A The Strain Community
Sunday 10:00 PM on FX

FX's The Stain entered the summer as TV.com's most-anticipated new show of the season, so let's keep these pleasantries to a minimum and get straight to the goods because we all know that many of you have been dying to get your eyeballs on the series ever since it was first announced. Well, I put my peepers on the pilot episode and I'm ready to let you know whether it lived up to the hype in another edition of Spill the Beans, TV.com


The Strain, so this is a show about an overworked hamstring or a giant colander?

No, sorry. It's about VAMPIRES! Well, maybe. Nothing is explicitly labeled a vampire in the pilot, but there's a giant monster that sucks out the blood of its victims and a possible virus that infects its unfortunate hosts by way of a well-promoted worm. A CDC epidemiologist with a crumbling marriage is our point man for investigating this mess, but there's also a diverse cast of supporting characters, including a gangbanger and a deranged (or maybe not) old pawn-shop owner. They all converge when a plane from Berlin arrives at New York City's JFK airport and just sits on the tarmac... quiet, cold, and waiting. This is a scary one!


Who's the Alpha on the show, and who stars in it?

There are a few big names attached to The Strain, starting with Guillermo del Toro (Pan's LabyrinthHellboy). The series is based on del Toro's trilogy of novels (which were co-written by series co-creator Chuck Hogan) of the same name; the first two seasons are expected to cover the first two books, with the third book split across two seasons. The Strain's other big behind-the-scenes name is that of Lost's Carlton Cuse, who will serve as showrunner (the busy Cuse is also the boss of A&E's Bates Motel).  

Onscreen, you might recognize Corey Stoll (House of Cards) as Ephraim Goodweather, the CDC scientist who's trying to stop whatever potential outbreak has just arrived in the Big Apple. Or you might not recognize him, because he has hair for this role—or, more specifically, he wears an outrageous hairpiece. Mia Maestro (Alias) plays Eph's sexy co-worker, the great Jonathan Hyde (Titanic or Anaconda, take your pick) plays a mysterious old dude, and Sean Astin (Goonies) plays a nerdy CDC administrator. But my favorite character by far is David Bradley's (Harry Potter's Argus Filch and Game of Thrones' Walder Frey) Abraham Setrakian, another mysterious old man who knows a lot more about "the strain" than anyone else. 



When does The Strain begin infecting our TV sets?

The Strain premieres Sunday, July 13 at 10pm on FX. Factoid: Its time slot will put it head-to-head with HBO's The Leftovers, which is run by Cuse's former Lost buddy Damon Lindelof. Two men enter, one man leaves! 


Who is going to like The Strain?

Do not be fooled by the fact that the show is airing on the typically prestige-y and serious FX; this is a del Toro project, and it fits very well into his portfolio. It's particularly reminiscent of Blade II and Hellboy (as opposed to Pan's Labyrinth), because the pilot is surprisingly fun and stylized. There's an ample amount of campiness, so if you're a fan of tongue-in-cheek horror that still offers legit scares, you're golden.


What's particularly potent about The Strain?

What I like most about the first episode is that it has a great sense of what it is: a realistic show set in a hyper-realistic world that's similar to our own. The whole pilot feels like a graphic novel come to life, with characters who are caricatures, yet still somehow grounded, as well as some ridiculously fantastic violence. And the tone is spot-on: The show wants to be scary AND fun. I loved being on the edge of my seat even when I knew what was coming, and there are some fantastic gore shots, including one particularly brutal bout of smashing from a monster-beast. 

The Strain also has a promising future, thanks to several engaging storylines introduced throughout the pilot, which include some personal tales of [REDACTED] and some corporate mischief. Stoll's stellar House of Cards performance is behind him, but you can tell that he gets what's going on here and he's great as Eph. Finally, to top it all off, there's Bradley's commanding, albeit familiar and hammy, turn as Setrakian.



Is there anything about The Strain that needs treatment?

The Strain is really off-brand for FX in the sense that it's not a brainy drama with sharp writing and powerhouse performances, so viewers who are expecting something along those lines will be disappointed. It's also pretty cliché, with Eph giving the "viruses are dangerous" speech, shadowy organizations, and other typical horror tropes. However, I'd argue that the show handles its clichés well, and that it isn't trying to reinvent the genre.


So, should I watch it?

The Strain won't be a series for everyone because it toes the line between realistic and campy, but the result is a fun summer show as far as I'm concerned. It might not be a critical favorite, but I enjoyed the heck out of the pilot and I can't wait to see more. 


Let's take a look at a trailer!

Okay! But, friend to friend, I think you should just go into the pilot blind to keep the scares and surprises intact.  




The Strain premieres Sunday, July 13 at 10pm on FX.


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/25/2016

Season 3 : Episode 5

Next Episode

AIRS ON 10/2/2016

Season 3 : Episode 6

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Despite the worm-in- the- eyeball promo picture that I absolutely hate, I will watch The Strain. I love campy together with scary.

Off topic, but I want to say it is amazing to me that almost every commercial for films as well as almost every description of new tv shows includes a Game of Thrones actor, now even David Bradley The deceitful, nasty Walter Frey). GoT has certainly shown American audiences a wealth of unfamiliar talent from Europe and the UK and other countries.
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Same here! :D
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Pilot this year , Series next year !!!
I don't have time to see it now maybe in the fall or in mid-season 2015 ...
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I love how you put Goonies next to Sean Astin's name and not - I don't know - Lord of the Rings?? :) Made me chuckle
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The picture leading to this story, Corey Stoll with hair looks like Dane Cook
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Really liked the Books this series will be based on hopefully the TV Series continues is as great.
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Sorry, can someone explain "campiness" to me? I see this word all the time in describing certain tv shows and I don't entirely get it.
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The term "camp" really just means over-the top. It can be used in a large variety of ways to refer to anything that perhaps uses too much embellishment, over-acting, or over-dramatization for effect.

