THE STRAIN Recap: “Loved Ones”

by     Posted 4 days ago

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In “The Disappeared,” I criticized The Strain when it came to emotional moments.  The show has excelled in badassery, but its character interactions can feel forced, particularly during supposedly tender moments.  After “Loved Ones,” though, I retract that statement in part.  The Strain went back to its early episode formula; that is, it showed a full transformation and the effects because of it, and for the most part, it worked really well.  What didn’t work was everything else.  But The Strain knows just how to insert enough of its entertainment worms into us that even when it’s not at its best, it still keeps us hooked. Part of “Loved Ones” was excellent, and part of it was ridiculous, but would it be The Strain if it were anything less?  Hit the jump to find out who put me in charge.

THE STRAIN Recap: “The Disappeared”

by     Posted 11 days ago

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After last week’s excellent Walking Dead-esque “Creatures of the Night,” things went back to normal in The Strain‘s “The Disappeared.”  The gang continues to assemble, the virus spreads, more backstory about Abraham and Eichhorst and the Master is revealed, and we learned that even in times of apocalypse, there’s plenty of time for lovemakin’ (but only if you make it clear to the person immediately afterwards that it meant nothing to you).  Also, that kids are really into fighting vampires, and are not afraid to burn some bodies along the way.  Hit the jump for why “there’s power in naming things.”

Sean Astin Talks THE STRAIN, Those Worms, Working With Guillermo del Toro, and His New Film THE SURFACE

by     Posted 13 days ago

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From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse, The Strain tells the story of an epic battle for survival between man and vampire.  When Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control in New York City, and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that is eerily similar to an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, they quickly realize that they are waging war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show also stars David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown and Jack Kesy.

During a recent interview to talk about his work on The Strain and the experience he’s had on the TV show, actor Sean Astin (who plays CDC worker Jim Kent) talked about what got him most excited to sign on, being a part of a new vampire world, the challenges of filming the convenience store episode (Episode 8), why he wanted to invest in this role, his most fun memories from the season, and working with practical and digital effects.  He also talked about how and why he ended up working in a movie theater in Westwood when he was 16, what’s next for him, what draws him to various projects, and whether he keeps up with fan feedback on social media.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are spoilersThe Strain airs on Sunday nights on FX.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Creatures of the Night”

by     Posted 18 days ago

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Something is going on with current TV shows where (this week in particular) a capsule, single-focus episode sneaks in around mid-season.  It’s a good thing.  It’s also a great way for character development, instead of having the plot jump all over town, whipping from story to story.  The device also makes the show feel more novelistic, and acts as a great stand-alone (one of those episodes, too, that you can point to to get new viewers interested).  “Creatures of the Night” was all of that, and it continued The Strain‘s track record of improving every single week.  Hit the jump to put it to a vote: “who wants to stay and die?”

Guillermo del Toro Talks THE STRAIN, the Learning Curve of TV, Casting David Bradley, Looking to Season 2, the Overall 5-Season Plan, and More

by     Posted 18 days ago

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From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse, The Strain tells the story of an epic battle for survival between man and vampire.  When Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control in New York City, and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that is eerily similar to an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, they quickly realize that they are waging war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show also stars David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown and Jack Kesy.

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, executive producer Guillermo del Toro talked about why he wanted to do a horror TV series, the idea of vampires as a predatory species, why he wanted to direct the pilot, supervising all of the visual and make-up effects on the series, why David Bradley was the right actor for Setrakian, how the events of Episode 8 will change the group dynamic, why he thinks they’ll need three to five seasons to tell this story, going forward in the story while they go back in the mythology, learning the medium of TV, and how excited he is to get to work on Season 2.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

THE STRAIN Recap: “For Services Rendered”

by     Posted 25 days ago

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In “For Services Rendered,” The Strain slowed down the monster onslaught (somewhat) in order to reveal some backstories and world-building.  What it really proved, though, was that all of this is about Abraham versus Eichorst, and younguns need to be seated and learn a thing or two.  (Abraham learned about these vampires, and how to kill them, from his Bubbie, heard?  An Armenian-Romanian Bubbie, no less).  The episode also introduced us to a brand new friend (or possibly foe …).  Hit the jump, if your sword-cane is ready.

FX Renews THE STRAIN for Season 2; The Virus Will Spread in Summer 2015

by     Posted 30 days ago

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There were rumors that The Strain got the go-ahead for a second season, but now FX has made it official, running with the appropriate press release title, “The Strain to Spread Though the Summer Of 2015.”  For anyone who hasn’t given the show a shot just yet, I highly recommend it.  We’ve seen six episodes of season 1 thus far and while I can’t say every moment rocks high quality writing, performances and believable behavior, there’s no denying that it’s still a blast to watch.

No spoilers here, but the show kicks off with a plane landing at JFK.  It touches down safe and sound, but when there isn’t a single peep from the pilot, crew or any of the passengers after, the CDC is called in to investigate what is dubbed a “dead airplane.”  But the thing is, the passengers aren’t dead.  They start waking up and that’s when crazy things start going down.  Hit the jump for more on The Strain season 2 renewal.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Occultation”

by     Posted 32 days ago

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It has been as much of a surprise to me as anybody that The Strain has gotten consistently better week by week.  Now the show’s story is at a point where the monsters can speak for themselves (or at least, their forked python-esque tongues can), because we certainly don’t need much of that dialogue spoken by anyone else (save for Abraham).  “Occultation” showed that everyone is starting to have a vampire problem, and watching that spread is good, terrifying fun.  Hit the jump for what lies beneath.

