Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Strain, Season 1: Review

The Strain's first season concluded with more of whimper than a bang, but it consistently delivered geeky thrills, wormy gross outs, and the potential of an ensemble that harkens back to the early days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – BUT it hasn't quite found its voice. The tone is all over the place from scary, to comic booky, to family drama, to thrill ride with big dumb guy. It's not as serious like The Walking Dead which makes it more lite entertainment, but often comes across as slightly silly when it should be scary. It doesn't help that the main villain is called "The Master", and looks like the goofy Bat Child from the National Inquirer mixed with Jabba the Hutt (see below).


The story revolves around an ancient vampire-like race that has been plotting a take over the world (cue: evil cackle) by disabling the internet! Without dependable communications, information about the abnormal humanoids attacking New York spreads much slower, and the masses (and those in authority) don't believe the hysteria furthering the spread of the "virus". It was hard to believe that the events of the entire first season took place over a week. I'm not sure if I expected more chaos, more contagion, or more action but it pushed the plausibility until the last few episodes when the full plan of evil sort of becomes more apparent. The series did fall into repetitive patterns (leave safety, fight against incredible odds, someone dies, retreat, repeat). Not that you really care who dies. Character development was not as strong as it could be considering that we have to invest in this ragtag ensemble but there's potential in the cast. And there is potential in this series, which kept me tuning in week after week.

For those seeking a non-stop, original, fully thought out series, you might be disappointed. For those who can take a series that's above SyFy standards but not on par with current genre offerings, it may be an interesting and entertaining diversion. Let's hope Season 2 moves beyond all the exposition and into a more meaty story with fully realized characters and an actual plan of action. 




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