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THE TERROR: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars: Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, Paul Ready, Adam Nagaitis, Ian Hart, Ciaran Hinds, Nive Nielsen
Executive Producer: Ridley Scott
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Lionsgate
Features: Three featurettes
Length: 473 minutes
Release Date: August 21, 2018

You know what men are like when they are desperate. We both do.”

Shows ***1/2

If there’s one big mystery surrounding AMC’s show The Terror, it’s that the disc is billed as the complete first season. By the time you finish watching it all, you’re going to be wondering how a second season is even possible.

The Terror is a historically accurate drama about two ships from the Royal British Navy attempting to sail through the Arctic in 1858 to find an elusive passage to Asia that could really open up trade routes. The first ship, the Erebus, is commanded by Captain John Franklin (Hinds), and the second, the Terror, is led by Captain Francis Crozier (Harris).

The ships are filled with officers, sailors and marines, and for some, this isn’t their first journey north. Early on, it plays out like an aquatic Downton Abbey, showing officers enjoying sumptuous meals in luxurious quarters, while the rest of the men eat tinned food in the decks below. What do they talk about?

Soon, the topic becomes survival, as the ice closes in on all directions, stranding the ships. We’re told the boats carry enough provisions for 5 years in case of an emergency, and that’s good, because by the time the season ends, 3 years have passed. What happens in the interim is a struggle against the elements and of man’s own nature, but something else…are the men being hunted?

They encounter Eskimo (or Esquimaux, as subtitled) and must learn to communicate with them. Do they know a supernatural secret that might sense of it all?

I don’t want to go into plot details…firstly, because there are many, and secondly, the less you know, the more you’ll enjoy the show. Suffice to say, it’s an astonishing character drama filled with historical detail that evolves into pure horror.

The cast is first rate, but I would say like in Game of Thrones, be cautious about picking favorites. You never know who will be gone at any time.

This is a fascinating and absorbing show that supposedly will have a second season. As mentioned, I can’t even imagine how that will come to pass, but if it does, I’ll definitely be on board.

Video ****

Although not 4K, you won’t find anything to complain about with the look of this series…much monochromatic because of the snow and ice, but that’s where the level of crispness and detail really come through. Regardless of lighting, all colors come through naturally, and ever shot is amazingly clean…one of the year’s best!

Audio ***

The uncompressed audio is pretty good, especially in the larger sequences, but not balanced as well as some. Dialogue in quieter scenes is often so low that we opted for subtitles while we watched. The music is very good as well.

Features *

The final disc has three very short production featurettes on the series, the cast, and Ridley Scott.

Summary:

AMC has delivered another winning show in the vein of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, but taking us to a different and unforgiving world. It’s bleak, powerful, and yes, sometimes quite frightening…it’s definitely worth a look.

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