’50s-set horror among new series

Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in Lovecraft Country, heading for Showmax from September 8.

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BY BILLY SUTER

A NEW American horror drama series, Lovecraft Country, makes its debut on the Showmax streaming network this month, with the first four episodes running from September 8, the next four from October 6 and the final two episodes from October 20.

The series, which premiered in the US in August, is set in the 1950s and centres on Atticus Freeman, a young African-American who sets out on a road trip with his friend and uncle to find his missing father. This catapults the three into a struggle for survival against the dual terrors of Jim Crow-era America and terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a paperback written by pulpy horror author HP Lovecraft.

Based on the cult novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is a collaboration between Misha Green (creator of Underground, named Best New Cable/New Media Show of 2016 by the African-American Film Critics Association) and Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out), executive produced by JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost, Super 8, Westworld).

The cast includes Black Reel-nominee Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San FranciscoDa 5 Bloods), Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of PreyFriday Night Lights), four-time Emmy-nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of), Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order), BAFTA winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, The End of the F*ing WorldFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Neon Demon).

Lovecraft Country has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is at No 3 on IMDb’s Most Popular TV chart. As Newsday put it, “To call Lovecraft Country ‘wildly original’ seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.”

Check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/EPERMUgPyXU

Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka O’Hara in a scene from We’re Here.

Also new on Showmax this month is We’re Here, available to binge-watch from September 18. This is a 2020 Emmy-nominated drag reality show from HBO which has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The six-part series sees renowned drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley inspire smalltown residents from across America to step outside their comfort zones for a night of no-holds-barred, full-on drag –  and a life-changing journey of self-discovery.

Sometimes all it takes is a little love – and “a lotta werk” – to take someone from who they are to what they can be.

AV Club describes the show as “a charming and engaging reality series… well worth watching,” while Salon.com notes that, “on a deeper level, it’s a show about loving – truly loving – your neighbour.”

HBO has already renewed We’re Here for a second season.

Also keep an eye out for the first season of World on Fire, on Showmax every Thursday at 11.30pm from September 24, the same day the series airs on M-Net

Set in 1939, on the eve of the German invasion of Poland, World on Fire follows the interwoven stories of ordinary people caught up in catastrophic global events beyond their control.

The cast includes Sean Bean (Game of ThronesLord of the Rings), Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It GetsMad About You), Oscar-nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Harlots) and Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women), who is to star as Prince Eric in the upcoming Disney live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

“It’s hard to recall any dramatic work that captured the terror of this invasion with such immediacy,” says Wall Street Journal of World on Fire, while BBC hailed the series as a “must-watch”, with Scott Bryan calling it “deeply haunting… a remarkable form of storytelling; from different sides, different locations, people from different classes, sexualities…”


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