The Terror: Infamy premiered on AMC this week. What, if anything, does it have to do with The Terror Season 1?
The Terror: Infamy is one of the most important TV shows on the air right now, but, as it is technically the second season of an anthology drama, there has been some confusion over whether one has to watch The Terror Season 1 before starting The Terror Season 2.
Don’t worry, friends, I am here to guide you through this confusing Peak TV era…
No, you do not have to have watched The Terror Season 1 to understand what is happening in The Terror: Infamy. In fact, the seasons are not only completely different stories with only a genre connection (the stories are both supernaturally-tinged historical horror), but have almost completely different behind-the-scenes teams making them. (Yes, the cast is different, too.)
In the first season, creator David Kajganich and co-showrunner Soo Hugh adapted Dan Simmons’ novel The Terror about the failed Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage in the 1840s. In the second season, co-showrunners Alexander Woo and Max Borenstein are telling a story about Japanese-Americans incarcerated at internment camps during World War II.
While Ridley Scott has executive produced both, the separate seasons are telling their own stories, complete with unique creative voices steering the ship. Den of Geek was part of a group of reporters who got to visit The Terror: Infamy set earlier this year. We asked Woo about the decision to more explicitly reveal the supernatural aspect of The Terror: Infamy‘s story at the end of the first episode, where as The Terror Season 1 held that aspect of the storytelling a bit longer.
(Note: This bit contains some spoilers for The Terror Season 1…)
“It’s a different hand,” Woo told us. “I liked Dave Kajganich and I thought he did a fantastic job, but it’s a different show. Apart from [production designer] Jonathan [McKinstry] and Danielle Roderick, our researcher, everyone else is new, so the impulses are a little bit different. Dave had a very specific reason for holding the reveal of The Tuunbaq until when he did.”
McKinstry, who has done the gorgeous, historically-accurate production design for both seasons of The Terror, gave some insight into the reveal of The Tuunbaq.
“There’s an interesting story about that,” said McKinstry. “I think it was Episode 6 [that] The Tuunbaq was going to attack The Terror and rip it apart and kill a bunch of people. And about six weeks before we started shooting the first episode, they discovered The Terror completely intact, so they had to completely rewrite that whole sequence.”
Woo noted that, while The Terror: Infamy ends its first episode with Yuko, the show’s supernatural character, stitching a torn flap of skin back onto her face, there is still much more supernatural mystery to explore.
“It leaves a sense of mystery because you don’t know entirely what that is,” said Woo. “She can sew up her face, but it still leads quite a lot on the table, which we have to unpack from there on. She does a lot more than sew her face.”
The Terror: Infamy airs on Mondays at 9pm ET on AMC.
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