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"The Strain"
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"The Strain" More at IMDbPro »

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110 out of 184 people found the following review useful:

Starts as interesting homage to Bram Stoker's classic novel 'Dracula' - and is soon let down by mediocre writing

6/10
Author: gogoschka-1 from wherever good films play
14 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

* Some mild spoilers ahead *

There has been no shortage of modern vampire stories lately, but surprisingly - at least to my knowledge - a modern day version of the ONE vampire story (in more than just the name) has not been among them. Although Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' is one of the most famous and influential novels in English literature of the Victorian era, it took Mexican producer/director Guillermo Del Toro to finally attempt an update (or rather an "expansion" on the theme) for a modern audience of this beautiful, Gothic tale.

It's probably meant more as an homage than a retelling (I haven't read Del Toro's novel 'The Strain' upon which this show is apparently based), but judging by what I've seen so far, there are many elements in the show's storyline (at least during the first episode) that remain surprisingly faithful to Stoker's novel, and at the beginning there's even the modern equivalent of the doomed ship 'Demeter'.

Del Toro cleverly plays with the expectations of those who have read 'Dracula', and knowing the story doesn't really spoil anything. Quite on the contrary: it's even more fun to watch this show and suddenly recognize nearly exact lines from the Victorian novel, but spoken to a member of some Latino drug gang (who answers the elegant words with the very modern "F*** You!" and "S*** my D***!").

The production values are - as was to be expected when the director of 'Hellboy' and 'Pacific Rim' is involved - pretty good. The visual effects and the make-up are quite OK also, but they do leave room for improvement. Alas, the writing and the acting leave a lot to be desired which was very unexpected in this day and age of great Television shows - especially when someone like Del Toro serves as a producer. Still, overall I'd say there's yet hope for this new show (IF the writing gets better). My vote so far: 6 stars out of 10.

***UPDATE***: I've stopped watching after the 4th. episode - it still puzzles me how so many talented people couldn't come up with better writing. What a missed opportunity.

Favorite Films: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054200841/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

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85 out of 152 people found the following review useful:

Strain is a strain to watch anymore.

4/10
Author: alex (doorsscorpywag) from United Kingdom
9 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have read the books and they are nothing special but are alright but sadly the TV series is going downhill at a rate of knots.

The latest episode has pretty much done it for me.

The acting is not exactly inspiring especially that annoying kid who plays Zack who may be the worst child actor ever. Zack gets attacked by a vampire he knows and his reaction is so unbelievably badly acted. No show of emotion to the fact his dad just hacked off it's head with a shovel.

The characters themselves are too stupid to survive with poor decision making and as with the woman doctor a naivety that deserves a horrible death.

But for me the final straw had to be the Master. The big reveal came this week and it was so underwhelming to be laughable. He looks ridiculous and I would find it hard not to laugh if he appeared in front of me. In the book he is rather horrific but on the screen he is comic gold. The whole series wiped out for me by the silliest looking vampire in history.

The only bit worth watching was the back story to Setrakian and Eichorst but now with the revealing of the big comedy vampire lummox that has now gone. I will probably watch the rest but will employ liberally the fast forward button.

A shame as it could have been a good series if only they had gone for terror rather than child friendly comedy.

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70 out of 129 people found the following review useful:

Has potential, if the writing doesn't kill it.

7/10
Author: Scott D from Canada
24 July 2014

An interesting show with potential, but it's still too early for the jury to render a verdict. The cliché characters could be it's undoing. The writers need to stop insulting the intelligence of their audience and do their homework. As indicated by other reviewers, the CDC would never handle a biological threat in such an off-handed casual manner. And would anybody really believe they would allow a single corner to undertake the autopsies of an entire plane of dead passengers? We get it's science fiction but please don't insult the intelligence of the audience with such blatant plot flaws. This show has the potential to be another Walking Dead, but if the sloppy writing continues it will just be plain dead. My finger are crossed with hopes of some better writing to follow.

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60 out of 110 people found the following review useful:

If The Simpsons did horror...

5/10
Author: mfcoder-imdb (mfcoder-imdb@mx.dyndns-mail.com) from United Kingdom
22 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

6 episodes in, and this isn't good.

The Strain starts off as an interesting take on the vampire theme - imagine vampirism is a strain of a deadly virus, which turns people into vampiric creatures; and "patient zero" is a malevolent creature aimed at spreading his sickness. Mix in some modern-day 'heroes' in the form of a CDC response team, and add the wisdom of an old protagonist of the chief bad guy, with a sprinkling of sinister bad guys lurking in shadows.

However, this initial interesting premise is let down in a variety of ways. We have a number of clichéd characters (would you believe the hero is an ex-drunk in mid custody battle for his kid? And his ex now has a slimy corporate boyfriend ... well that's not very common); our hero has a young female colleague with the hots for him; and a former hobbit who is in the pay of the bad guys, cos his wife has cancer, and they might be able to help him. So that's a check for characters-we've- seen-before.

Then would you believe that the hero's boss is a pen-pushing ass, who when confronted with evidence of the viral outbreak would prefer to hush it up, rather than ... well, I'm not quite sure what his motivation is for this bizarre stance. But either way, when he sees a video of a vampire attack on hero-doc, he decides to send the FBI after the doc, rather than alert the authorities. Come on ...

