Set in sunny 1950s Los Angeles, the horrors of Them lurk just beneath the surface: In the dark abyss of the basement, in the suspicious looks from neighbors, and even behind the wallpaper. Creator Little Marvin’s Them is an anthology series that “explores terror in America,” and its first season—dubbed Covenant—tells the story of the Emorys, a Black family who move from North Carolina to an all-white neighborhood with residents that immediately see the newcomers as a threat to their livelihood. But it’s not long before the family’s own home seems to turn on them, revealing itself to be host to supernatural forces just as menacing as the evils next door.
Them’s period setting gives the season a distinct stylish flair, but it also provides Little Marvin and his creative team with a thematically rich lens to explore the fraught history of being Black in America, drawing parallels to the persisting horrors of today. In the video above, Marvin talks to The A.V. Club about his decision to use the post-WWII suburban boom as the framework for his story about Black homeownership, the “nightmare beneath that [American] dream.” Marvin also reveals how the series’ eye-catching, era-appropriate production design is more than just (literal) set dressing: Even the wallpaper holds secrets in Them: Covenant.
Covenant—the first season of horror anthology series Them—premieres on Amazon Prime Video on April 9.