Earlier in the week, AMC released a trailer for the second season of The Terror, and it looks like we’re in for another season of pure prestige television escapism. In its first season, the show was a horror-movie retelling of John Franklin’s doomed search for the Northwest Passage. It was a beautiful and compelling portrait of men fighting nature, men fighting themselves, and men fighting a CGI polar bear, but one of its greatest strengths was that it had very little relevance to current political developments: No one is searching for the Northwest Passage anymore, and we’re winning the war on polar bears, with a little help from computers. Judging from the trailer, the second season of The Terror will also provide viewers with a welcome respite from the day-to-day awfulness of modernity, because it’s hard to see how any part of this story, a work of historical fiction set nearly 80 years ago, might be analogous to anything the United States of America is up to today:
Wow, what a long time ago that was: The clothing is funny-looking, and so are the cars! It will be fascinating to explore the one time in our long national history that we turned the racism dial a little too far, and reassuring to think about how different things are today. For instance, The Terror: Infamy is set inside the (fictional) Colinas de Oro War Relocation Center. We don’t even have War Relocation Centers anymore! We may have Central Processing Centers and Border Patrol Stations and Family Residential Centers and War Relocation Centers, but by God we do not have concentration camps! Wait. The point was, War Relocation Centers like the one depicted in The Terror: Infamy had schools, newspapers, general stores, shapeshifting Japanese folk monsters known as bakemono, and even baseball games! The amenities may not have done much to make life under internment less horrible or inhumane, but we aren’t offering prisoners anything of the sort anymore, except maybe for the monster part, so there’s really no basis for comparison. We’ll all get the chance to pat ourselves on the back on August 12, when the second season of The Terror premieres on AMC. It promises to be a season of prestige television that America will never forget.