No, “Lovecraft Country” didn’t need a second season.


In the seventh episode of Lovecraft Country, a black woman, surrounded by a sea of ​​glowing equations, scribbles frantically as she hatches a fix for a machine that will soon warp her across the dimensions of space and time. Viewers watch Hippolyta, a housewife played by Aunjanue Ellis, calling herself a discoverer of new worlds, embracing an identity that is not generally offered to black Americans in science fiction (and which is more historically associated with white colonizers. ). It’s a powerful example of the show’s biggest selling point: the transcendence of tropes that too often plague black characters in movies.

Produced by showrunner Misha Green, Lovecraft Country is a dark fantasy series that aired on HBO in August of last year. It’s based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name, a book that reimagines the otherworldly horror of known racist HP Lovecraft through black eyes in Jim Crow’s 1950s. Jonathan Majors plays Atticus “Tic” Freeman, a Korean War veteran who returned home to search for his missing father, Montrose (the late Michael K. Williams), with the help of lover Letitia “Leti” Lewis ( Jurnee Smollett). The trio are soon drawn into a story driven by monsters, racialized horror, and inherited magic that is Tic’s unexpected birthright.

In July, HBO announcement abruptly – much to the disillusionment of fans – that the series wouldn’t be returning for a second season. Not two weeks later, the Television Academy nominated Lovecraft Country for 18 Emmy Awards, news that made HBO’s decision even more misguided. Outraged viewers took to social media to express their displeasure. “Lovecraft Country got 18 Emmy nominations and HBO canceled it, ” a twitter user wrote. “Shit doesn’t make sense.”

But maybe it does. Lovecraft Country made his point. It enabled a troop of black heroes to confront the forces of magic, racism, and privilege wielded by evil whites. Rather than the imminent death of the black characters, we would expect some point in horror movies, he instead eliminated his white characters with Quentin Tarantino’s pulp gore levels. And Lovecraft Country did it all with a stellar cast, beautiful cinematography, top notch visual effects and a genre soundtrack spanning everything from Nina Simone to Cardi B. Maybe he doesn’t need a season. 2; considering how much he collapsed at the end of his first run, a second could only tarnish his good reputation.

A gripping story has its twists and turns, but these winding roads need to be consistent enough to be followed. Lovecraft Country is filled with an abundance of storylines, many of which are planted haphazardly and never satisfactorily fleshed out as there simply isn’t room for actual depth. He made it his mission to compress all the dark historical and cultural events he could in his convoluted plot: the racial massacre in Tulsa, the Chicago riots in Trumbull Park, the lynching of Emmett Till, the existence of towns at sunset and the publication of the Negro Motorist’s Green Book, to name a few. Sometimes it worked; other times it seemed contrived. Always, it was too much.

It could simply be an artifact of the source material – the book was, after all, an anthology of interwoven short stories. But it was as if the authors of Lovecraft Country couldn’t decide if the series should be serial or episodic, so it ended up being a weird mix of the two. Or maybe it’s just too many cooks in the kitchen: the plot begins to get unnecessarily thick around episode four, when Misha Green is no longer the only name appearing in the credits of the story. By the time we reach Hippolyta’s exploration cut-out in episode seven – amazing as it is to see – the plot has really gone off the rails. It looks cloudy and disjointed; the pieces only come together after a rehearsal the night before, when viewers already have an idea of ​​what to expect.

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