The Strain (TV series)
|Based on||The Strain
by Guillermo del Toro
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Producer(s)||J. Miles Dale|
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Production company(s)||FX Productions|
|Original run||July 13, 2014– present|
The Strain is an American vampire horror–drama television series that premiered on FX on July 13, 2014. It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same name. Del Toro and Hogan wrote the pilot episode, "Night Zero", which del Toro directed. A thirteen-episode first season was ordered on November 19, 2013. The pilot episode premiered at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, in early June 2014. The third episode, "Gone Smooth", will debut at the 2014 SDCC on July 25.
A plane lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the lights off and doors sealed. Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his team are sent to investigate. On board they find two hundred and six corpses and four survivors. The situation deteriorates when the bodies begin disappearing from morgues. Goodweather and a small group of helpers find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the entire city, from an ancient threat to humanity.
Cast and characters
- Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the CDC Canary Team in New York City.
- David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor turned New York pawn-shop owner.
- Mía Maestro as Dr. Nora Martinez, a caring biochemist.
- Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet, a once-solitary rat exterminator of Ukrainian descent.
- Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer, an elderly billionaire invalid driven to obtain immortality.
- Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichorst, a mysterious figure from Setrakian's past.
- Sean Astin as Jim Kent, a CDC administrator who works with Goodweather and Martinez.
- Jack Kesy as Gabriel Bolivar, a philandering rock star with an appetite for recreational drug use.
- Natalie Brown as Kelly Goodweather, Ephraim's estranged wife.
- Miguel Gomez as Augustin "Gus" Elizalde, a gang banger just out of juvenile prison.
- Ben Hyland as Zach Goodweather, the son of Ephraim and his ex-wife Kelly.
- Robert Maillet as the Master, an ancient vampire. The character's voice is provided by Robin Atkin Downes.
- Francis Capra as Crispin, a con artist who is always on the lookout for the easy and profitable way out.
- Melanie Merkosky as Sylvia Kent, Jim Kent's cancer-stricken wife.
- Regina King as Ruby Wain, Bolivar's intelligent and accomplished manager.
- Leslie Hope as Joan Luss, one of the outbreak's few survivors.
- Roger Cross as Mr. Fitzwilliams, Palmer's caregiver and head of security.
- Drew Nelson as Matt Sayles, Kelly Goodweather's new partner.
- Javier Botet, an actor who previously played the titular monster in the del Toro-produced Mama.
- Adriana Barraza as Guadalupe Elizade, Crispin and Gus' mother.
- Daniel Kash as Dr. Everett Barnes, the director of the CDC.
- Jim Watson as young Setrakian.
In 2006, del Toro pitched The Strain as a television series, but negotiations broke down when the network president at Fox Broadcasting Company asked him to make it a comedy. An agent suggested expanding the concept as a novel series instead. Del Toro asked Chuck Hogan to co-write the series, explaining: "I've written short stories in Spanish and English. I've written screenplays. But I'm not good at forensic novels. I'm not good at hazmat language and that CSI-style precision. When Stoker wrote Dracula, it was very modern, a CSI sort of novel. I wanted to give The Strain a procedural feel, where everything seems real." Hogan agreed after reading a page and a half of del Toro's 12-page project outline; the duo collaborated for the first year on a handshake, with no contract or publishing deal in place. The first installment, The Strain, was released in 2009. It was followed by 2010's The Fall and 2011's The Night Eternal.
After the first book's publication, studios and networks began making offers for the film and television adaptation rights, but del Toro and Hogan declined, not wanting a screen version to influence the way they were writing the books. After the third book's publication, the authors talked with every cable network that had expressed interest. FX was deemed most suitable because they wanted to follow the books closely and liked the idea of The Strain as a close-ended series consisting of three to five seasons. Del Toro stated that the first two novels can be covered by one season each, while The Night Eternal may be split into two or three seasons. The author is also open to creative detours that may develop as the series goes on, possibly incorporating material cut from the books. Del Toro intends to direct as many episodes as his busy schedule allows. Before the series order was announced, FX gave the writing team the go-ahead to script another ten episodes, which del Toro rewrote. FX president John Landgraf has stated that the series will consist of "39–65 episodes, no less, no more", adding "What if a television show could be just the length that is optimal for that story?"
