The Strain (TV series)

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The Strain
The Strain 2014 Intertitle.jpg
Genre
Created by
Based on The Strain 
by Guillermo del Toro
Chuck Hogan
Starring
Composer(s) Ramin Djawadi
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Editor(s)
  • Kathryn Himoff
  • Christopher Nelson
  • Sarah Boyd
Location(s) Toronto, Ontario
Cinematography
Running time
  • 39–44 minutes (regular)
  • 70 minutes (pilot)
Production company(s)
  • FX Productions
  • Carlton Cuse Productions
Double Dare You
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network FX
Original release July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13) – present
External links
Website

The Strain is an American horror drama television series that premiered on FX on July 13, 2014.[1] It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same name. Carlton Cuse serves as executive producer and showrunner. 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.[2] The pilot episode premiered at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, in early June 2014.[3]

On August 6, 2014, FX renewed The Strain for a 13-episode second season which premiered on July 12, 2015.[4][5] On August 7, 2015, FX renewed The Strain for a 10-episode third season to premiere in 2016.[6][7]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim "Eph" Goodweather, the head of the CDC Canary Team in New York City.[8]
  • David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor turned New York pawn-shop owner. Jim Watson portrays a young Setrakian in flashbacks.[9][10]
  • Mía Maestro as Dr. Nora Martinez, a member of the CDC Canary Team and Eph's closest ally.[11]
  • Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet, a once-solitary rat exterminator of Ukrainian descent, who gets caught in the fight for humanity.[12]
  • Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer, an elderly billionaire invalid driven to obtain immortality. Charlie Gallant portrays a young Palmer in flashbacks.[13]
  • Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, an undead vampire acolyte of the Master who has a 70-year history with Setrakian. In his former life, he was a Nazi commander at the Treblinka extermination camp in German-occupied Poland.[13]
  • Sean Astin as Jim Kent, a CDC administrator who works with Eph and Nora.[14]
  • Jack Kesy as Gabriel Bolivar/The Master, a philandering rock star with an appetite for recreational drugs and one of the Master's vampire acolytes before becoming the Master's current host body.[15]
  • Natalie Brown as Kelly Goodweather, Eph's estranged wife.[16]
  • Miguel Gomez as Augustin "Gus" Elizalde, a gang member who just got out of juvenile prison.[17]
  • Ben Hyland (season 1) and Max Charles (season 2–present) as Zach Goodweather, the son of Ephraim and Kelly.[18][19]
  • Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders, an internet hacker hired by Palmer, who turns against the company when she realizes what she has done.
  • Rupert Penry-Jones as Mr. Quinlan, a half-vampire with a vendetta against the Master.[20]

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Pedro Miguel Arce as Felix, Gus's friend. (season 1)
  • Adriana Barraza as Guadalupe Elizalde, Gus and Crispin's mother. (seasons 1–2)
  • Brenda Bazinet as Pauline McGeever, a vampire victim experimented on by Eph and Nora. (season 2)
  • Anne Betancourt as Mariela Martinez, Nora's mother who suffers from dementia. (season 1)
  • Lizzie Brocheré as Coco Marchand, Palmer's new personal assistant. (season 2)[21]
  • Inga Cadranel as Diane, a Queens native and Kelly's best friend. (season 1)
  • Ron Canada as George Lyle, the Mayor of New York City. (season 2)[22]
  • Francis Capra as Crispin Elizalde, Gus's con artist brother. (season 1)[23]
  • Joaquín Cosío as Angel Guzman Hurtado, a retired wrestler once known as "The Silver Angel". (season 2)[24]
  • Roger Cross as Reggie Fitzwilliam, Palmer's caregiver and head of security. (seasons 1–2)[25]
  • Robin Atkin Downes as the voice of the Master, one of the seven Ancient vampires and the series' central antagonist. (season 1–present)[26]
  • Miranda Edwards as Eve, a human agent working with Quinlan and The Ancients. (season 2-present)
  • Kevin Hanchard as Curtis Fitzwilliam, a firefighter and Reggie's brother. (season 2)[27]
  • Jamie Hector as Alonso Creem, an arms dealer and gang leader. (season 1–present)
  • Leslie Hope as Joan Luss, an attorney and one of the plane's surviving passengers. (season 1)[28]
  • Doug Jones as one of the Ancients, the seven original vampires.[29] Jones also portrays the Master's previous host before Jusef in a flashback. (season 1–present)
  • Daniel Kash as Dr. Everett Barnes, the director of the CDC and later Secretary for Health and Human Services. (seasons 1–2)
  • Parveen Kaur as Aanya Gupta, a waitress and the daughter of the owners of the Tandoori Palace. (season 2)
  • Tom Kemp as Cardinal McNamara, a Catholic cardinal who is selling an item of interest to both Setrakian and Palmer. (season 2)
  • Regina King as Ruby Wain, Bolivar's intelligent and accomplished manager. (season 1)[30]
  • Ron Lea as Harrison McGeever, a vampire victim experimented on by Eph and Nora. (season 2)
  • Robert Maillet as Jusef Sardu, a 19th-century Polish noble who was the Master's host body until he was gravely injured.[23] (season 1–2)
  • Samantha Mathis as Justine Feraldo, a tenacious New York City councilwoman for Staten Island. (season 2–present)[31]
  • Stephen McHattie as Vaun, leader of a band of undead hunters sent to destroy the vampire outbreak. (seasons 1–2)[32]
  • Melanie Merkosky as Sylvia Kent, Jim Kent's cancer-stricken wife. (season 1)[30]
  • Drew Nelson as Matt Sayles, Kelly Goodweather's live-in boyfriend. (season 1)[33]
  • Paulino Nunes as Captain Frank Kowalski, an NYPD officer working with Justine Feraldo. (season 2–present)
  • Jonathan Potts as Captain Doyle Redfern, pilot of the flight and one of the outbreak's few survivors. (season 1)
  • Kim Roberts as Neeva, Joan Luss' nanny and housekeeper. (season 1)
  • Nikolai Witschl as Ansel Barbour, one of the plane's surviving passengers. (season 1)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

