Vamps & Hunters: Corey Stoll (Ephraim Goodweather); David Bradley (Abraham Setrakian); Mía Maestro (Nora Martinez); Kevin Durand (Vasiliy Fet); Ben Hyland (Zach Goodweather); Richard Sammel (Thomas Eichorst); Miguel Gómez (Augustin ‘Gus’ Elizalde); Jonathan Hyde (Eldritch Palmer); Ruta Gedmintas (Dutch Velders)
My Take: Vampires have invaded New York and it is up to 2 CDC doctors (Eph & Nora), an elderly antiques dealer (Setrakian), a rat exterminator (Fet), a kid (Zach) and a hacker (Dutch) to prevent the Master from destroying the world. Leading the vampire charge is an evil immortal Nazi, Eichorst, and in the shadows is a secret organization of vampires hunting and destroying The Master’s brood and they have recruited a low-level criminal, Gus to help. Sounds pretty damn cheesy doesn’t it and it was but in good way. The Strain is based on a trilogy of books written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogen: The Strain, The Fall, The Night Eternal. A plane lands in New York and every passenger is dead. There are no signs of trauma and it seems that they all just went to sleep. Enter Dr. Eph Goodweather and Dr. Nora Martinez who soon discover that 4 of passengers are alive. The media attention and the status of 2 of the passengers -a Goth rock star and a high-powered businesswoman with political connections – forces Eph’s boss to release the 4 from quarantine. You should never release people from quarantine when you have no idea what the illness. You can guess how things go from this point.
I read the books as they were released and felt they got better after the first book. I’m hoping the same can be said for the TV adaptation. I wasn’t impressed with the first couple of episodes but decided to keep going with it and I’m glad I did. Once we get past what happens to the patients that were released from quarantine it seemed better. There were a couple of episodes that were dull and more of the story could have been told if those boring parts were omitted. Yes, character and story development. Once the virus or rather the worms that cause the vampire infection begins to spread, the show did get better and I think the second season will be more interesting as the world crumbles. I’m a sucker for the apocalypse.
Final Thoughts: While I liked The Strain there were a few things that hurt it. Some of the acting is questionable and feels like the actors are overdoing their performance to translate the book personae’s to the screen. It’s not horrible but it can make some scenes cringe worthy. There are wasted scenes or scenes that could be condensed to tell more of the story. On the other hand the special effects and make-up on the vampires is pretty good although The Master is not as good as his minions. The vampires are reminiscent of the vampires from Blade 2, which was directed by del Toro and clearly where he drew from for The Strain books. I would recommend watching this series when/if it comes on Netflix for those who missed it’s summer run. Just keep in mind that the acting has poor moments and you might need to slog through the first couple of episodes to get to the better part of the story.