AMC’s horror series The Terror garnered some pretty rave reviews from critics—including from Paste as well—during its first season, but it’s safe to say that a second wasn’t particularly expected. Given that season 1 of The Terror was a fairly straight adaptation of author Dan Simmons’ 2007 horror novel of the same name, you’d expect the show to simply end where the novel ends. But hold on—not so fast.
As it turns out, The Terror is coming back, and now AMC is referring to the series as a “horror anthology,” wherein each season will be set in a different place and time, in the mode of American Horror Story—or probably more accurately, SyFy’s Channel Zero. Where the first season of The Terror focused on Captain Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to the Arctic in 1845, season 2 of The Terror will be set during WWII, focusing on some very timely themes. According to AMC:
The next iteration of “The Terror” anthology will be set during World War II and center on an uncanny specter that menaces a Japanese-American community from its home in Southern California to the internment camps to the war in the Pacific. Season two of “The Terror” anthology is co-created and executive produced by Alexander Woo (“True Blood”) and Max Borenstein (“Kong: Skull Island,” “Godzilla”). Woo is also set to serve as showrunner. The next season of “The Terror” anthology is expected to air on AMC in 2019 with 10 episodes.
Japanese internment camps? How can one even read those words without thinking of the current controversy caused by President Donald Trump’s orders to separate and inter immigrant families and children at the U.S. border? Even if AMC isn’t trying to stir the pot, it would he hard to pick a more timely moment to announce a show with such themes.
“The Terror has given us the opportunity to take a unique approach to the anthology format,” said David Madden, president of original programming for AMC. “We loved the concept of beginning with an actual historical event and overlaying it with a fictional horror element, and we are immensely proud of this show’s combination of cinematic scope and intimate character work. We are thrilled to announce a second season and dramatize one of the most chilling and important events of the 20th Century, guided by the vision of the gifted Alexander Woo and Max Borenstein. Our deep appreciation goes to the persistently creative and passionate showrunning team of David Kajganich and Soo Hugh, the incomparable Ridley Scott and the rest of the producing team, and the outstanding cast led by Jared Harris for launching this concept and leaving us on the precipice of terrifying new adventures as we continue with the next chapter of The Terror.”
Meanwhile, there’s also a comment from Woo, speaking on some of the show’s themes as an Asian-American.
“I’m deeply honored to be telling a story set in this extraordinary period,” said Woo. “We hope to convey the abject terror of the historical experience in a way that feels modern and relevant to the present moment. And the prospect of doing so with a majority Asian and Asian-American cast is both thrilling and humbling.”
“As a history-buff and genre geek (not to mention a conscious American today), it’s clear that truth is always scarier than fiction,” said Borenstein. “This season of ‘The Terror’ uses as its setting one of the darkest, most horrific moments in our nation’s history. The Japanese-American internment is a blemish on the nation’s conscience—and one with dire resonance to current events. I’m thrilled that AMC is giving us the chance to use that darkness as the inspiration for what I hope will be a trenchant, terrifying season of TV.”
Oh yeah, AMC is definitely poking the hornet’s nest on this one. We’ll see if The Terror somehow ends up generating alt-right protests during season 2, but we’ll be watching all the same.