Let’s begin with a summary of the true story…
In 1845, the Franklin Expedition set sail with two ships (the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus) and over 100 men. Their mission: to find the Arctic passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. When winter came, their ships became locked in the ice, forcing the sailors to set up camp and wait for the ice to thaw. Unfortunately, due to extremely harsh weather, the thaw never came and the ships remained trapped in the ice for years. Back in Britain, nothing was ever heard from the crew again. Eventually, numerous rescue missions were launched, and what they found created as many questions as answers… remains of campsites, a few dead bodies, letters left behind detailing the gradual breakdown of the expedition, and verbal accounts from local Inuit (think Eskimos) describing disheveled cannibals walking South into the frozen tundra… never to be seen again. There were no survivors.
It’s a story that is equal parts mysterious, intriguing and horrific… and it’s right up my alley. I like to imagine myself in survival situations and wonder if I would be smart enough, and strong enough, to survive the harsh conditions… and it doesn’t get much harsher than the Franklin Expedition. You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page. There are also some excellent documentaries available on YouTube:
That brings us to the book…
The Terror takes the few facts that were known about the Franklin Expedition and weaves a fictional tale around them. Having read the book, I can assure you that it’s worth your time. It does an excellent job of combining real life events, and popular theories, with an entertaining “what-if” story of escalating tension as supplies run low, crewmen begin to die, hope is lost, and men turn on each other in a desperate effort to survive.
Even if you don’t trust my recommendation, AMC apparently thought the book was good enough to inspire a series; which brings us to the reason for this blog. Check out the trailer:
It’s got me excited. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much else about the show. I’m not the kind of dork (I say that in an endearing way) who goes on fan-sites and reads about interviews with the director or forums discussing hidden clues in the trailer. I prefer to watch my movies and shows with as little foreknowledge as possible. So, from here on out, don’t come to me for any additional information.
Actually, that’s not quite true. I can tell you 3 more things about the show:
- It premieres March 26 on AMC.
- The novel was written by Dan Simmons, author of the best sci-fi book of all time.
- It’s produced by Ridley Scott (yes, the Ridley Scott from Alien)
Let’s do the math:
Intriguing History + Excellent Novelization of Source Material + Ridley Scott…
…and I anticipate the result will be a fantastic show! The only negative is that it’s still two months away. In the meantime, don’t forget about it and I hope I’ve piqued your interest. Read about the Franklin Expedition, watch a Youtube documentary, read the book, and enjoy the AMC series when it finally premieres.
Until Next Time,