strangers to danger. Tic served in the military and survived a stint in the Deep South. George edits a guidebook to help black American’s travel safely throughout a country that sees them as less than human. The two men and Leti are prepared to face bigoted stares from small town whites, and are even locked and loaded when they run into dirty cops with deadly intentions. What they didn’t count on were monsters straight out of white supremacist H.P. Lovecraft‘s novels coming to life during an already harrowing encounter with racist law enforcement officers.
Smollett, who starred in Green’s Underground, was easily the breakout performer of Lovecraft Country‘s premiere episode. Blues singing freedom fighter Leti’s fiery encounters with her siblings, brazen sexuality, red-hot temper and bad-ass driving capabilities prove she’s no distressed damsel. Hell, she just might be the one to save the day.
Rounding out the cast are: Aunjanue Ellis (The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel) as George’s loving wife Hippolyta, Jada Harris as their aspiring graphic novelist daughter Dianna, Wunmi Mosaku (Luther) as Lettie’s sister Ruby, supermodel Abby Lee as the mysterious Christina Braithwhite and The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams as Tic’s dad Montrose Freeman.
Here’s what a couple of our favorite entertainment websites are saying about Lovecraft Country‘s premiere:
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Lovecraft Country airs Sunday nights at 9 pm EST on HBO.