The Strain Season One Review

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I decided to look for some decent horror series to watch and this one has vampires in it so surely that fits into the horror genre right? There doesn’t seem that many about, American Horror Story being the best one in my opinion. So we sat down and watched a couple of episodes a day to get the first season done and dusted so I could review it.

“The pacing of the show is really good, it answers questions but also adds a few more into the story. It never once frustrated me and I found that there wasn’t a single boring uneventful episode in this season.”

Trivia – John Hurt portrayed Abraham Setrakian in the original pilot. Due to other commitments, he was unable to continue in the role.

Trivia – The brand of cigarettes that Mrs. Martinez smokes, Morley, is not a real brand, but it has been a popular fake cigarette brand in TV shows and movies since 1960, when it appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho. Perhaps its best-known use was as the brand preferred by the sinister and mysterious villain the “Cigarette Smoking Man” on The X-Files.

The story starts off with a plane that lands in New York but no one gets off the plane, all the blinds are down on the windows, all communication with the plane have gone dead. It’s here that Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather (Corey Stoll aka the villain from Ant-man), head of a CDC unit is called in, his team made up of him, Jim Kent(Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings) and Nora Martinez(Mía Maestro from Alias) is a rapid response unit to potential diseases and viruses that strike. Once inside the plane they find all the passengers are dead apart from four of them, Eph tries to keep the four with the CDC as he believes there is something seriously wrong with them and if you’ve watched any TV show ever you should know the main character is indeed correct.

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Eph, Nora and Jim the CDC unit

We are also taken to a shop in what seems a pretty run down area where we meet Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley from Broadchurch and Game of Thrones) who knows something is going on with the plane as he’s seen it before. It’s also worth noting that he is one sneaky old man and possibly the best character in the series to start with anyway. He knows that the people on the plane have been infected by a “virus” that turns people into vampires but not the classic vampires that we have seen before in many books, films, comics and TV shows.

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The wonderful David Bradley as an old man out on a decades old quest for revenge

Eventually we meet another character called Vasiliy Fet a vermin exterminator with a real confident demeanor who it appears can smooth talk just about any woman. Given his job he’s sent all around the city to catch rats, he notices that all the rats are leaving the sewers and goes to investigate why. This leads to him being drawn into the story of the vampiric virus and he joins up with the rest of the main characters.

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Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet, probably most peoples favourite character in the series

There’s also Gus a very dodgy Mexican guy who seems to get into trouble a lot. He’s paid to do several things that appear to be quite small by Thomas Eichorst, a very plastic shiny looking German with a clearly sinister motive. Gus’s story doesn’t really cross with the main character at least not in this season but his story is very enjoyable and it appears to expand the universe of the show to a much bigger picture as it progresses.

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Gus, who starts as a petty criminal and who’s story I enjoyed seeing unfold

Lastly is Dutch Velders a hacker that has been hired by a powerful billionaire to bring down the internet and disturb all communications in New York. A series of events also brings her into contact with all the people of the main team.

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Dutch Velders the hacker looking to make up for what she did

The Good

There’s so much good in this season the cast are all at least very solid actors. I think David Bradley as the old man who’s dealt with the vampires before is a great actor and he plays this part fantastically. Also Kevin Durand is brilliant as Fet as he has the same thinking as the old man in being able to do what needs to be done. The effects are really good and are mostly film quality in their execution, with the vampire kills done extremely well.

Thomas Eichorst is a great bad guy although he isn’t the main one, I’m not normally a fan of flashbacks in films and TV shows as I usually feel like they’re taking us away from the main story for a while and end up thinking why can’t we just get back to main story. However in this the flashbacks are well done and really add to a couple of characters.

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Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichorst plays evil very well!

The pacing of the show is really good, it answers questions but also adds a few more into the story. It never once frustrated me and I found that there wasn’t a single boring uneventful episode in this season.

The Bad

There are a few things to write about here not a great deal but a couple that I didn’t like. The first one being the main character really needs a good punch in the throat, he’s an arrogant, know it all, smug annoyance most of the time. I’m not sure if it’s lazy writing but there’s a part where he makes a smarmy comment asking who one of the other character’s stole something from despite the fact that a few days earlier he’d been stealing stuff for the group himself.

The Master who is the main vampire behind it all is superbly done his quick movement as he searches out victims and gets up to evil is done really well. His voice is creepy as he calls to the other vampires, however there is one major flaw with him, his appearance. He is hooded a lot to start with and we don’t ever see his face but when we do this is where things go wrong. He goes from a hooded creepy villain to what a Buffy the Vampire Slayer villain would look like if they were CGI. I mean it’s not enough to put you off him as a villain I just feel they should have kept him hooded and we gain nothing from seeing his face that couldn’t have been done with just seeing his glowing eyes in the dark hood.

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The Master for me would have been better off staying like this, I won’t post what he looks like so you can make your own mind up!

Best Episode

Episode 8 Creatures of the Night is my favourite episode and stands out for me when it comes to story development and excitement. It finally sees what will become the main group of characters all brought together. It comes after a confrontation with Eichorst leading to the characters all being stuck in a petrol station with vampires closing in on them from everywhere.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started watching this show but I’m glad I did. It has a great pacing to it as I mentioned and every episode was fun to watch with some good character development. The finale was really well done as it left me excited to watch the next series, so expect a review for that sometime in the next few weeks!

Overall Rating

85

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