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.[34] An agent suggested expanding the concept as a novel series instead.[35] 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."[36] 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.[37] 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.[35] Before the series order was announced, FX gave the writing team the go-ahead to script another ten episodes, which del Toro rewrote.[38] 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?"[39]

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."[40]

FX ordered a thirteen-episode first season for the series on November 19, 2013, and announced that the series would premiere in July 2014.[2] In August 2015, del Toro and Cuse announced a five-season plan for the series after the third season renewal, Cuse said, "From the very beginning, we had really talked about the first book being the first season, the second book being the next two seasons and the third book the last two seasons". He also said that beyond the second season, which are 13 episodes each, the remaining seasons will each consist of 10, bringing the series to a total of 56 episodes.[41]

Casting[edit]

Promotional poster which was withdrawn from circulation after a number of complaints.[42]

Del Toro and Cuse cast the series together.[43] Stoll was cast as Eph Goodweather based on his performance in Midnight in Paris.[43] John Hurt played Abraham Setrakian in the original version of the pilot, but later dropped out.[44] The role was recast with David Bradley and his scenes were reshot with Bradley.[9] Del Toro had previously expressed interest in casting Roy Dotrice, who played Setrakian in several live-action advertisements for the first novel.[45] Kevin Durand, who appeared in Cuse's previous show Lost, was cast as Vasiliy Fet, although the character was originally created with regular del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman in mind.[43][46] Lauren Lee Smith was originally cast as Kelly Goodweather, but was ultimately replaced by Natalie Brown.[47] Del Toro wanted Doug Jones for a major role, but the actor had to decline because of scheduling conflicts; he later played the Ancient and the Master's previous incarnation.[48] Sean Astin was cast as Jim Kent because del Toro and Cuse "thought it would be funny to have the most famous sidekick of all times be a betrayer".[43] For the second season, Max Charles replaced Ben Hyland in the series regular role of Zach Goodweather.[19]

Filming[edit]

The pilot episode began principal photography on September 17, 2013, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[49][50] Shooting of the pilot was finished on October 31, 2013. FX ordered 13 episodes. Season one was expected to film from November 25, 2013, to April 30, 2014.[51] A full writing staff was hired to script subsequent episodes. FX reportedly committed $500,000 to creature creation.[8] Twelve swords used in the series were provided by Missoula, Montana-based bladesmith company Zombie Tools.[52] Production began for the second season in Toronto in November 2014.[53]

Music[edit]

The music was composed by Ramin Djawadi, who previously scored del Toro's 2013 film Pacific Rim.[54]

Marketing[edit]

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.[42]

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13) October 5, 2014 (2014-10-05)
2 13 July 12, 2015 (2015-07-12) October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04)
3 10[7] 2016 (2016) TBA

Reception[edit]

The first season received generally positive reviews from critics, and received a Metacritic rating of 72 out of 100 based on 38 reviews.[55] The first season holds an 87% "Certified Fresh" rating with an average score of 7.4 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".[56]