Regarding the style of the show's production, del Toro stated: "Basically I'm trying to do what I do in my movies which is to show it as a reality, but as a reality that is stylized. It's not like CSI or The Wire, it's real but it feels a little stylized. But the way the camera work will be is very realistic. We want to keep the camera very documentary even if the look of the show is not. The look of the show is very designed. The style of the camera and the storytelling will be very loose. It will evolve from that feel of reality, and little by little we want to evolve into more stylish, horror feel that requires smoother camera moves, more suspense and atmosphere-driven moments so it will be a mixture. I don't think that mixture has been seen a lot on TV."
FX ordered a thirteen-episode first season for the series on November 19, 2013, and announced that the series would premiere in July 2014.
John Hurt played Abraham Setrakian in the original version of the pilot, but later dropped out. The role was recast with David Bradley and his scenes were reshot with Bradley. Del Toro had previously expressed interest in casting Roy Dotrice, who played Setrakian in several live-action advertisements for the first novel. The character of Vasiliy Fet was originally created with regular del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman in mind. Lauren Lee Smith was originally cast in the role of Kelly Goodweather.
The pilot episode began principal photography on September 17, 2013, in Toronto, Canada. Shooting of the pilot was finished on October 31, 2013. FX has ordered 13 episodes. Season one was expected to film from November 25, 2013, to April 30, 2014. A full writing staff was hired to script subsequent episodes. FX reportedly committed $500,000 to creature creation. Twelve swords used in the series were provided by Missoula, MT based bladesmith company Zombie Tools.
The original key art for the series prominently featured a worm, a vector of the vampiric virus, burrowing into a person's eye. Following complaints from members of the public, FX announced that they would replace the artwork on several of their billboards.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||"Night Zero"||Guillermo del Toro||Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan||July 13, 2014||2.99|
|2||"The Box"||David Semel||David Weddle & Bradley Thompson||July 20, 2014||2.12|
|3||"Gone Smooth"||David Semel||Chuck Hogan||July 27, 2014||TBA|
|4||"It's Not for Everyone"||Keith Gordon||Regina Corrado||August 3, 2014||TBA|
|5||"Runaways"||Peter Weller||Gennifer Hutchison||August 10, 2014||TBA|
|6||"Occultation"||Peter Weller||Justin Britt-Gibson||August 17, 2014||TBA|
|7||"For Services Rendered"||TBA||TBA||August 24, 2014||TBA|
|8||"Creatures of the Night"||TBA||TBA||September 7, 2014||TBA|
|9||"The Disappeared"||TBA||TBA||September 14, 2014||TBA|
|10||"Loved Ones"||TBA||TBA||September 21, 2014||TBA|
|11||"The Third Rail"||TBA||TBA||September 28, 2014||TBA|
|12||"Last Rites"||TBA||TBA||October 5, 2014||TBA|
|13||"The Master"||TBA||TBA||October 12, 2014||TBA|
The series has received generally positive reviews from critics, and has a Metacritic rating of 72 out of 100 based on 37 reviews. It currently holds a 86% "Certified Fresh" rating with an average score of 7.5 out of 10 on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Its consensus states "The Strain makes the most of its familiar themes through an effective mix of supernatural thrills and B-movie gore -- though it may not appeal to everyone".
