HBO's never one to let a moment pass them by – case-in-point? Sunday night's third season premiere of Westworld, which the cable giant knew would draw in a large amount of eyeballs (especially considering our current "social distancing" lifestyles). So why not use that time to start pushing the rest of your 2020 programming plate – in particular, our personal picks for potential programming excellence: Lovecraft Country and Perry Mason?
Which is exactly what HBO did, with an updated "What's New in 2020" teaser giving us brief first-looks at the two series, as well as highlighting new and returning series – such as The Plot Against America, The Undoing, Euphoria, Insecure, Bad Education, The Righteous Gemstones, I Know This Much Is True, The Third Day, and more.
Here's a look at the new teaser, followed by overviews of Lovecraft Country and Perry Mason as well as images from the preview:
HBO's upcoming thriller-drama Lovecraft Country stars Courtney B. Vance, Aunjanue Ellis, Elizabeth Debicki, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jonathan Majors, Wunmi Mosaku, Michael K. Williams, Jamie Harris, Abbey Lee, Jamie Chung, Jordan Patrick Smith, Jamie Neumann, Erica Tazel, and Mac Brandt, and Tony Goldwyn.
Adapted from Matt Ruff's novel of the same name, the project stems from Academy Award winner Jordan Peele's (Get Out) Monkeypaw Productions, J.J. Abrams's Bad Robot and Warner Bros. Television. Yann Demange (Top Boy) will direct and executive produce the first episode; with Underground's Misha Green writing the pilot and serving as showrunner, and executive producing alongside Peele, Abrams and Ben Stephenson. Daniel Sackheim (The Americans, Jack Ryan, True Detective) is set to direct and executive produce.
Lovecraft Country introduces us to 25-year-old Koren war vet Atticus Black (Majors), who joins up with his friend Letitia "Leti" Dandridge (Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip to find his missing father. Atticus, known for always having a pulp novel in his back pocket, wears his heart on his sleeve despite the daily injustice of living in 1950s Jim Crow America. The trio must survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the malevolent spirits that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
HBO's "Lovecraft Country": Cast of Characters
● Vance's George Black has always been more like a father to Atticus (Majors). Warm, funny, and well read, he was the first to introduce Atticus to the wonderful and strange world of pulp novels. As the publisher of the "Safe Negro Travel Guide" he's been on enough adventures to understand there's no place like home.
● Ellis's Hippolyta Black is George's wife, Atticus's aunt, and a star gazer. She's been a housewife most of her life with dreams of getting into some adventures of her own, despite her husband's misgivings. Her itch for adventure will eventually, literally and figuratively, take her to the stars and beyond.
● Williams' Montrose Freeman is Atticus' father: hard headed and secretive, he's always believed you can't live in a fantasy world, which is why he despises his son's pulp novels. Most of the books on his shelf are nonfiction, history, and political theory. The guys at the local bar call him a communist, but today we'd just call him conscious.
● Mosaku's Rudy Dandridge is a hustler just like her half-sister Leticia, only her hustles haven't paid off. Her family ties are tested when she's presented with an offer she can't refuse.
● Lee's Christina Braithwhite is the only daughter of Samuel Braithwhite, the leader of a secret order calling themselves the "Sons of Adam." She's gone to great lengths to earn her father's respect, to no avail. She's going to pave her own path to power, and she's going to use Atticus and his family to do it.
● Chung's Ji-Ah is a seemingly naive nursing student who is thrust into active service when war breaks out. A rash of soldier disappearances suggests she is more than what she seems.
● Smith's William is Christina's henchmen, lover, bodyguard, spy, and anything else she needs him to be when she needs him to be it.
● Neumann's Hillary is an outdoorsy woman who migrates to the big city – where her dreams turn into nightmares.
● Tazel's Dora Freeman is a spitfire personality and life of every party, who enjoys nights on the town with her beloved, boozy husband Montrose.
● Brandt's Lancaster is a former thug who grew up on the streets of Chicago and is more brawn than brain. He's strong-armed his way to the head of Chicago PD's organized crime unit, where his corruption has been allowed to thrive.
● Goldwyn's Samuel Braithwhite is the patriarch of his family, who views people as assets and objects – and outsiders like his daughter Christina – as inferiors.
Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason follows the origins of American Fiction's most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Rhys). When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason's relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
Set in 1932 Los Angeles, where while the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression – the city is booming like never before: oil… Olympic Games… talking pictures… evangelical fervor… and a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong.
HBO's Perry Mason stars Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), John Lithgow (Pet Sematary), Chris Chalk (Gotham), Shea Whigham (Homecoming), Nate Corddry (Mom), Veronica Falcon (Queen of the South), Jefferson Mays (I Am The Night), Gayle Rankin (GLOW), and Lili Taylor (Chambers). Tim Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones) is set to direct and executive produce.
HBO's "Perry Mason": Cast of Characters
● Rhys' Mason finds himself at a time in his life when he is living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator. Haunted by his wartime experiences in France, Mason suffers the effects of a broken marriage and a broken career.
● Maslany's Sister Alice is a rare sight – the leader of the Radiant Assembly of God, preaching three sermons a day – that's 21 a week – to a hungry congregation and a radio audience that spans the country. Entertainer, politician, God's conduit to the City of Angels, Sister Alice wields great power when she speaks, and plans to use it in ways only she can know.
● Lithgow's Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan is a personal attorney at the nadir of his career and a semi-regular employer of Mason. A mentor and a father figure to Mason, E.B. is handed the kind of case he hasn't seen in years: a high-profile parallel investigation to the LAPD involving a case of child kidnapping.
● Chalk's Paul Drake is a beat cop with a knack for detective work, and also an outlier, with the added challenge of having to navigate an extremely race-conscious city and a downright oppressive police department. He must weigh the responsibilities of being a husband and father against his desire to seek justice in a controversial and politically loaded case.
● Whigham's Pete Strickland is hired by Mason as an extra set of eyes on his various investigations (some less than savory). Strickland has a brotherly rapport with Mason and a cheerfully rakish demeanor that wins friends and influences damsels.
● Corddry's Matthew Dodson is a grocery store owner with a modest income – so no one can explain why his 1-year-old son is targeted for ransom. His picture-perfect marriage begins to crumble as secrets are uncovered on all sides.
● Falcon's Lupe is a pilot and hard-drinking owner of a speakeasy, a she-demon of the California skies and the 3rd place air speed champion of the world.
● Mays' Virgil is an attendant at the City Morgue, but envious of the life of a private detective. A friend of Mason's, he regularly gives him access to bodies (and their personal effects).
● Rankin's Emily Dodson is the mother of a 1-year-old kidnapping victim, convinced that she is being punished by God for an unstated transgression.
● Taylor's Birdy McKeegan is a pious and deeply devout woman. Sister Alice's mother and closest advisor, Birdy keeps things running smoothly at the Pentecostal church.
Robert Downey, Jr. and Susan Downey are set to executive produce alongside Team Downey's Amanda Burrell, and Joe Horaceck; with Rhys also on board as a producer on the project. Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald executive produce and serve as series showrunners.