Riveting Lovecraft Country Show Recommendation

Lovecraft Country Show Recommendation - a show of its time, and transcending its time. It will definitely make you think.
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How many shows have you watched that centered around a black protagonist? No. Don’t answer that. How many shows have you watched where it is lead by a group, a team of black leading individuals? Stop! No, not the right question. How many shows have you watched, lead by a black crew, centered in a moment of history dominated by racists and anti-black sentiment? I would love to be educated on other shows that have attempted this sort of an approach. I, for one, love it. Sort of reminds me (and I’m being very serious here) like 28 Days – wherein the zombies were the least terrifying thing happening in that movie. Instead, it was the humans that seemed to be infinitely scarier. So, all that to say, I’m several episodes into Lovecraft Country and I’m fascinated. OK, let’s get to this – Riveting Lovecraft Country Show Recommendation…

The introductory episode, definitely sets up the mythology perfectly. We start with Atticus Freeman returning from the Korean War. His father has gone missing, and he’s determined to find him again. The only problem, the only evidence he has, is that his father has headed into New England – Lovecraft Country. And apparently all indications are that it’s a very hostile area to African Americans. And, as the group clashes with the local police, Atticus and his band of merry fighters, find themselves fighting for their lives.

Later episodes will uncover an ancient house with members with special powers and abilities. All of them white. All but Atticus, who happens to be a close line to this family, and a strong member of this strange ancestral blood line. Or something. That is what the show sets at its core, its central question. It began with – where is my father, and it evolved into – what has my father done sort of a situation.

As a white individual myself – not sure if you guys noticed that or not, but I am decidedly white, I burn in the shade, my hair is (was) red for godsakes – I was enamored with the black central characters and the attempt at authentic, and respectful storytelling. But I realized quickly that was just me doing some racial tourism, which offends even me, and I realized that the issues here that the show deals with are deeper than I initially understood. Here is a thought from Erika, a Patreon member talking about the show. We were chatting on the Patreon chat server about the deeper nuances of the show and I really liked what she had to say. Thanks for your permission to quote you Erika: “It has so many nuances that kinda go beyond race. Lots to unpack about relationships with sisters, fathers and sons. I love the theme of women interrupted. I feel many of the female characters are interrupted, their growth stunted by outside forces as well as the ones they love.”

And that is really so true… the show goes much deeper than just having black leads fighting against racial injustice amongst a supernatural backdrop. Seeing as though the show dropped in the midst of national rioting regarding the deaths of innocent black people at the hands of vengeful cops really awakens something different in the narrative of the show. Pile on top of that a virulent outbreak running simultaneously to the rise of a fever pitch of racial hate and antipathy and the show is now an accidental mimesis. Or, one could argue, that it’s much more a case of anti-mimesis in that life is imitating the art, as opposed to the art imitating life. But the difference is neither here nor there – and yet the two things (life and art) are sort of hanging in balance against the other. Virulent and racist outbreaks both being at a fever pitch – all while the show deals with demons and goblins of the racist variety, simultaneously coupled with actual demons and goblins.

When the book upon which the series is based was first published, it dropped into a world when Obama was president. 2016. It was sort of a racial zenith of the country at the time. Not perfect… not even close, but a zenith all the same. And now, heading back towards our racial nadir under this current administration, we find ourselves in a completely different world. One that closer matches the fortunes of the book. So, reading the book in 2016 would be a completely different experience to watching the show in 2020. It finds that we are dealing with this topic in a totally different world now.

The show obviously rides the coattails of the brilliant movie, Get Out. Which was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who also produced Lovecraft Country. But the brilliance of Get Out may just have been how liberal seeming those particular racists played, verses the literal zombie-like racism of the white characters in this particular entertainment. There was nuance to the evil in Get Out, which caused for self-reflection, and revaluation. But here? There is very very literal difference between the monsters and the monster-like individuals. Which, I think, sort of does a little bit of a disservice to the conversation. I don’t know. As you can see, I’m still grappling with it. And that, as we say here at THiNC. is the literal trademark of good entertainment. If it makes you think, and makes you reevaluate, maybe it’s doing something right.

NPR’s take: “Lovecraft Country is only the latest in a series of movies, television series and novels to engage with America’s greatest moral, economic, social and psychological wound — the legacy of slavery — by way of the fantastic. Creators like Jordan Peele, Damon Lindelof, Toni Morrison and Colson Whitehead didn’t avail themselves of, respectively, body-swapping, superheroes, an angry ghost and an entirely literal subterranean mass-transit system as a means to distract from, or to trivialize, racial injustice. No: They knew that when grappling with a foundational truth so huge and ugly and painful, utilizing the metaphorical imagery of science-fiction and horror offered them a fresh way in — an opportunity to get their audiences to re-examine, to re-feel, the enduring impact of that evil.”

The Atlantic: “Lovecraft Country inverts the xenophobic preoccupations of its titular author, suggesting that white racists—and not Black people—are the real beasts. Considering the long history of Black people being depicted as monsters throughout American cinema, especially in sci-fi and horror, this is an admirable premise that is often rendered vividly. “

Well, considering I was just planning to write 300 words and say – hey, gang?! Go watch this show… and I’m still typing? It must be a worthwhile exercise to partake in. I have not seen all the episodes yet, only the first four I believe. But I have really enjoyed each one I’ve watched so far. It’s ambitious, different, and it will force you to think, and most of all, attempt to reconcile your own positions on life, the universe, and everything. It will definitely cause you to consider where you stand on this important question.

If you are interested in other similarly feeling films, I would recommend Get Out, of course, Sorry to Bother You, maybe Color Out of Space, and definitely Mandy if you are on a roll. hahaha.

Edited by: CY