The 10-episode series hails from executive producers Ridley Scott, David Kajganich, and Soo Hugh and is based on Dan Simmons' 2007 novel. The book itself is based on the true story of the disappearance of the crews of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror as they tried to find the elusive Northwest Passage.
The Terror stars Jared Harris as Captain Francis Crozier, Tobias Menzies as Captain James Fitzjames, Ciarán Hinds as Sir John Franklin, Paul Ready as Dr. Henry Goodsir, Adam Nagaitis as Cornelius Hickey, Nive Nielsen as Lady Silence, Ian Hart as Thomas Blanky and Trystan Gravelle as Henry Collins.
SYFY WIRE's Tara Bennett recently sat down with EPs and showrunners Kajganich and Hugh to chat about The Terror and how the story first came up on their radar.
"When I heard Dan was writing a book about it — I was a fan from his other novels of his — I couldn't have been more excited," Kajganich (who already knew about the Franklin Expedition) told us. "I mean the idea of taking real history, and I knew he was gonna be quite rigorous about the research, and fusing it with this kind of gothic horror element; I just couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy and read it and it was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. And it just seems so perfect for cinema or television."
They then talked about The Terror really being a character piece that boasts multiple genres. "In addition to being a great character drama we have multiple genres to pull on and it's a high-adventure story, it's kind of an existential horror story, there's a bit of a mystery to it, so we never felt like we were going to AMC with a drama," said Kajganich, with Hugh calling it "a survival story" as well.
On the series, the members of the expedition are being hunted by a "quasi-elusive monster," which is pretty similar to what happened in Jaws (the comparison strongly comes to mind).
"We both believe the Number One rule of horror is: don't show. You want to hold it back, not just to play games with the audience, but only just to build that tension and the audience will see that every character will have their own monsters to deal with," Hugh said.
Kajganich went a bit further, adding: "We also cared a lot about making sure that the experience of the show felt like a subjective experience. That you were with these men and they don't know what this is. They have to build it out of little facts and observations here and there. They don't know anything about the mythology it comes from so it felt important if we were going to be a character-driven story to stay with what the characters know instead of take a God's eye-view of it all and let the audience in on things that the characters didn’t have at their disposal."
Check out our video interview for more goodies from the showrunners, including their thoughts about getting such an amazing cast for the horror series and what episode they're most nervous to see the audience's reaction to.
The Terror airs Monday nights on AMC.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.