The second season has received generally positive reviews, and has a Metacritic rating of 66 out of 100 based on 8 reviews.[57] On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 79% with an average score of 7.2 out of 10 based on 19 reviews. Its consensus states "The Strain's gory action helps compensate for an unfocused narrative, while the show's political and philosophical subtext add necessary heft for adult viewers."[58]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldberg, Lesley; O'Connell, Michael (November 19, 2013). "FX Orders Guillermo del Toro's 'The Strain' to Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Hibberd, James (November 19, 2013). "'The Strain' gets FX series order: More vamps!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Bibel, Sara (August 19, 2014). "'The Strain' Renewed for Thirteen-Episode Season Two by FX". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Petski, Denise (May 19, 2015). "‘The Strain’ Season 2 Gets July Premiere Date On FX". Deadline.com. Retrieved May 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (August 7, 2015). "FX Renews ‘The Strain,’ Sets Premiere Dates for ‘AHS: Hotel’ and More". Variety. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Mitovich, Matt Webb (October 6, 2015). "Strain EPs Clear the Air on Nora's Fate, Tease a 'Different, Faster' Season 3". TVLine. Retrieved October 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (April 25, 2013). "Corey Stoll To Topline FX's 'The Strain', From Guillermo Del Toro & Carlton Cuse". Deadline.com. Retrieved April 27, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Ng, Philiana (November 21, 2013). "FX's 'The Strain' Casts 'Harry Potter's' David Bradley to Replace John Hurt". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Actors Brown and Watson talk vampire thriller "The Strain"". Global News. October 20, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ Trumbore, Dave (May 20, 2013). "FX Pilots: Director Ang Lee Departs Drama TYRANT, While Guillermo del Toro's THE STRAIN Finds Its Female Lead in Mia Maestro". Collider. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ Weisman, Jon (April 26, 2013). "Durand joins Stoll in FX's 'Strain'". Variety. Retrieved April 27, 2013. 
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  14. ^ Hibberd, James (July 9, 2013). "Sean Astin joins FX vampire drama". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 20, 2013). "Cable Pilots 'The Leftovers', 'Quarry' & 'The Strain' Add To Casts". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 3, 2013). "Pilots 'Line Of Sight' & 'Strain' Add Regulars". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 11, 2013). "Miguel Gomez Joins FX Pilot 'The Strain', Roger Howarth To Recur On 'Californication'". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  18. ^ San Antonio, Bill (October 10, 2013). "Munsey Park boy getting taste of Hollywood life". The Island Now. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
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  20. ^ Herzog, Kenny (August 9, 2015). "The Strain Recap: Rest in Hairpiece". Vulture. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
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  22. ^ Barton, Steve (November 24, 2014). "The Strain Season 2 - Ron Canada Manages NYC Crisis as Mayor". Dread Central. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Patten, Dominic (July 10, 2013). "Guillermo del Toro Sets 'Pacific Rim's' Robert Maillet As Main 'Strain' Villain". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  24. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (January 13, 2015). "Exclusive: FX's 'The Strain' finds its vampire-fighting Silver Angel". HitFix. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ Clutter, Aaron (July 16, 2014). "The Strain: Exclusive Interview with Robin Atkin Downes". Comic Booked. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ Otero, Harry A. (July 26, 2015). "The Strain Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Fort Defiance". TV Fanatic. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  28. ^ Ausiello, Michael (August 12, 2013). "Exclusive: 24's Leslie Hope Battles FX's Strain". TVLine. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  29. ^ Davis, Brandon (June 5, 2015). "Doug Jones Talks Falling Skies, The Strain, Crimson Peak, & Hellboy 3". comicbook.com. Retrieved July 13, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (December 5, 2013). "Regina King Joins FX Series The Strain". Deadline.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  31. ^ Petski, Denise (November 14, 2014). "Samantha Mathis Cast in 'The Strain; Inbar Lavi in 'The Last Ship'". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
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  33. ^ "Twitter / drewnelsonlive: @MiEg007 I have a major recurring". Twitter. March 10, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  34. ^ Miller, Ross (2009). "Guillermo del Toro Talks Future Projects & More". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
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  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ Wright, Eddie (November 12, 2012). "Interview: Guillermo del Toro Takes 'The Strain' To Dark Horse And Beyond". MTV. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  41. ^ Robinson, Will (August 7, 2015). "Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse lay out five-year plan for The Strain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  42. ^ a b Rice, Lynette (June 27, 2014). "FX yanks gross billboards for The Strain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  43. ^ a b c d Fienberg, Daniel (July 27, 2014). "Guillermo del Toro Brings The Strain to Comic-Con: Live-Blog". HitFix. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  44. ^ 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. 
  45. ^ 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. 
  46. ^ "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. 
  47. ^ 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. 
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  49. ^ 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. 
  50. ^ "New premium series added to FX Canada's lineup". CityNews. May 29, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  51. ^ "Current Productions". IATSE 873. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  52. ^ Kato, Dillon (June 26, 2014). "Zombie Tools swords to be used in new Guillermo del Toro series". Ravalli Republic. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  53. ^ Kennedy, John R. (August 6, 2014). "Toronto-shot ‘The Strain’ renewed for a second season". Global News. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  54. ^ "Ramin Djawadi to Score Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain". Film Music Reporter. September 27, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  55. ^ "The Strain - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  56. ^ "The Strain: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  57. ^ "The Strain - Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  58. ^ "The Strain: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]