With “True Blood” amidst its final season, vampire fanatics will surely relocate their weekly loyalties from HBO to the FX Network for “The Strain;” a high concept thriller where a group of disease researchers team with an assembly of everyday New Yorkers to investigate and combat an ancient and evil string of vampirism.
The series is adapted from the best selling 2009 novel of the same name. Written by acclaimed film director Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the story is told through the lens of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather.
Played by Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Dr. Goodweather is an epidemiologist for the CDC Canary of New York City. His job brings him to a mysterious incident aboard a plane. Flying from New York to Berlin, the entirety of the ship’s inhabitants are dead upon arrival.
Stoll, a Golden Globe Nominee, does well with his role. The forensic work conducted by Dr. Goodweather and his partner Dr. Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) is wonderfully executed due to Stoll’s commanding presence. Both he and Maestro speak with striking confidence, making their on-screen chemistry palpable.
The culprit of the disaster appears to be a monster beneath the flight deck. While Dr. Goodweather and his partners search for answers, supernatural forces are at play. This includes a man who does not age and his employer, an elderly billionaire obsessed with eternal life. They were responsible for the plane’s demonic cargo.
This plotline, and the show’s gothic aesthetic, will resonate with fans of del Toro’s dark-fantasy work. The makeup artists have given most of the cast a pale, sickly complexion. Similar to the creatures of del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the monster in “The Strain” is a menacing creation.
Del Toro directs the show’s pilot and serves as executive producer. Even though some moments are campy, he knows what he’s doing. The scenes are driven by atmosphere and suspense thanks to del Toro’s documentary style camera work. A sense of realism is presented and it’s chilling.
If the characters and direction aren’t enough, “The Strain” is scary. It’s television’s newest vampire series fans need to watch.
“The Strain” will air Sunday nights on FX at 10pm starting July 13th. It has been greenlit for a 13 episode inaugural season.
By Kyle Edwards