Review of "The Strain" on FX From The TV MegaSite

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The Strain

"The Strain" review by Sundi 7/13/14
Airs Sundays at 10pm on FX

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 your eyes!  

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Page updated 7/22/14

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