The Strain Season 1 - Great Idea Bad Execution

The Strain Season 1 Review

As a fan of the vampire genre there was no way I was going to miss on Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain. After the abortion that the vampire fans suffered from the Twilight saga in the past and currently have to endure from the Vampire Diaries. The Strain presented itself as a show that was going in the right direction. The Strain massively advertised itself as a show that will finally make the vampires scary again. After watching the entire first season of the show The Strain’s vampires look a lot scary compared to what we got used from seeing in the last few years but what about everything else that the show had to offer?

Like I mentioned in the beginning of the review Guillermo Del Toro was the main man behind the show and he was the one who was steering the entire show to the direction we saw on the screen. Most of the acting cast didn't consist of big names but you could find Corey Stoll from House of Cards, Sean Austin from The Lord of the Rings and Kevin Durand who was playing one of the supporting characters in the show. Other than those 3 there was nobody that was worth mentioning (except maybe Mía Maestro who was in The Speed of Thought - one of the worst films we ever reviewed on this blog - The Speed of Thought Review).

The main story focused on an OCD team that was investigating a strange virus that killed most of the passengers on a flight from Berlin to New York. As the show progressed our main hero started to figure out that there was something terribly wrong going on and finally when it was too late the truth was revealed the mysterious virus was spreading like a plague turning every infected host into a vampire. During the first half of the season most of the characters were running around all over the place like headless chickens trying to figure out what exactly is going on. Towards the end of the season, most of the important characters that managed to survive stuck together trying to take out the vampires and their "Master".

First of all I have to admit that the creators of the show and Guillermo Del Toro had a great and somehow fresh idea that they wanted to bring to the small screen. Unfortunately the execution of everything we got to see from The Strain in its first season was poorly done. I'm not talking about the fact that Del Toro practically copied the visual appearance of the vampires from Blade 2, I can actually ignore that. The problem that this ambitious FX show, it's creators and the network itself climbed on a too high of a tree. They focused so much on making the vampires scary that they ignored everything else in the process. The idea was great but the plot we got to see from season 1 of The Strain was weak at best, the stereotypical characters we encountered throughout the entire season were fun at the beginning but as the show progressed they looked silly and cartoonish that at some point it started to hurt the eye (Guss). There were pretty decent cast of actors but even the best actor cannot shine when he has so little to work with. It seemed like most of the budget was spent on the vampires and the scenery, action, character development and writing of the dialogs were ignored but all this was not intentional it seemed like the money that was invested into the show was not distributed equally.

Video: The Strain Trailer Guillermo Del Toro's new breed of vampires
The biggest problems the first season of The Strain presented: inconsistency and simplicity. It started with the time it took random characters to turn into vampires. In the beginning it was a couple of days towards the end of the season it was few hours. Than we were told that the internet and the entire cellular grid was down and nobody could fix it, until in episode 10 a small kid opens a lap top clicks on an icon and walla he succeeded in what the entire city of New York failed to do the entire 2nd half of the season. The show didn’t try to challenge its viewers, sometimes it’s good to be simple (Dredd 2012) but in this case it was way too simple as if the show was targeted towards small children that don’t need to think hard to figure what’s going on the screen. Some of the characters were busy so much explaining the obvious that I forgot what was the scene about and what was its purpose.

The bottom line is that there is no bottom line. I can’t say that this show is unwatchable because I have to give it credit for trying to do something different compared to the general stupidity we used to see from the vampire genre in the last few years, and for that The Strain has to be rewarded (The Strain was renewed for season 2). The first season of the strain was hard to watch but let’s hope that season 2 will learn from the mistakes it made and improve itself because the potential is there, the question whether FX will know how to control and steer Del Toro to the right direction.

The Strain DVD's on Amazon

The Strain: Season 1 [Blu-ray] 
  The Strain season 1 dvd Twilight-box-set-dvd vampire-diaries-box-set-amazon
photo credit: ˙Cаvin 〄 via photopin cc

About Sasha Shapiro

Sasha is the founder and editor of Cool Reviews Rule. He is very passionate about Movies, TV Shows and some Books. His favorite genres are: Action, Fantasy, History, Horror, Sci-fi and Adventure.
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  1. Corey Stoll was also just in Homeland. Seems like a lot of supporting actors are in a lot of things nowdays, like used to happen in the 70's & before.
    I agree with your assessment of The Strain. However; Del Toro created it as is, with b-movie gore, script, etc. Sort of like Dusk to Dawn was created in the image of the old films of the 70's. Purposely kitsch & over the top. The failing, in my opinion, is that it needs to be clearer that it's all be created to be something in the old movie formulas, or people just won't get it.
    I didn't like the ending. The old guy stood there & was being dramatic as the main vampire thing was sort of recovering enough to get away. He could have cut his head off, in the time it took him to stand there. The other vampire servants backed away, even though their master wasn't dead. I don't get it. That's a flaw.

  2. I dont watch Homeland, so i dont really know whats going on there.
    i know that the show looked like a B-Movie but today you cant degrade yourself to low standards because if you do it wrong and the moment viewers and the studious wont get it. the show will be cancelled after 5 episodes.
    yea, i agree the ending was completely retarded, its like the old guy wanted to give his kill speech and only after that he went on trying to kill the master, and whats with the "Master" that's a horrible name for a villain.