Mad Men

There are a couple new horror anthology series in the works, hoping to unseat American Horror Story from its horror anthology throne. It’s hard to compete with a cast that stacked. One such new series is The Terror, the adaptation of Dan Simmons’ 2007 bestseller being executive produced by Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker that AMC gave a 10-episode series order to earlier this year. Adapted by David Kajganich (A Bigger Splash), The Terror is set in 1847 and provides a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition to find the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, which all sounds very historical and normal, the kind of story that might be shared on Drunk History. In real life, Franklin’s crew died from pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other mortal ailments. But in The Terror, they’re hunted by a mysterious and terrifying beast dwelling in the frozen wilderness. Twist! And as of today, The Terror has its cast. It’s certainly no AHS billing, but it’s promising.

Mad Men’s Jared Harris is returning to AMC, playing Francis Crozier, captain of the HMS Terror and second-in-command of the royal expedition. He’s a smart and ambitious Irishman who has clawed his way up the ranks of the British Royal Navy but has become increasingly disillusioned by the politics and pageantry of it all. Ciarán Hinds (best known as Mance Rayder on Game Of Thrones, but also powerful presence on the underrated and short-lived limited series Political Animals) has been cast as the expedition leader himself, Sir John Franklin. Paul Ready (Utopia), Adam Nagaitis (Suffragette), and, most enticingly, Tobias Menzies (who is spectacular in everything he has ever done but especially in Outlander) round out the cast.

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“The story of man’s battle with nature and an unknown predator makes The Terror a gripping and imaginative series, and calls for a special kind of actor,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Jared Harris and look forward to watching him transform into the complex and fascinating character of Captain Crozier. We are also delighted to work with this versatile and talented cast and share with audiences the despair and horror inside this journey of survival, hope and recognition.”

The adaptation has been in the works for the past three years. The Terror is being billed as an anthology series, and it’s unclear exactly how that will manifest. Will the series take on an entirely different historical event to distort with sci-fi elements if it receives a second chapter? Other spooky boat stories? (Now that we think about it, it’s surprising American Horror Story hasn’t set a season on a ship yet. At this very moment, Ryan Murphy is furiously jotting down notes about what a psychosexual thriller set on the Titanic might look like.) Will season two of The Terror be from the perspective of the monster, played by Menzies? We would watch that. When the series order was first announced, Stillerman noted that AMC has been “extremely interested” in getting into the anthology game. Who isn’t these days?

Kajganich and Soo Hugh (The Killing) are serving as co-showrunners for The Terror, which is expected to debut some time in 2017.

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[via Coming Soon]