Some examples:

- In England, the term camp has become synonymous with effeminate homosexuals, referring to their flamboyant behaviour. In fact, the term "camp" is often used there instead of "gay", etc.

- The term can also be used to describe performers of all kinds who go over the top, whether it be makeup, hair, clothing, etc. In her day, Dusty Springfield was described as being very camp on stage, with a beehive hairdo and extravagant dresses. The same could be said of Bowie, Prince, and even though the term isn't often used today, Lady Gaga (I've only ever seen pictures so I assume...never heard a song...).
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Ohhh k makes sense thx! Glad I asked because I was definitely off in my understanding :)
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"Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Guillermo del Toro's FX Horror Drama The Strain?" = Yes....that is all
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Campiness? So you're saying it's got humor too? Then it's going to be even better than I expected. :D
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I am so happy to hear it is airing in the same time slot as The Leftovers. It can knock The Leftovers ratings down.

I am definitely watching just hope it would not be as messy as Penny Dreadful.
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YES!, the one Summer series I have been waiting for : )
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The eyeball with the worm in it billboard all over town convinced me that the marketing for this is a turn-off, I'm going to pass.
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Ditto; that visual is nasty. It's gonna be nightmare fuel for little kids.
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YES YES YES
And I found it inexplicably funny that the article starts calling the show THE STAIN...
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Editing is your friend, Tim.
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Should I Watch Guillermo del Toro's FX Horror Drama The Strain?

Yes, you should. Then you should take a moment to think how you feel about, write a review, post it on this site, and finally read our comments. But this is just my suggestion.
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I am currently planning on watching it (even though I will probably find myself rereading the Passage and the Twelve because the Strain trilogy and those books are seeming a lot alike, though I think the The Twelve series seems to take a left hand turn into traumatic stuff and rarely super campy but of course I have no idea what is going on with Amy going forward) even though my Sunday nights are pretty darn full, FX like a good cable network reruns it right after. The question being, is when I will watch it and if it makes the good companion to Teen Wolf on Mondays that I sense it will.
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del Toro makes me weak in the knees. I tried reading the book, didn't get far at all, hopefully the small screen adaptation well fare better for me.
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I'll be checking this out!
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Well, I was worried this would be too gory and scary, but you say it's a bit campy. I like campy! I'll definitely check it out.
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Just try keeping me away from this one. It must be an epic event if FX is putting it on Sunday. Plus del Toro is a genius.
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I would have preferred if this was a more serious take on the whole vampire genre rather than what you have described it as but I'll still be tuning in.

Oh and another thing how about Sean Astin (Lord of the rings) rather than goonies.

I think that movie may have just been a tad more successful.

LOL.
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Did you grow up in the 80s? Lord of the rings may have been more successful but Goonies was break out in it's day. Sean Astin was also the heart and lead banana of the adventure to find One-eyed Willy's treasure as opposed to "Mr Frodo's" friend/butler in an ensemble piece that had nowhere left to go once it had ripped off the 1978 animation.
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i got to watch this hope it will be able to fill up the gap left by Penny Dreadful....This year FX is on point...!
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Do I sense an attempt to break the hype...? Tim, what do you know or better, what have you seen? :O
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I'm not a fan of the lead or his wig but I'll tune in anyway for del Toro, I figure he's given me enough entertainment over the years that I owe him the benefit of the doubt.

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FX Sundays? (Sung to the tune of "Lemon curry?")

Unrepentant and big hater of the beautiful teen vampire stuff that's become all the rage in recent years. Monsters should be...monstrous. This is one I'll try. Bonus for me: I like del Toro's visual style.

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yes yes i cant wait. looks awesome.
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I did not know who Guillermo del Torro was,but with all the hype I assumed he was someone very talented and since the show was on FX I assumed it would be well written and creatively interesting as opposed to campy and cliched.Based on Tim's review I have to say something I was previously very intrigued to watch I now question watching at all.
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And Blade 2 and Mama , Puss in boots, Megamind, The orphanage, Biutiful, Cronos, the screenplays of the Hobbits movies
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Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, that new Dusk 'til Dawn series. you're good to go.
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devils back bone, mimic
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Thanks for the suggestions folks.I enjoyed the new Dusk Till Dawn.
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I'm just praying that the CDC scientists have a few brain cells to share, unlike the dumbarses from Helix. I'm hoping for better character writing and maybe a wee bit of logic thrown in.
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The vampire biology is disturbingly realistic for the most part. The main CDC scientists insist with the quarantine and are pretty smart and grounded but their manager beg to differ. But you will see **SPOILERS** there are guys placed at key-positions to break the quarantine and help the spreading on purpose. Their manager could be on of those guys...
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You had me at Guillermo del Toro. His work on Mama rocked and if this show has similar creepiness and chills I'm in for the duration!
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Have you seen some of the other movies he worked on like The Orphanage (producer only), Pan's Labyrinth, or The Devil's Backbone? If not, you should give them a look!
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The only thing I watched FX for is Archer and before that Nip Tuck so that's comedy and sex, I guess vampires will fit right in for me to take another look at FX and see if I like the Strain.
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almost every thing fx has released has been a hit. the shield, damages, the americans, rescue me, sons of anarchy, justified. all considered groundbreaking series. nip and tuck was awesome too. they have great comedies as well. you're right, archer is hilarious.
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I also enjoyed Damages, did not watch the other shows you listed.
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As long as it's like the books, I'm alright with it. From your article, it seems exciting and nice, which is all I'm looking forward to this summer. Can't wait to see it!
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