The Strain Review: Guillermo del Toro’s Vampires Come to FX

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I’ve often been leery about book to TV (or movie) adaptations and when I first heard that The Strain was coming to FX, I was a bit apprehensive – more often than not the adaptation follows the gist of the source material and goes off on wild tangents of filler content in order to try and prolong the series.

The_Strain_promotional_poster

The Strain Promotional Poster

It’s no secret I’m a huge vampire fan, and I was pleasantly surprised with The Strain trilogy – penned by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – when I read first read it. I enjoyed the premise, and it deviated just enough from traditional vampire lore and added just a touch of “creature” horror to make the story stand out from all the other vampire fiction out there. It’s been a couple years since I’ve read trilogy and after hearing rumours it was going to be turned into a TV series, I wasn’t sure what to think. At the time I was watching Stephen King’s Under the Dome TV adaptation and, while not to bad, I was finding too many of the characters and story lines had been changed, merged, or non-existant from the book version.

I did a bit more looking around trying to find out more about The Strain TV adaptation and much to my delight, I discovered that del Toro originally pushed the idea as a TV series years ago. When he couldn’t find a studio to pick it up, he proceeded with penning a trilogy with Chuck Hogan and publishing it in book form instead. When I read this and thought back to my experience reading the books, it definitely felt like the books were partially written with the hopes that one day they would eventually make the jump to the small screen.

I think FX did a great job on the first teaser trailer for The Strain, giving viewers just enough to pique their interest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvnsZcq3Nto

When I saw “The Pupil” teaser, I was sold and hoped that the special effects seen in the teaser were an indication of FX’s commitment to special effects in the series.

Now six episodes in, I can say that my reservations about this latest book-to-TV adaptation have (so far) been alleviated. The show follows the books fairly faithfully from my recollection, and it should be noted that The Strain isn’t for the faint of heart and does contain as much gore as is allowable on the small screen. I wasn’t sure when I first saw Corey Stoll (Rep. Peter Russo in House of Cards) as the main character, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, but he is doing a great job in portraying Eph. Apparently John Hurt was cast as Professor Abraham Setrakian, and some footage had to be re-shot when he pulled out, but I’m really enjoying David Bradley (Argus Filch in the Harry Potter series and Walder Frey in HBO’s Game of Thrones) as Setrakian – just the right mix of age and crazy to pull it off.

Check out what’s in store this season on The Strain below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpf4ORAykk8

My hope is that the series continues along the same vein as the first six episodes, and gets renewed for the entire Trilogy. del Toro has already indicated that the series will run between 3-5 seasons and won’t be extended beyond the current novels. I’m curious to see how they handle some of the scenes, but given the effects so far, I’m confident the crew of The Strain can pull it off. Personally, I much prefer watching a show that has the entire storyline penned out as opposed to shows that run off on tangents when ratings are good just to prolong the series.

Are you watching The Strain? If so, have you read the books as well? Let us know what your thoughts are on the series so far (spoiler-free if possible) in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

Featured image courtesy MoviePilot

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