Corey Stoll Talks THE STRAIN, Looking Forward to His Character’s Dynamic Arc, the Excitement of TV, HOMELAND, ANT-MAN, and More

by     Posted 38 days ago

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From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse, The Strain tells the story of an epic battle for survival between man and vampire.  When Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control in New York City, and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that is eerily similar to an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, they quickly realize that they are waging war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show also stars David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown and Jack Kesy.

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actor Corey Stoll talked about what attracted him to The Strain, why his character isn’t an anti-hero, the great dynamic between Eph and Setrakian (Bradley), what David Bradley and Kevin Durand bring to the show, how fortunate he feels not to be stereotyped, his experience shooting Season 4 of Homeland in South Africa, being a part of House of Cards, and how thrilled he is to be doing Marvel’s Ant-Man.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Runaways”

by     Posted 39 days ago

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“Runaways” was The Strain‘s best episode yet, because it finally raised the stakes (no pun intended) and set the stage for what is to come (in fact, you could argue it’s already definitely here).  The show has had some trouble believably stretching out its early exposition, but at the very least it’s had monsters and frights to tide viewers over while the plot figured itself out.  In “Runaways,” though, it double-downed on the monsters, and finally brought them into the light (in a manner of speaking).  Hit the jump for why “if you are infected, I will not hesitate to release you.”

THE STRAIN Recap: “It’s Not For Everyone”

by     Posted 46 days ago

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I wish I had had this episode title handy when I did my first review for The Strain, because it says it all – The Strain: It’s not for everyone.  If there aren’t genitals falling off, there are heads being lopped off by septuagenarians.  And yet, despite the painful dialogue, those creeps and the gore are really fun to watch each week.  So taking it as it is, hit the jump.  If you can’t handle it, it’s ok: “some brains just can’t adjust.”

Comic-Con: Guillermo del Toro, Carlton Cuse, and Chuck Hogan Talk THE STRAIN, Upending the Vampire Genre, the Extent of del Toro’s Involvement, and More

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Horror mastermind Guillermo del Toro has been fascinated with vampires since he was a teenager and figured out early on the version that he liked more was not the romantic leading man, but the soul-less body, driven to brutality by an unquenchable thirst.  In The Strain, his first foray into television, del Toro has created frightening vampire creatures that are worlds apart from the brooding, forlorn vampires that are popular today.

Based on the book trilogy that del Toro co-wrote with Chuck Hogan, The Strain follows a group of CDC scientists who discover a virus has been unleashed on New York City with devastating consequences.  Hogan, del Toro and executive producer Carlton Cuse stopped by Comic-Con to screen the season’s third episode for attendees before it aired, but before heading over to Hall H they talked to the press about the show.  Hit the jump to read highlights from their interviews.

THE STRAIN Comic-Con Panel Recap: Guillermo del Toro and Company on the Show’s Violence; Upcoming Seasons

by     Posted 52 days ago

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With two episodes having already aired, the popularity of The Strain is undeniable.  This series, created and executive-produced by Guillermo del Toro, introduces a new take on vampire lore that is not only original and interesting, but seriously terrifying.  This show is not messing around, it’s trying to scare the hell out of you.  On Sunday at Comic-Con,  FX presented a special panel and sneak peek of the third episode of The Strain, with series creators del Toro and Chuck Hogan, showrunner Carlton Cuse and cast members Corey StollDavid BradleyMia MaestroSean AstinKevin DurandJonathan HydeRichard Sammel, Natalie BrownKevin DurandMiguel GomezBen Hyland, and Jack Kesy.

During the panel they talked about what it was like adapting the book into a television series, the look of the vampires, where del Toro came up with the idea of the worms and what the casting process for the show was like.  Hit the jump for The Strain Comic-Con Panel recap.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Gone Smooth”

by     Posted 53 days ago

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Despite its title, The Strain‘s “Gone Smooth” was sadly not a reference to Ephraim losing his hair (thereby releasing the beautiful baldness that is Corey Stoll‘s dome).  However, quite a few others began losing theirs, and thus begins the transformation (and, soon, infiltration) from human to zombie vampire worm-infested killing beast.  While The Strain‘s dialogue and character development haven’t been particularly good (and in some cases, it’s specifically bad), what the show excels in are monsters.  And if you keep the focus on that, then there’s no strain in viewing it.  Hit the jump for “soon!”

Comic-Con: THE STRAIN “He Is Here” Event Featuring Guillermo del Toro with over 20 Images

by     Posted 53 days ago

The Strain Comic-Con Event Images

The FX drama series The Strain is creepy, gory and just bloody good fun.  Having seen eight of the 13 episodes that will make up Season 1, I can say that it’s everything I’d want from a summer TV series, sprouted from the crazy imaginative mind of Guillermo del Toro.

Taking advantage of their time at Comic-Con, The Strain held an exclusive fan event, called “He Is Here,” at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15.  While showrunner Carlton Cuse and most of the cast dropped by to greet the line, Guillermo del Toro spent quite some time in the theater lobby, chatting with fans and signing the posters that were given out.  Even comic book artist Mike Huddleston was there, signing and sketching.  And, of course, The Master himself introduced the screening of the pilot episode.  Hit the jump for photos of a collection of prominent props and costumes that were on display from the show.

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