• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 16, 2020
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    Aug 17, 2020
    100
    Freedom allows Green and her collaborators to show their stunning command of the energy and spirit the story's blending of science fiction and horror requires. It means that every slice of the audience, from monster movie lovers to Dan Brown-style conspiracy thriller nuts and Indiana Jones fans, will find something to enjoy here.
  2. Reviewed by: Ellen E Jones
    Aug 17, 2020
    100
    This show, which isn’t even addressing the movement directly, seems to speak to it most meaningfully. It’s no coincidence that Lovecraft Country is also the most entertaining series to grace our screens for months. Showrunner Misha Green knows how to find the joy in the moment – or in the pages of a good pulp novel – without denying the historical context. Perhaps even a blinkered bigot like Lovecraft would have come to admire that eventually.
  3. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Aug 13, 2020
    100
    The creativity on display is phenomenal, with writing that’s layered with meanings and allusions, acting that brings the kind of emotional grounding you don’t always find in genre stories, and visual realizations that are stunning as they pinball among influences including David Cronenberg, Guillermo del Toro, and, of course, Peele.
  4. Reviewed by: Jenn Adams
    Aug 12, 2020
    100
    Green’s characters are not perfect. Bolstered by fantastic performances across the board, they are living breathing humans who often struggle to do the right thing. Because when power is reclaimed, there’s a temptation to become the oppressor rather than to reset (or finally achieve) balance. Lovecraft Country expertly lets its characters wrestle with this complexity, exploring competing narratives and balancing justice with the understandable desire for revenge and need for catharsis.
  5. Reviewed by: Shannon Miller
    Aug 7, 2020
    91
    Lovecraft Country is an utterly imaginative, wild ride, but it isn’t nearly as wild as the nonsensical bigotry that makes the series necessary.
  6. Reviewed by: Kay B.
    Aug 7, 2020
    91
    From the use of gospel music to exude a Black woman taking back her power from the racists who attempted to steal it, to tackling peace and ancestral freedoms, to alternate realities that provide otherworldly opportunities to the oppressed, Lovecraft Country is must-see television — television that digs deeper to ask tough questions but still knows that biggest threat we will always have to combat is racism and our fight for equity.
  7. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 14, 2020
    90
    Despite its few hiccups, the 10-episode series, with new chapters introduced each Sunday night, merits attention for several reasons, including a baroque approach to story, and a regard for the past as being haunted and inescapable. It’s the kind of ambitious television one should watch to know where TV is right now
  8. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Aug 12, 2020
    90
    There are a few minor growing pains in the first half of the first season of “Lovecraft Country”—a tin line of dialogue here, a thin supporting performance there—but nothing that holds the show back from excellence overall. If it’s not on the absolute top tier of what’s on TV in 2020, it’s not far behind at all, and I suspect the first season of this show is going to be one of the year’s great conversation starters.
  9. 90
    The series is what academics would call a “rich text,” and one that the literal-minded would ding for being “unrealistic.” It footnotes itself as it goes, though rarely so ostentatiously that it denies viewers the pleasure of figuring out where certain influences came from and what the show is trying to say with them. With each new episode, we gain more appreciation of the thought that’s been put into every aspect of Lovecraft Country’s production.
  10. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Aug 7, 2020
    90
    A smart, gripping and wonderfully wild 10-episode drama. ... To say that Lovecraft Country is a whole lot of show would be an understatement. Blood and jump-scares aside, the scripts pack in transcendent musical numbers, parties teeming with guests, sex both tender and terrifying, cinematic car chases that hit the spot in a summer without blockbusters.
  11. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Aug 7, 2020
    90
    This is a show that hooks you fast — and one toward which it's nearly impossible to be ambivalent.
  12. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Aug 7, 2020
    90
    More importantly, get used to this high-speed blender working spectacularly well. Each hour seems full to bursting with ideas and incident, as if Green wants to squeeze in as much as she can while she has the chance.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Aug 14, 2020
    88
    Tthis is one of the best casts we’ve seen in any series this year, and each episode is brimming with wicked humor and flights of madness.
  14. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Aug 13, 2020
    88
    To call "Lovecraft Country" "wildly original" seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.
  15. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Aug 7, 2020
    88
    Occasional missteps in pacing are a minor issue in the scheme of the series, which makes such powerful use of its excellent acting, smart scripts and vibrant visuals, it smooths over a few shaky moments. ... Like Peele's "Get Out," they use the building blocks of fantasy and horror to lure the viewer into to a story more profound and revealing. "Lovecraft" is that kind of story, both insightful and just plain scary.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 7, 2020
    88
    The series features terrific actors, led by Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, going for broke but full of subtlety when the emotional terrain demands it. They’re hardly the only ones worth watching, but they’re the first and best reasons to invest in this wild enterprises.
