It doesn’t matter if you wait for this show or how long, because Lovecraft Country is already a hit in any case. The series produced by Jordan peele me J.J. Abrams embodies a resilience that abhors commitment and that it aims to reach Watchmen, which was the spearhead of last year in terms of themes and scope. Not only may the comparison to Damon Lindelof’s masterpiece seem risky, but right now it is, as we’ve only been able to take a look at the first five episodes of the series in preview, awaiting the fall release in our screens.
The fact is that, as Watchmen, the series of Misha green, while speaking in the past tense, has a lot to say about our present and about our being in the present, recounting the journey of a black family in Jim Crow America in the 1950s. If this premise intrigues you, know that you are not alone; I alsoour curiosity has grown exponentially after watching the first half of the season.
And if in our special on Lovecraft Country we have provided the context to tackle this series, now we are here to tell you what we think of these five initial episodes, awaiting the debut on October 31 on Sky Atlantic and broadcast on NOW. TV.
A swing of genres
The first approach to Lovecraft country It’s haunting: a lysergic scene that combines nightmares from the Korean War, Lovecraft’s monsters, and baseball. A surreal feeling that soon immerses us in the reality of Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), a veteran of the aforementioned war and who travels to Chicago with one purpose: to find his father Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams), who he claims to have discovered an unprecedented truth about his true lineage. This premise will take Atticus to Ardham, a fictional town on the border with New Hampshire, in the heart of that part of the United States where the writer H.P. Lovecraft it established much of its mythology and defined, by virtue of it, Lovecraft Country. As you can already guess from this introduction, the boundaries between the real and the fantastic are very blurred and flow, at the level of writing and staging, in a true genre wonder chamber, ranging from social engagement, gore-tinged horror, science fiction, thriller; all spiced up with a healthy element of action and adventure.
If this mix of genres may seem risky to you, it is because the concept of Lovecraft Country itself is risky; a series that combines a well-defined social subtext with pure entertainment, which sometimes remembers Indiana Jones me X files, with an underlying delicacy that is not entirely obvious.
A calculated bet, which in the long run is a winner, giving us a gift a variety of situations sometimes unprecedented and a careful study of the characters, whose introspection is preparatory for the unveiling of some of the mysteries that surround the plot of the series. A compelling writing echoes impeccable and controlled staging, which manages to dynamically adapt to context and genre.
Research and preparation work oozes from the bumps, clean and balanced, while the performance of the actors gives us moments of delicious empathy, which release anger and resignation, tension and relief, without ever crushing the protagonists in the background, but giving them depth and space for action.
A question of balance
What surprises in Lovecraft country is how much the thematic / value system declines within the narrative structure; a factor that should be taken for granted in any good story, but which is often overlooked or neglected in favor of other narrative devices. What is especially striking is the sociocultural impulse that acts as a propellant not only for the leads, but also for the supporting actors, maintaining coherence with the gender identity and stylistic features of the narrative. Emblematic in this sense is the case of Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) Letitia’s half-sister, who would like to feel on her skin the sensation of being a white woman in a white world, whose events will lead to a truly hilarious gore parenthesis.
And part of the credit certainly must be taken under the influence of Jordan Peele as executive producer; a director and scriptwriter who in his works up to now has been a master in creating worlds anchored to a genre aesthetic that at the same time is filled with authentic thematic boulders, such as the relationship between identity and diversity, between indifference and inclusion.
All this finds in the artistic sensibility of Misha Green a fertile ground for that rupture between spectacularization and intimacy that combines entertainment and reflection, with the risk, however, that the former will drown the latter, in a not too veiled resource to hyperbole that intends to become the apex and appointment of gender expression. Because after all, the real monsters in the series aren’t Lovecraft at all.