The Strain (2014–2017)
TV Series | TV-MA | 43 min | Drama , Fantasy , Horror
A mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism ravages the city of New York.
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I just appreciate somebody trying to do something well.
Most of this show, I loved. The premise, the story, the pacing, the tension were well done. The special effects were awesome, frightening. Props and sets, “neo-Lovecraftian.” Even the lighting is noticeably great. This is a completely unique and well-produced series.
Some of the negative reviews are accurate. Characters do sometimes behave bizarrely for their circumstances: a pair of air-traffic controllers go running out on the tarmac to inspect a mysterious passenger jet and drop lines about how “a plane is like a house with wings!” as if they’ve never seen one before. A painfully two-dimensional hired con acts inappropriately aggressive toward a money-paying client, etc. Some of this behavior left me scratching my head.
In the end, however, these shortcomings did not ruin the show for me. I still enjoyed it immensely. It is well done, terrifying.
A worthy addition to Sunday’s line up with Game of Thrones between season, Mad Men down the line and True Blood coming to an end.Created by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan. With Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde. A mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism ravages the city of New York.
TV Preview: ‘The Strain’ – Season 2
FX’s The Strain intrigued and confused audiences last summer. This weekend, it returns for a second round on FX and hopefully it will continue to do more of the former and less of the latter. The first episode back, “BK, N.Y.,” isn’t the best hour of television I’ve seen lately, but for fans of the brand of horror that the series presents, it will likely be pretty satisfying.
Events in “BK, N.Y.” pick up just after the end of season one. Abraham (David Bradley) goes looking for The Master (Robin Atkin Downes), while Vasiliy (Kevin Durand) reinforces their defenses, and Ephraim (Corey Stoll) lets alcohol interfere with choosing the right path forward. There’s action and movement on a number of subplots, a frightening encounter with the dark minions, the unexpected return of a recurring character, and a longer look at the scarred face, hooded one.
The Strain is stalled further by an extended, ten-minute prologue before we even get back to the familiar. We see a young Abraham being told a story by an old woman, so there’s flashback within flashback. The tale is interesting and does inform on current events, but it’s quite long and there doesn’t seem to be an immediate need for it to be, confusing the situation even more. Perhaps it would have been better to tease this out over multiple weeks, or at least present it as fact instead of legend, telling the audience whether or not they can really trust this version of events, the way it is told calling into question its legitimacy, even as it matches up with the main plot.
Another thing The Strain has to deal with in its second season, considering there’s no time jump, and this is an issue many series have to tackle at one time or another, is the character of Zach Goodweather. Being a kid, viewers would notice a huge growth spurt over the mere hours between seasons. Whether because of this or for another reason, young actor Ben Hyland has been let go and replaced with Max Charles (The Neighbors). Max doesn’t really look that much like Ben unless you squint real hard, so perhaps the series is hoping the different look will make us forget about the quick aging. It does not.
Overall, I do enjoy The Strain. It gets one’s adrenaline pumping, and while some of the makeup is hokey, the general look and feel of the show is pretty cool. The acting isn’t bad and the story doesn’t seem like it’s been done a million times before, as many other shows do. However, there are some very, very good programs on right now (Hannibal, Humans, Mr. Robot), and by comparison, The Strain pales. As a genre series catering to a specific audience, I think it works well. But in the larger television landscape, it’s likely to fail to appeal to the masses and really take off like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones has, lacking something vital and hard to quantify. I’ll probably keep watching it, but it won’t make my must-see-as-soon-as-it-airs list.
The Strain returns Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00VJIIWH0]TV Preview: ‘The Strain’ – Season 2 FX’s The Strain intrigued and confused audiences last summer. This weekend, it returns for a second round on FX and hopefully it will continue to do more of ]]>