If you are hoping for another girl-meets-vampire
story, then you are going to be sorely
disappointed when you watch FXís The Strain.
However, if you like your vampire tales with a
touch of contagion and a whole lot of gross-out
gore, then youíve hit the jackpot.
Based on the books by Guillermo del Toro (and
created by written by him as well), The Strain
is a much more pulpy take on vampire lore.
Starring Corey Stoll (and his toupee) as Dr.
Ephraim Goodweather, a scientist for the CDC,
who is called into investigate the deaths of
entire airplane full of passengers. Once Eph
(thatís his nickname) and his team, Nora (Mia
Martiniez) and Jim (Sean Astin) arrive, they
quickly discover that they arenít dealing with
just another strain of flu, and find
unexplainable biological elements sprayed
throughout the entire plane, among the dead. .
The first half of the premiere looks a lot like
the movie Outbreak, but the second half reveals
a much more sinister, and supernatural element.
Once the team discovers a nine foot box
containing nothing but soil, and the four
surviving passengers all become pale and sick,
it takes a turn for the wildly creepy when the
audience discovers that this show is about
vampires. The vampire-creature is unlike
anything weíve seen in recent popular culture,
and is framed as an entity like a parasite, that
uses humans for hosts. Heís huge, slimy and far
more monstrous than the Cullens or Salvatores.
The gross-out factor is pretty high, and I had
to watch a good bit of the four episodes Iíve
seen through my hands. But the unique twist on
the Twilight vampire is refreshing, and anything
that comes from del Toro is surely going to be
as close to art as you can get on TV. Some of
the hardest scenes to watch are those in which
the parasites are finding their way into and
through the human body, so if you have a weak
stomach, I wouldnít recommend this show AT ALL.
Itís not for the faint of heart.
Also, you if prefer quick storytelling, and
whiplash-fast plot movement, then this show
isnít for you either. Some critics have called
it slow, but I prefer methodical. It takes quite
a while to move the timeline of events, and it
almost seems like the show is spinning its
wheels in some parts. I donít mind that, it
builds the tension, and provides a much need
psychological break from the other more trying
moments of this show.
Overall, I really liked it. I am a sucker for
monsters, and I am definitely impressed with
what del Toro and writing partner Chuck Hogan
have done with this material for a television
audience. Some of the charactersí storylines are
little too heavily melodramatic, but I find it
provides a nice balance with the extreme
violence we are seeing in other moments in the
show. I liked it, but it is not for a broad
audience. Check it out, but be ready to cover