Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Watching the new trailer for AMC’s upcoming miniseries The Terror, based on Dan Simmons’ novel of the same name, a few thoughts immediately come to mind:

1. Ice is very cold.

2. Lots of ice, surrounding you on all sides, as far as the eye can see, would be both cold and dispiriting.


3. A mysterious creature hunting you and your men and killing you one by one might actually be preferable to slowly dying of frostbite and malnutrition.

4. Ooh, look, Mad Men’s Jared Harris!

There’s some other stuff going on, too: The story—which looks to follow the novel pretty closely—recounts the ill-fated 1845 voyage of the Royal Navy’s HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to try and discover the Northwest Passage. Given the actual expedition disappeared (the wreckage of both ships wasn’t discovered until 2014 and 2016, respectively), Simmons’ story creates a fictionalized version of what happened once the ships became ensnared in the ice. The short version of that explanation is, “Nothing good.” Even after things are already looking incredibly grim, with Captain John Franklin (Ciarán Hinds) and Francis Crozier (Harris) exchanging words like, “This place wants us dead,” it all gets way worse when an unknown entity—believed to be a polar bear—starts picking off the crew.


The novel isn’t exactly a lighthearted beach read, and the TV adaptation is equally bleak, but similarly intriguing for its unique setting and bizarre historical ties. Ridley Scott is producing, which may not be a good thing, given his recent televised collaboration with Tom Hardy, Taboo, was similarly dark and appealing ahead of time, but turned out to be a bit of an exercise in hollow miserabilism. Hopefully The Terror will avoid similar pitfalls; the series premieres March 26.

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

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