  17. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Aug 13, 2020
    85
    While there is an ongoing serialized story, the individual episode stories involving the lead characters represent “Lovecraft Country” at its best: a haunted house in episode three, a “National Treasure”-style quest in episode four, a metamorphosis in episode five. The episodes often upend expectations.
  18. Reviewed by: Jacob Oller
    Aug 7, 2020
    84
    While Lovecraft Country’s plot moves fast, fast, fast—with head-spinningly quick consequences seemingly abandoned, only to manifest as high concept plots themselves—there’s so much good to hold onto that its pages turn themselves. Thanks to its perspective, the exploration of wild dreams and strange justifications of an unjust society, as well as the magical bounties residing in its oppressed corners, shines.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Daniels
    Oct 5, 2020
    83
    The pacing of the near-hour long installments feature spasms of crawling. Nevertheless, the flirting beauty of the most powerful scenes, the fleeting profoundness of when poetic prose are strewn across lyrical montages, and the authentic, psychological performances by the cast, make Green’s “Lovecraft Country” a woozy, intoxicating genre odyssey.
  20. Reviewed by: Tambay Obenson
    Aug 17, 2020
    83
    “Lovecraft Country” is a chimerical portrait of racism in America, and it couldn’t arrive at a more timely moment, as the nation contends with a vast reckoning. The rules of the world Green has created remain confounding. Still, there’s enough reason to watch, but patience will be necessary to see where it all will ultimately lead.
  21. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    Aug 17, 2020
    80
    “Lovecraft Country,” which tips its hat to the novels of H.P. Lovecraft, has the gloss of a Steven Spielberg summer blockbuster. It also has Spielberg’s way of tucking messages in places you wouldn’t expect.
  22. Reviewed by: Chanté Joseph
    Aug 17, 2020
    80
    The series is set in the Jim Crow era, and adequately addresses the racism and violence waged on African Americans – but it does so in a way that adds to the story, rather than rehashing trauma for our entertainment. Each character, each story, each line serves a purpose that helps to build a world of mystery, magic and Lovecraftian lore.
  23. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Aug 17, 2020
    80
    Like Murphy and Rhimes, Green isn’t concerned that being too entertaining will somehow undermine the series’s capital T themes so much as make you invest in them, and, in the first five episodes, she’s more disciplined than either of them, to boot. Every installment contains its own near-stand-alone pulp fiction, a structure that grounds the show and reminded me a bit of another series full of repartee, monsters, and metaphor: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lovecraft Country has an extraordinary ability to wink and keep a straight face at the same time, to be fun and serious simultaneously.
  24. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    Aug 11, 2020
    80
    It’s all dazzling, if sometimes disorienting. After five episodes, it’s hard to know where “Lovecraft Country” is going. But even if it careens off the rails, the show has so much creativity and passion it’s a ride worth taking, wherever it leads.
  25. Reviewed by: Meghan O'Keefe
    Aug 7, 2020
    80
    Lovecraft Country is a pulpy treat: sexy, scary, and featuring a poignant examination of some of the true horrors in American society.
  26. Reviewed by: Ed Power
    Aug 7, 2020
    80
    Lovecraft Country obviously has a lot to live up to. But it hits the ground with great exuberance and its blend of thrills, chills and social commentary is devastatingly effective.
  27. Reviewed by: Candice Frederick
    Aug 7, 2020
    80
    Misha Green's spellbinding Lovecraft Country defies genre stereotypes with fantastic Black talent both in front of and behind the camera but that isn't what should attract audiences (though obviously that is a plus); viewers should flock to it because it's just that good.
  28. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Aug 14, 2020
    75
    Even though it has a continuous story arc the show goes through tonal shifts, moving from Indiana Jones to grindhouse to bump-in-the-night scares, so that it almost feels like an anthology. But the dark, disturbing cloud of racism is ever present and seeps into every corner of the show like a wraith. Except this monster’s real.
  29. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Aug 14, 2020
    75
    A strange brew of race, history and horror, Lovecraft Country feels like the child of "Get Out" and "Watchmen," with a pinch of "True Blood" for good measure. The HBO series conjures a pretty intoxicating atmosphere, while proving confounding about what its rules are. The result is well worth watching, but requires patience to see where this gothic road will ultimately lead.
  30. Reviewed by: Jake Cole
    Aug 7, 2020
    75
    Eclipses even its source material in capturing the all-encompassing dread of Lovecraft’s fiction while at the same time confronting head-on the most problematic aspects of his writing.
