What could be better than a horror-type show on television? One that's done really well, obviously. The Strain is a new show airing on FX from Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse, based on the novel trilogy by del Toro and Chuck Hogan. There has also been a comic adaptation from Dark Horse Comics. I haven't read the novels but have read the comic.
The episode opens a little differently than the comic. If you saw the trailer or commercial for the show, you’ve probably seen it involves a plane with a bit of a mystery—everyone on board is found dead after the plane lands.
The episode shows the plane before it lands and gives you more set up for what’s about to occur. In the comic, it jumps right to the plane already at JFK International Airport and the CDC being called to the scene. The downside to this is it’s almost as if they slightly show their cards too soon. We get a tiny glimpse to what we can expect in the series. What happens is everyone on the plane appears to be dead. In this episode, we see more of the actual investigation of the plane before the bodies are moved.
It’s always interesting to see the little differences between different adaptations. There are some parts very similar, but the show actually fleshes out some of the characters a little better. I have to admit I am curious to see how the show and comic compare to the novels.
The show delivers on building up the mystery and overall premise. There are some scenes where the tension really builds. The special FX are pretty good and there are some freaky scenes. Of course those little worm things are really gross. We've seen many attempts at creepy shows but The Strain looks like they may deliver what we would want. At the heart of it, this is a show that deals with vampires. This first episode doesn't fall back on the tired vampire tropes we've seen too many times. Along with the title, it feels more like an outbreak story. There is a sense of mystery as the investigators try to figure out what's going on.
In other words, there is some meat to the show. This first episode does have to set up the series. We have to get introduced to the characters. There's a pretty good balance of delivering this information while keeping the show moving at a nice pace. The other thing to note is, the actors do a pretty great job in their roles. You can feel where they're coming from and no one overplays their roles. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the show plays out once we fully get into the thick of things.
The series is off to a promising start. More and more we're getting hungry for quality television and The Strain may satisfy our desire with the current seasonal void of new television programming. Don't miss out on the premiere. Set your DVRs or viewing parties. This episode airs Sunday, July 13, at 10:00 p.m. on FX.