By Darren Franich
July 19, 2019 at 07:00 AM EDT
Ed Araquel/AMC
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  • TV Show
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Don’t ever let anyone tell you about the good ol’ days.

On The Terror: Infamy, it’s the early 1940s, and Chester (Derek Mio) is living the nightmare called history. His girlfriend Luz (Cristina Rodlo) gets pregnant. Abortion isn’t legal, and forget about family planning: She’s Latina, he’s the son of Japanese immigrants, and there are freakin’ miscegenation laws.

Tensions ride high all around. “You ever get the feeling that you’re being watched?” Chester asks his friend Walt (Lee Shorten). “Yeah, all the time,” Walt says, laughing. “I’m a Japanese guy in the middle of a war with Japan.”

With Infamy, this anthology series moves away from season 1’s Arctic horror, crafting a family drama by mixing supernatural myth with true tragedy.

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, Chester’s neighborhood gets uprooted to an Oregon internment camp. Infamy movingly portrays how Executive Order 9066 turned whole American communities (including that of Infamy star — and series consultant — George Takei and his family in the ’40s) into wartime casualties. Paranoia shrouds every interaction.

There’s some kind of monster, too: a ghostly woman named Yuko (Kiki Sukezane) with inexplicable powers for reasons untantalizingly mysterious. Infamy falls back on horror clichés whenever Yuko shows up, but its vision of encompassing paranoia is scary enough.

Grade: B+

The Terror: Infamy premieres Aug. 12 on AMC.

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