  31. Reviewed by: Aja Romano
    Aug 18, 2020
    70
    The show finds its strongest moments when it layers realism atop metaphorical racism to induce a mounting, increasingly surreal two-fold horror. It’s weaker in terms of connecting those moments back to its overarching plot. But that weakness also feels intentional and refreshing — as if the show is also repudiating the pompous dramatics of its silly cult full of white people trying to something something pure bloodlines, something something sorcery, something something existential cosmic terror.
  32. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Aug 14, 2020
    70
    The show gets a little too busy, too soon. In the first five episodes made available for this review, “Lovecraft Country” feels like two competing shows. ... Still, there is plenty to recommend here, especially for those seeking something unique as this summer’s schedule breathes its last. “Lovecraft Country” is visually striking and inventively imagined, even when it gets corny.
  33. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Aug 13, 2020
    70
    “Lovecraft Country,” despite its fully hourlong episodes, would be a good candidate for binge viewing — its verve and variety would help carry you through the slow spots, and you could hold the kaleidoscopic story in mind.
  34. Reviewed by: Sonia Saraiya
    Aug 11, 2020
    60
    Lovecraft Country is fine. It’s enjoyable, in a ridiculous way; it’s so heightened that it delivers a roller-coaster experience, which is sometimes all you want from a show. ... But be warned that Lovecraft Country is a lot more flash and bang than sustained coherence.
  35. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Aug 7, 2020
    60
    Green has shown a gift for making the worst of our nation’s history into the staging ground for a conversation about the totality of its present. That’s on offer here, as well, but will become clearer as and if “Lovecraft Country” figures out the kind of show it wants to be. Surreality is a way to arrive at a deeper meaning, perhaps, but it requires crisply drawn characters to bring us through.
  36. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Aug 7, 2020
    60
    The series can also feel overheated, over-motivated, muddled and unsubtle, and not just because every single white character is trouble, if not implausibly so, on a scale from casually clueless to actively evil. Its emotional volume has a way of drowning out its humor.
  37. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Aug 13, 2020
    58
    I respect their ambition, and hope the series finds its footing. Right now, they're skewering Lovecraft's beliefs but can't compete with his singular horror vision. They're better people making worse art.
  38. Aug 24, 2020
    50
    The show’s script is weighed down by historical annotations; characters refer to themselves and others using the nomenclature of the time (Negro, white) instead of the unqualified pronouns—“we,” “us,” “them”—of actual talk. Innuendo, a staple of melodrama, and a mode in which racialized language thrives, is missing. Neither this nor the show’s cartoonish whites—as viral videos have shown, racists turn cartoonish in the light—would be so distracting if they didn’t deprive mesmerizing talents of their room to work. ... In “Lovecraft Country,” there are revelations but seldom awe.
  39. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Aug 17, 2020
    50
    It’s a bold, heady venture with ambitions as grand as its creatures. Yet at least in its initial installments, it’s an effort routinely undercut by irritatingly sloppy storytelling. That Lovecraft Country is often an overstuffed narrative mess is made all the more frustrating by the fact that its debut episode is an expertly crafted table-settler for a rich saga to come.
  40. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Aug 14, 2020
    50
    Surreal and tonally muddled, this stylish gore-saturated series is capable of provoking screams and laughs and eye-rolls within the same scenes. [17 - 30 Aug 2020, p.11]
  41. Reviewed by: Hannah Giorgis
    Aug 14, 2020
    50
    Racial horror is most effective when the central characters feel rich and fleshed-out, when audiences are invested in them not just out of implied moral obligation. For Lovecraft Country to simply flip the usual script with new creatures, then, isn’t enough. The series needs to double down on its most spirited scenes.
  42. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Aug 15, 2020
    40
    That's Lovecraft Country: A mélange of spectacular special effects, nerdy obsession, and crippling racial animus, all wrapped up in a tumbling free-form narrative that doesn't make much sense.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 156 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 156
  2. Negative: 58 out of 156
  1. Aug 16, 2020
    2
    Boring AF. Great production values. Did they have to rey and ruin Lovecraft for me? Do we really think Cthulu gives a **** about race?Boring AF. Great production values. Did they have to rey and ruin Lovecraft for me? Do we really think Cthulu gives a **** about race? Laughing My Transdementional Ancient Ass Off. Full Review »
  2. Aug 16, 2020
    2
    Very mediocre fantasy; the world-building was very poorly done - I felt we were hopping from one set to the next. Then infuse it with 2020Very mediocre fantasy; the world-building was very poorly done - I felt we were hopping from one set to the next. Then infuse it with 2020 political agendas and you have the recipe for one painful first episode. Full Review »
  3. Aug 17, 2020
    2
    To much politics and indoctrination, not enough of the Lovecraft. The great potential of original stories wasted.