The Strain

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the-strain-posterUpdate: Apparently, millions of viewers disagreed with my review of The Strain. I recently received the following info from the network: “FX has ordered a 13-episode second season of its newest hit drama series The Strain from Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions.”

After viewing the ads for The Strain on FX, then receiving graphic and gross promo material featuring a worm being extracted from and eyeball, I had planned on skipping this series — until I was asked to watch the first four episodes for professional reasons.

It’s the story of a terrifying outbreak that threatens all mankind, and the team of professionals, lead by Ephraim Goodweather (Cory Stoll), that attempts to thwart it. Various characters from all walks of life join in the fight for it or against it, sometimes unknowingly. The bad guys appear to be a curious melange of he devil, the Nazis and the 1%, which these days are really the only politically correct villains you can portray as a group.

Corey Stoll (House of Cards) takes the lead in the production, and as an actor he’s excellent and multidimensional. But as a goofy hairpiece wearer, he is simply annoying. The rest of the cast, which includes David Bradley as the Holocaust survivor who has the key to killing the beasts, Mia Maestro as the sexy, feisty good guy sidekick, and Sean Astin as an ambivalent member of their team, is predictable and unremarkable. I hope to see a lot more of Kevin Durand, however, as the Exterminator.

Wait a minute! After the four episodes I had to watch to review The Strand, I’m done with it. It’s actually quite well made if you like this type of thing—you know, zombie/vampires, worms that spread horror and the heads that are severed and smashed to a pulp. But personally, I don’t need those images in my head. Who does?

See my review on PBS’s Just Seen It:

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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