The Strain is a high concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself. (synopsis via Hey U Guys)
It looks like being afraid, very afraid, of teeny-tiny things we cannot see is the order of the day when it comes to TV thrillers.
Be it the nanites of NBC’s recently-cancelled apocalyptic drama Revolution, or the human re-engineering viruses of Helix or The Walking Dead, TV’s storytellers are finding much to fear in the invisible things we cannot see.
And now we have The Strain, an utterly original take on the vampire genre, from co-creators by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) and crime novelist Chuck Hogan, which unnervingly bundles in tales of Dracula’s spawn with a viral outbreak that threatens to wipe out humanity in one fell blood-curdling swoop.
Based on a trilogy of graphic novels by del Toro and Hogan, you can forget the True Blood or Twilight riff on the vampiric undead as hipster-like arbiters of the cool and the avant garde who just happen to want to feed on you.
Instead these nightmarish creatures, controlled by someone called Sardu or the Master – there’s always a creepy puppeteer-like figure isn’t there? – are created by a worm-like parasite that burrows into the eyeball and begin a transformation process which leaves the hosts with a stinger that pops out of their throat at the slightest provocation, and a complexion that devolves into monstrously decayed over time.
In other words, the longer the worm or strigoi, which freakishly can exist outside the host for a period of time meaning you can become infected even with no vampires present, is in a host, the less and less human they become.
Completely creeped out and reaching for a blanket to hide behind yet?
It sounds like you should be, or at the very least reaching for a good hand disinfectant, and a clusterbomb full of some aggressively sterilising biological agent.
With Carlton Cuse (Lost) onboard as showrunner, FX’s willingness to push the boundaries on the shows it screens (think American Horror Story, Justified etc.) and del Toro’s track record in particular of being perfectly willing to scare the bejeezus out of audiences whenever possible, The Strain is going to be a white knuckle ride into some very scary storytelling indeed.
All of which could mean we won’t just be running from zombies, and nanites with atttitude but tiny little worms with a frightening agenda and a hideous idea of what makes up the “body beautiful”.
Just how freaked out you should be will be come readily apparent when the 13 episodes run of The Strain premieres on FX in July 2014.