Cold, dark and being isolated may not be most people's idea of a good time, but when you're an explorer and part of the Royal Navy on a quest to find the Northwest Passage, it just might be the most exciting thing you'll ever do in your life.
On The Terror Season 1 Episode 1 and The Terror Season 1 Episode 2, we are introduced to the crew of the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror tasked with taking on this extraordinary voyage that ultimately turns into a horrific disaster.
What is The Terror about and why should you watch? Read on!
1. Horror and History All Rolled Into One
The Terror is based on a 2007 novel by Dan Simmons which is inspired by a true story. It follows a Royal Navy expedition to find the Northwest Passage. While the expedition is real and the characters are based on real people, most of the plot is fictionalized.
The idea of being isolated in the Arctic surrounded ice is enough to send anyone screaming especially when starvation and illness hangs ominously over everyone's head on the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror.
Throw in a supernatural monster that stalks the men, and it's the perfect recipe for a nightmare of epic proportions.
2, Captain Francis Crozier will quickly become your favorite ...
Even though we know all the men on the Erebus and Terror will die in the end, there's always hope that one of them will survive. If I could choose only one, I'd probably pick Francis (Jared Harris).
He's experienced enough to know the dangers of sailing through the Arctic and doesn't try to cover it up with fake optimism like Sir John (Ciarán Hinds) who is nothing but arrogant.
Others, like Captain James Fitzjames (Tobias Menzies), find Francis utterly depressing. I find him utterly fascinating. He reminds me in a way of Quint from Jaws.
After a challenge from Fitzjames during dinner, Francis tells him, "There be no melodramas here. Only live men or dead men," in sort of the same way Quint warned Mayor Vaughn about the horror the great white shark was about to bring to Amity Island. Quint knew what he was talking about and so does Francis.
3. ... And so will Dr. Goodsir
Dr. Goodsir is kind, compassionate and cares about his patients, but he also knows there's something funky happening in their isolated corner of the world. He comes to this realization after David Young dies suddenly in a fit of hysterics. What I like about Goodsir is that he's not afraid to do what's right despite the coldness of those around him, particularly Dr. Stanley.
I didn't like how Stanley just stood there, not offering a hand when Goodsir performed the autopsy on Young. (And let's not even delve into the graphic nature of the autopsy.)
What was even worse was when Stanley refused to help the dying Inuit man. Dr. Stanley is not the kind of doctor I'd want treating me, and when the Tuunbaq comes, I hope it attacks Stanley and leaves Goodsir alone. We can hope, right?
We got our first glimpse of the monster that will terrorize the crew when the polar bear-like being (it looked like a deformed polar bear) snatched Lieutenant Gore (what a name) and made mincemeat of him.
It could be that Gore's death was by a real polar bear, but I'll put my money on Tuunbaq. Now that the Inuit man has died, it's only going to get worse, even if his death was an accident. The daughter, who will become Lady Silence, is freaked out that she's now in control of her father's monster and fears that she won't be able to control it.
She has warned the crew they need to leave, but they have nowhere to go because Sir John didn't listen to the smartest guy in the place, Francis, when he suggested they take an alternative route.
Instead, Sir John thought he knew better and now they're stuck and they're all about to die by something much, much worse than just starvation, cold and illness.
5. The horror is real even if it is all green screen and fake ice
I don't want to destroy the magic, but green screens amaze me, and I love behind-the-scenes photos showing how the magic is created. There is a disturbing atmosphere that has been created. The darkness and shadows add to the fear, and you can feel the cold and isolation. It may not be real, but it certainly feels real.
6. It's genuinely creepy
The scariest part of the season premiere was right before David Young died his horrific death. The young sailor didn't see angels like Dr. Goodsir said he would. Instead, David saw an Inuit man (the same one who was accidentally shot later) whose head changed into something non-human.
If I was dying, that would not be what I would want to see in my last moments. And the thought message the Inuit man sent to David was even scarier because who's going to listen to the hysterics of a man on his deathbed?
Dr. Goodsir was concerned, but Dr. Stanley wasn't impressed when Goodsir told him what happened. It's something he'll regret later, I'm sure.
David's death wasn't the only scary part. Every moment of The Terror is ensconced in fear. Even Henry Collins going into the water in his old-time scuba suit was extremely frightening.
We only saw the shadow of the figure floating toward him, but that was all we needed to see for our hair to stand on end. Hell, just the idea of him going into the water and not knowing if he'd be able to get back up was heart-stopping.
If this is the kind of stuff we saw the first two hours, then it can only get better.
7. You won't be able to stop watching once you start
I didn't intend on watching The Terror. I didn't even record it. I heard about it from a fellow Fanatic and decided to give it a try. I can't believe I almost missed watching this masterpiece.
There's not much TV that keeps me glued to the screen so I'm usually watching and doing something else like scouring the internet or playing games on my laptop. The Terror got my full attention from beginning to end. I couldn't turn away. I didn't want to turn away. For me, that's extremely rare.
If you haven't seen it, I hope you give The Terror a shot. It'll be worth your time.
Did you watch The Terror premiere? Will you continue to watch? Why or why not?
Hit the comments and share your thoughts!
There's still time to catch up with the nightmare when you watch The Terror online right here via TV Fanatic!
Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.