“The Strain”: Season 1 (2014) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 1 (2014)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  Guillermo del Toro (ep. 1); David Semel (eps. 2 – 3); Keith Gordon (ep. 4); Peter Weller (eps. 5 – 6, 11); Charlotte Sieling (eps. 7, 9); Guy Ferland (ep. 8); John Dahl (ep. 10); Deran Sarafian (ep. 12); Phil Abraham (ep. 13)

Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan (eps. 2, 8); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (eps. 2, 7); Chuck Hogan (ep. 3); Regina Corrado (eps. 4, 9); Gennifer Hutchison (eps. 5, 10); Justin Britt-Gibson (ep. 6); Justin Britt-Gibson, Chuck Hogan (ep. 11); Carlton Cruse, David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (ep. 12); Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (ep. 13)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Jack Kesy, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Ben Hyland, Ruta Gedmintas, Pedro Miguel Arce, Adriana Barraza and Sean Astin.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

A passenger plan lands in New York City.  All but four people on board are dead.  Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather (Stohl) of the CDC is sent in with a small team to determine the cause.  When his efforts to quarantine the four survivors is refused, Eph believes that they will potentially transmit the unknown virus to to others.

Meanwhile Professor Abraham Setrakian (Bradley), a holocaust survivor, believes the cause is strigoi more commonly referred to as vampires.  Setrakian explains these are nothing like movie vampires.  Of course no one believes the old man.

The truth is strigoi are behind the deaths.  A “Master” strigoi is making his move to bring war on humans. The Master is aided by a sickly billionaire who has been promised eternal life and a former Nazi commandant who has aided the master for decades.  Eph and Setrakian are pulling together a team of people who have seen strigoi in action.

The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather played by Corey Stoll is the lead.  It isn’t often the “star” is given so many character flaws.  Several members of the supporting cast have lived up to the title co-star.  Kudos to David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde for playing characters that make the show sing. Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer, the sickly billionaire who aides the Master and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte who has served the Master for decades deserve kudos as well.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 1 (2019) earns 5 of 5 stars.