Arts & Culture News

A Dallas Actor Just Landed a Huge Emmy Nomination, Yet His Show Got Canceled

Jonathan Majors picked up his first nomination for Lovecraft Country. The only problem? HBO just canceled the series.
Jonathan Majors picked up his first nomination for Lovecraft Country. The only problem? HBO just canceled the series. Jemal Countess/Getty
click to enlarge Jonathan Majors picked up his first nomination for Lovecraft Country. The only problem? HBO just canceled the series. - JEMAL COUNTESS/GETTY
Jonathan Majors picked up his first nomination for Lovecraft Country. The only problem? HBO just canceled the series.
Jemal Countess/Getty
This year’s Emmy nominations promise many exciting races, and the lead actor category is no exception. Past winners Billy Porter of Pose and Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us made their comebacks; Bridgerton breakout Regé-Jean Page slipped in; Josh O’Conner’s breathtaking impersonation of the smarmy Prince Charles on The Crown earned him recognition; and even Matthew Rhys popped up on the ballot for the gritty reboot of Perry Mason (we didn't know anyone actually watched that). Still, we’re rooting for local actor Jonathan Majors, who picked up his first nod for Lovecraft Country.

The sci-fi horror series starred Majors as Atticus Freeman, a Korean War veteran who encounters all sorts of demonical and fantastical villains during an adventure to reunite with his father (Michael K. Williams, nominated for Best Supporting Actor). The series, set in the 1950s, explored heavy sci-fi worldbuilding but drew praise for its realism in depicting the Jim Crow American South. A historical fable made for today, Lovecraft Country was one of the leader nominees, with 16 total nominations.

The only problem? It just got canceled. HBO pulled the plug on the series on July 11. Conveniently, Emmy voting had ended on June 28, so HBO managed to make the most of the significant budget they granted to the series without actually having to continue it. So, is it really a "Best Drama Series" anymore? WandaVision got roped into the Best Limited Series category when Disney+ announced the superhero show would only have one season, so perhaps Lovecraft Country now belongs in that same category.

The cancellation is pretty surprising; Lovecraft County was positioned as HBO’s next obsession-worthy series after Game of Thrones, and it earned better reviews than other attempts by the network, such as The Nevers, Perry Mason and the most recent season of Westworld. The season finale, “Full Circle,” left many questions hanging, so fans are left pondering what a potential second season would’ve looked like. Firefly and Pushing Daisies fans know that feeling.

Major networks failing to invest in shows that feature a diverse ensemble is nothing new ... and the abrupt ending to a popular series like Lovecraft Country should keep that conversation going.

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On the other hand, it’s not surprising at all; major networks failing to invest in shows that feature a diverse ensemble is nothing new. Zoe Kravitz blasted Hulu for the cancellation of High Fidelity last year, and the abrupt ending to a popular series like Lovecraft Country should keep that conversation going.


Majors has been diplomatic so far and gave a heartfelt statement in response to the recognition, where he thanked his crew and castmates for putting together such a unique series. Majors cryptically ended his message with the vague hint that “our journey continues,” so perhaps Lovecraft Country will see another life if another provider or network decides to pick it up.

Majors' journey will definitely continue, though. When we spoke to him last year, he had just wrapped up Spike Lee’s masterful war epic Da 5 Bloods, and in the time since, he’s landed roles in the Netflix ensemble Western The Harder They Fall, the Rocky universe sequel Creed III, and the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe project Ant-Man and the Wasp. His Ant-Man character is the major villain Kang the Conqueror, a fearsome villain poised to shake up the Marvel universe. Loki fans in particular may recognize him if they’ve watched the season finale.

We’d love to hear Majors’ acceptance speech if he takes home Best Actor at the in-person Emmy ceremony in September. Whether it’s just to thank his family or if he wants to put HBO on blast, he'll hopefully get the chance to speak when Atticus Freeman cannot.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in About.com, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.