I think this is my wife's favorite show right now.
The Terror is about two British ships that tried to find the Northwest Passage in the mid-1800s. It's based on a true story, so like Titanic, you have a rough idea how it ends (both ships were never heard from again). So it's the journey, not the destination.
The name of the show is the same as the name of one of the ships: HMS The Terror. The other is HMS Erebus. I guess by the 1800s all the happy names had been taken.
It's worth keeping a tablet around while you watch to do quick Google searches. For example, at one point the Captain of The Terror estimates that they're about 200 miles from an island that I looked up. Oh, brother! They were about 2,000 miles from that island! It's in the Pacific, and the ships had just left Hudson Bay. In fact, the captain of the Erebus even makes a reference that you only understand if you looked it up, "Whether we're 200 or 2,000 miles from [whatever] Island ...." Yeah, brother captain, you nailed it. So, in-joke for those who Google!
In the first episode, both ships get caught in the ice. The second opens (spoiler) the following summer, and they are still stuck in the ice. This is a very bad sign, and historically correct: The winters during the ships' mission were unusually cold. And it boded poorly for the mission; in fact, the sub-captain argues that they bail, but the main captain won't hear of it. Not even when some of the provisions prove to have been improperly canned, and have gone bad.
That's historically accurate. In fact, the show is as historically accurate as the writers could make it. By happy happenstance, both ships were discovered (thank you, global warming) during the filming of the show, one in 2014 and the other in 2016. As new information surfaced (heh, heh), it was incorporated into the show.
But, of course, all the dialogue and interpersonal stuff is entirely invented, so there's where the writers get to have their fun. Also, there's a "bear" that's killing just about anybody who sets foot on the ice, which is another meaning for the title, but surely a story construct. I think we're going to find out it is some sort of Inuit mythological beast.
I have no idea how much money was spent on this series, but it looks terrific. I get cold just watching. This really is Peak TV in the sense that TV shows like this look like weekly movies.
I also keep the closed captioning on, since some of the accents are tough to understand, especially over the wind and cracking/booming of the ice. That leads to interesting discoveries, too. The British refer to the locals as Eskimos, of course, which the CC spells "Esquimaux." Which makes me suspect it was the French who first used it to refer to all Inuit tribes. Google, come here! I need you!
The captain of The Terror is someone most on this board have doubtless seen somewhere. His name is Ciaran Hinds, and he was Julius Caesar on Rome, Mance Rayder (the King Beyond the Wall) on Game of Thrones, and Tardos Mors in John Carter. Another familiar face on the show is Tobias Menzies, who was Brutus on Rome, Edmure Tully on Game of Thrones and Jack Randall on Outlander. The captain of the Erebus is familiar, too, having been Moriarty in one of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies, lots of costume dramas and modern stuff like Mad Men and Man from U.N.C.L.E.
A great many of the other faces look familiar because British actors are getting so much work in America these days. At least in The Terror they can use their real accents!
I'm glad it's good. We recorded the first episodes when we were on vacation, but they'd already slipped off our Tivo (along with Jesus Christ Superstar, dammit!) by the time we'd made it home. Hopefully they'll rebroadcast them in the coming weeks.
We're really liking it. I do wonder at this early point why the series (or, strictly speaking, Dan Simmons) felt the need to insert a monster. These guys face enough real danger. Of course, I haven't read the book (it's a way down the "to-read" list), and I suspect we'll see something come of the beast of the frozen north.
Nice review, JD -- short, sweet and informative.
I was only a little surprised about the third-episode twist you reference, because Game of Thrones. But I was already paying attention to some of the guys below deck, assuming some of them would gain in importance as more and more people died.
Realllllly good episode Monday. The "bear" gets a name, we get a look at him, the captain decides to go cold turkey, we see casual amputation of frostbitten toes, there's a suggestion of ghosts in the "morgue," and more. The scene where the officers of the Terror are trapped below, the remaining crew are trying to line up a gun on the deck and Blanky is being pursued in the rigging, all during a howling storm, was masterful. I never once questioned what was going on, despite the fact that visibility was terrible. My heart was in my mouth throughout.