Vampires are once again things that go bump in the night thanks to creators Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan as they unleash “The Strain” onto the small screen. Based on their book trilogy of the same name, the series centers around a re-imagining of vampires that strives to strip away the sparkles and return the creature to its fearsome roots. While the first episode is rather light on vampires it does have more than its share of creep-out moments; just wait till the scene that will make you forever uncomfortable with Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”.
The human side of the show is a little less engaging as anyone with a passing knowledge of typical television characters will no doubt find quite a few cliches lurking about in the pilot. Leading the human side is Dr. Ephraim Goodweather who is tasked with finding out the cause of over two-hundred deaths aboard a plane that had just landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He is also going through a custody battle with his estranged wife over their son and he refuses to sign the divorce papers despite covering up an ongoing coworker affair. Stop me if you’ve heard any of this before.
Thankfully the plot hops along at a constant rate and all the main characters are introduced, including Sean Astin of Goonies Lord of the Rings fame, and bump into each other (think Crash but with far more parasitic worms) and finally we are introduced to the character of Professor Abraham Setrakian who is by far the most interesting human in the show so far. Played by David Bradley (who you might know as Walder Frey from Game of Throne; hopefully he won’t be planning any weddings in this show), Abraham goes back and forth between campy-horror wise man and tragic grandfather figure with a dark past and both parts are well played by Bradley. Overall the show is off to a good start and now that much of the world building and character introductions are out of the way the pace should pick up significantly over the coming season. If you’re looking for some summer horror fun then “The Strain” should not be missed as it crawls out of the coffin each Sunday on FX.
Photo Source: 20th Television