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- Hibberd, James (November 19, 2013). "'The Strain' gets FX series order: More vamps!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Valby, Karen (April 15, 2014). "Guillermo Del Toro's FX series 'The Strain' to have world premiere at ATX Television Festival — EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- Fienberg, Daniel (July 7, 2014). "'The Strain,' 'American Horror Story,' 'Sons of Anarchy' head to Comic-Con 2014". HitFix. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
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- Hibberd, James (July 9, 2013). "Sean Astin joins FX vampire drama". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 20, 2013). "Cable Pilots 'The Leftovers', 'Quarry' & 'The Strain' Add To Casts". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (September 3, 2013). "Pilots 'Line Of Sight' & 'Strain' Add Regulars". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 11, 2013). "Miguel Gomez Joins FX Pilot 'The Strain', Roger Howarth To Recur On 'Californication'". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- San Antonio, Bill (October 10, 2013). "Munsey Park boy getting taste of Hollywood life". The Island Now. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Patten, Dominic (July 10, 2013). "Guillermo del Toro Sets 'Pacific Rim's' Robert Maillet As Main 'Strain' Villain". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Clutter, Aaron (July 16, 2014). "The Strain: Exclusive Interview with Robin Atkin Downes". Comic Booked. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (December 5, 2013). "Regina King Joins FX Series The Strain". Deadline.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
- Ausiello, Michael (August 12, 2013). "Exclusive: 24's Leslie Hope Battles FX's Strain". TVLine. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 24, 2013). "Nicole Ari Parker To Recur On Revolution, Roger Cross Joins FX Pilot The Strain". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
- "Twitter / drewnelsonlive: @MiEg007 I have a major recurring". Twitter. March 10, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
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- "Ray Ford Joins Fox Comedy Pilot 'Fatrick'; 'Gang Related', 'The Strain' Add Recurrings". Deadline.com. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- Miller, Ross (2009). "Guillermo del Toro Talks Future Projects & More". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming Jr., Mike (September 20, 2012). "'The Strain' Drama From Guillermo Del Toro And Carlton Cuse Gets Pilot Order At FX". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- Brown, Scott (May 22, 2009). "Q&A: Hobbit Director Guillermo del Toro on the Future of Film". Wired. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- Weinman, Sarah (June 2, 2009). "Chuck Hogan on Co-Writing THE STRAIN with "Some Other Guy"". Sarahweinman.com. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- Turek, Ryan (June 30, 2013). "Exclusive: Guillermo del Toro on the Televised Horrors of The Strain, FX Orders Scripts for Entire Season". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (August 2, 2013). "TCA: FX's John Landgraf Signals End Of 'Nuclear Arms Race Of Darkness', Talks The Strain Game Plan, FX Brand Expansion". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Wright, Eddie (November 12, 2012). "Interview: Guillermo del Toro Takes 'The Strain' To Dark Horse And Beyond". MTV. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 19, 2013). "FX's 'The Strain' Gets Official 13-Episode Order, Abraham Role To Be Recast". Deadline.com. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- WGBHForum (September 6, 2012). "Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan - The Fall". YouTube. Event occurs at 30:40. Retrieved June 18, 2013. "If you see the trailers we did for the first book, I would love... some of the casting ideas were there. Roy Dotrice. I would love Roy Dotrice to play Setrakian, you know. He's a fantastic actor. And to have Roy Dotrice and Ron Perlman again after Beauty and the Beast – it would be a geek dream."
- "A Night with GUILLERMO DEL TORO and CHUCK HOGAN". Cinema Knife Fight. September 23, 2010. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 12, 2013). "FX Pilot Castings: Lauren Lee Smith In 'The Strain'; Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate In Gurland". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Sullivan, Kevin P. (July 3, 2013). "Finding Emma Watson's Beastly Costar Tops Guillermo Del Toro's To-Do List". MTV. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- "New premium series added to FX Canada's lineup". CityNews. May 29, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
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- Kato, Dillon (June 26, 2014). "Zombie Tools swords to be used in new Guillermo del Toro series". Ravalli Republic. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- "Ramin Djawadi to Score Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain". Film Music Reporter. September 27, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Rice, Lynette (June 27, 214). "FX yanks gross billboards for The Strain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (July 15, 2014). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Blood' Tops Night + 'The Strain', 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'The Last Ship' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (July 22, 2014). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Blood' Wins Night, 'The Last Ship', 'The Strain', 'Witches of East End', 'Ray Donovan' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- "(#103) "Gone Smooth"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- "(#104) "It's Not For Everyone"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "(#105) "Runaways"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "(#106) "Occultation"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
- "The Strain - Episode Guide for Season 1". Zap2It. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
- Reg. # PAu003711490 at U.S. Copyright Records database.
- "Shows A–Z – strain, the on fx". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- Reg. # PAu003722255 at U.S. Copyright Records database.
- Reg. # PAu003728430 at U.S. Copyright Records database.
- Reg. # PAu003721049 at U.S. Copyright Records database.
- Reg. # PAu003721142 at U.S. Copyright Records database.
- "The Strain - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "The Strain: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 15, 2014.