Icebound and suffering from hunger, disease, and madness, the men aboard the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus desperately seek a way out of their Arctic prison while being stalked by a ravenous monster they know only as “The Creature.”
Based on the 2007 novel by Dan Simmons, The Terror is a horror drama anthology that originally aired on AMC in 2018. Season one of the show is a reimagining of The Franklin Expedition—a failed British Arctic expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Equipped with the two most technologically advanced ships in the British royal navy and led by Sir John Franklin, the expedition set out from England in May 1845 and were last seen in late July by whalers in Baffin Bay. The last record of the expedition and its men came from a note left in a cairn on King William Island and dated April 25, 1848, reporting that the ships were trapped for a year and a half, twenty-four men had already died, and the rest were heading south overland in a desperate attempt at rescue. All 129 men of the Franklin Expedition eventually perished and their exact conditions and whereabouts remain unclear.
But what really happened to those men?
The Terror is a creative, exciting, and tragic look at the final years and months of what must have been a harrowing adventure. Starring Jared Harris as the stalwart but flawed Captain Francis Crozier and Adam Nagaitis as the menacing instigator Mister Hickey, the men try to make the best of a bad situation, but death and disease and the uncertainty of their inhospitable setting is ever-present. Making circumstances much worse, the men are visited on the ice by a ferocious animal they cannot identify nor escape. After a dramatic encounter with “The Creature'' they manage to injure it and believe they have rid themselves of its murderous presence. However, they encounter even greater terror amongst themselves as men struggle with their own shameful nature all while trying to maintain their sanity, protect their dignity, and survive their torment.
With little hope that the Arctic ice will melt, the men gather their supplies and head south along the ice. But a rift develops among them. With the knowledge that their food tins may be slowly poisoning them, Mister Hickey convinces a faction of the men to ignore the orders of Captain Crozier and set off on their own. Both groups encounter harsh conditions and realize they are still being stalked by “The Creature.” As time is running out on their lives, men must choose between good and evil in a showdown with themselves, and finally, a showdown with “The Creature.”
Using well-developed characters that are both honorable and villainous, an intriguing historical event and setting, and a compelling, fantastical plot, season one of The Terror on AMC is recommended for lovers of historical TV and speculative drama alike. From beginning to end, The Terror captures the intrigue of viewers and holds their suspense as they long to discover what really did befall the 129 men of the lost Franklin Expedition.
Title: The Terror: Infamy (AMC) Season 1
Release Date: March 25, 2018
Colin Mustful is the author of four historical novels about Minnesota settlement and Native history in addition to numerous historical resources. He is also the founder and editor of a small independent press called History Through Fiction. You can learn more about Colin and his work by visiting his author website at colinmustful.com or his publishing website at historythroughfiction.com.