The Strain – Season 1

The Strain is a vampire / supernatural horror drama tv series that debut in the summer and concluded it’s 13 episode first season. The show revolves around an old vampire who comes to New York City from Europe and unleashes his virus like vampirism with the help of a rich & powerful businessman who is ill and is promised eternal life and vigour in return. A small group of heroes led by a couple of scientists from the CDC, an exterminator, a hacker and an elderly pawn shop owner & holocaust survivor who fought the master vampire a couple of times back in Europe, seek to stop the spread of this disease that could wipe out humanity.

The series stars Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, Ruta Gedmintas, Ben Hyland, Natalie Brown & Miguel Gomez. Leslie Hope, Roger Cross, Stephen McHattie, Adriana Barazza & Inga Cadrenal form part of a large supporting cast. It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same name. Carlton Cuse serves as executive producer and showrunner. Del Toro and Hogan wrote the pilot episode, “Night Zero”, which del Toro directed.

The series starts off with a plane landing in NYC with all the lights off and the doors sealed Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team are sent to investigate. On board they find 206 corpses and four survivors. The survivors are quarantined until answers can be reached but with political pressure they are left to go home as they seem to be fine, despite the concerns of Eph and his team – Dr. Nora Martinez & Jim Kent, a CDC administrator. On the same plan a large box with a coffin inside is tagged to leave the airport with the help of Kent, as former gang banger just out of jail Gus drives it out to delivers it to the waiting hands of Thomas Eichhorst, an undead vampire acolyte of the Master, who is inside the coffin. Both Kent & Gus are unwitting accomplices – Gus is in it for the cash and Kent is promised that his wife, who suffers from cancer, will be moved to the head of the list for a new treatment. The four survivors start deteriorating in health and start to lose their hair and in case of the man, his penis, as they slowly convert to become vampires. The dead also revive and become vampires spreading out into the city, either killing and/or infecting more people during the night time.

Eldritch Palmer, an elderly billionaire invalid, is the financial muscle behind the whole process as his money is used to get the Master’s plan in place with Einchhorst doing most of the administration. An elder pawnshop owner, Professor Abraham Setrakian who battled the former Nazi general and saw the Master in action while in a concentration camp joins Eh, Nora and Jim providing them with knowledge and some weapons to fight the vampires. Setrakaian’s wife and daughter were converted to vampires long ago and he had to kill them so his beef with Einchhorst and the Master is personal. Also joining the fight is Vasiliy Fet, a once-solitary rat exterminator of Ukrainian descent and Dutch Velders, an internet hacker hired by Palmer to control the information from going out via news sites, who is miffed that she was a pawn in an evil scheme. Palmer is finally bitten by the Master and gains his health and strength but hasn’t changed completed. As the vampires keep infecting people, Eph’s ex-wife and mother to their son Zack, is also transformed. Adding to the mix is a group of vampires, led by Mr. Quinlan, the head of a band of undead hunters who are sent to destroy the vampire outbreak, who recruit Gus to join them.

Rather good series and very well done on the budget of a television show. It got good rating despite some slow movement initially but things picked up towards the end. I’d rate it high and I can’t for next season, which will also be 13 episodes – I think this one needs to be 20 plus.

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