(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the Season 1 finale of “The Terror.”)
And they pretty much all died — except for Jared Harris.
Wait, you weren’t expecting that to be the ending of Season 1 of Ridley Scott’s “The Terror”? Well, clearly you weren’t one of the fans doing their homework over the last 10 episodes by diving into the true events of the horrifying Franklin Expedition the series is based on.
If you were, you’d have been prepared for Monday’s finale of the small-screen adaptation of Dan Simmons’ novel. And that’s exactly what showrunners Soo Hugh and David Kajganich wanted you to be when you tuned in to the season-closer of a series Scott told TheWrap is “better” than a horror film.
“I’ve always found the marker of a really good ending, whether its a show or a season, to be whether or not you feel it’s inevitable, that nothing surprised you in the end,” Hugh told TheWrap. “You may have been surprised on the journey, but at the very end the core feeling you’re left with is, ‘of course.’ And Dave and I were so proud of our ending, the way we leave our show, and we hope fans will be as well. No one should be surprised, but hopefully they will be moved.”
While AMC has not officially greenlit a second season of “The Terror,” Scott told TheWrap there are talks of what he’d do next (Hugh and Kajganich have already said they would step away from the project after the first season), if the show — which was originally promoted as AMC’s first anthology series — gets renewed.
“It’s difficult too, because in this one, of course, they all die,” Scott laughed. “So we’ve been coming back to [AMC] with suggestions for a second season, not necessarily along the similar lines. But let’s say, this comes up in the AMC title as being almost under the heading of a bit of a horror film, OK? But I think it’s not only a horror film, but I think it’s better than that.”
Set in the Canadian Arctic in the 1800s, the series is a fictionalized account of a British expedition that becomes stuck in the ice. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the crew — which includes Harris as Captain Francis Crozier, Ciarán Hinds as Sir John Franklin, and Tobias Menzies as Captain James Fitzjames — was haunted by a creature called the Tuunbaq. In the end, only Crozier was left standing, but a broken shell of a man.
“It’s a combination of real life fear — it’s interesting that the ship is called Terror as well — real life fear and trepidation leading to terror,” Scott added. “And that gives it the horror banner. But I think the characterizations in it are really special. So coming up with another show, almost an entirely different story is the target next. And I think we had a very good run of the ship with [AMC], so I think they’re looking for more.”
And those “special” characterizations are why Kajganich says “The Terror” worked best on the small screen.
“The question really is is the horror being driven by character?” Kajganich said. “And if it is, then television is a fantastic opportunity, you know these longer form stories. I think that’s something a lot of people haven’t thought about. That a genre like horror can be driven by character and can benefit from six hours, eight hours, 10 hours, multiple seasons. And that’s certainly something we loved about this experience,” he explained.
“We knew we were in the horror genre, but we knew we wanted to drive it with character. And the chance to do that over 10 hours is just not something you would ever have in cinema. You would never have a character-based horror franchise that lasted five films. It would just be sort of unthinkable. But we got to do it on TV. So it could be a boon for character-based horror in the most profound way.”