Apart from the collection of recycled characters, the biggest problem is that this vampiric virus spreads and infects dozens, hundreds of people, without anyone appearing to notice. As though every week the world is reset again. Just like The Simpsons. For example:

- An infected rock star kills a doctor. Yet his assistant hires someone to "clean up the mess", then we never hear from her again.

- As early as episode 3 vampires attack a hospital, killing several people (or turning them into vampires - it's a bit hit and miss, and not sure how it works as a long-term plan for the bad guys anyway). The next day, no mention of it anywhere.

- Guy arrested for killing a vampire - no-one says "hey, have you seen the body of the dude he just killed?"

- City morgue wiped out by vampires ... not a word mentioned.

There's also an embarrassingly bad sequence with hero arrested and interrogated by the stupidest, most 2-dimensional FBI agents you're ever likely to see (yeah ... they don't buy his video of a vampire being killed either), when the only evidence the FBI has for chasing the hero is a clip of video showing hero and pal dragging a vampire corpse. For some reason they're only after him, and not his pal who is free to wonder the city as and when.

We even have a scene where hero-doc returns to his old house to tell his wife and child to get out of Dodge - but slimy new boyfriend sells him out to the feds. So it's not only re-hashed characters, but re-hashed scenes. 'Mom' then sends son off to school ... that's what I'd do if a CDC doctor told me there was a deadly virus and I had to leave town pronto.

Why watch it? Well, it *really* is mindless entertainment, sometimes painful to watch, but it's nicely shot, and thankfully a short season. Also David Bradley is much the best of the cast, and worth watching - throwing himself into the Van Helsing role with gusto.

When so many good programmes are dropped after 1 season, it's a little sad to hear this has been renewed for a 2nd. There has to be better in this genre out there, surely?

***Update***

After 10 episodes things have slightly improved. Reasons:

- there are factions in the vampire fraternity;

- the various good-guys have now met up to form their 'fellowship';

- it's decently unsentimental (people die ... people you think won't);

So, enough to have an interest in Season 2; but they can't persist with the "authorities don't know" line, as we've had cops killed on duty, schools attacked, government agents killed. All things that would bring national agents to the party. Just cos the internet is down wouldn't end communications (landlines; short-wave; fax; satellite; etc.)

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24 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Very nice

8/10
Author: mhrist from United States
5 October 2014

The pilot looked very promising and it just started getting better and better. The story is very nice and the effects are quite good for cable television.

The acting is nice but is not the main point of the show, some characters are not as believable as they should but generally it is pretty good.

Of course I am a little biased since this like apocalypse stuff + vampires + fallen angels and all kind of stuff that I love.

Anyhow if you don't like the genre then don't watch it just because of Del Torro. It is not like super original and incredible enough to make a fan of someone that is not a fan of the genre.

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46 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

Start out strong then fizzled

6/10
Author: LoLo from United States
27 December 2014

I like Del Torro's work so I was anticipating this show for some time. It started off strong, good concept, different take on things & I enjoyed maybe the first half of the season. The effects were good for TV. Then it became cheesy & super predictable. The acting from some of the cast was barely mediocre. The boy/son was hard to watch, he came off bratty & not a great actor (sorry, I know he's a kid) The ending, I won't spoil but was disappointing for a season finale. I highly doubt I will tune in for season 2 when there are so many other, better put together shows available like The Knick or Penny Dreadful. The best story line was about the old man when he was younger but that was it. Sorry, not a fan.

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110 out of 212 people found the following review useful:

Gripping.

10/10
Author: lmahesa from Indonesia
14 July 2014

I'm a fan of Guillermo Del Toro's work. I'm a fan of dark horror, and I'm a fan of all things Lovecraftian.

This is Del Toro through and through. I went into this knowing the basic premise and nothing else - I had avoided the graphic novels because I didn't want to spoil this viewing - other than the issue with the billboards.

My view is definitely skewed. I saw elements of Lovecraft, I saw echos of Hellboy, and I definitely saw vast swathes of dark, adult, horror.

I'll stop there. If that hasn't convinced you, you're probably the wrong audience.

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27 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

I had to re-do my review --- Terrible, terrible, terrible!!!

3/10
Author: KrazydeBug from United States
7 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Update 2: 08/25/2015 Just finished about 4~5 episodes from season 2 yesterday. I can hardly describe my feeling now.

I wasn't paying much attention to the show while I put it on the background and doing my own stuff. Same-o-Same-o bullshitting from Elph and Nora, and his ever-annoying brat son. Good thing Dutch and Fet are hooking up, though. A lot of "Oh-Really?" type of history from old Abraham. I wasn't too happy, but did not feel too disappointed either, given how bad it was from season 1. And then, I realized that, in that show, the world has become aware of the infestation of Vamps, all zombie type of thing. And the US government sent in 200 national guards. Wuuuaaaat? It's not an ALL-OUT WAR?!?! 200?!?! And people are still allowed to walk around the city like nothing happened? No curfew? Business still open, shops, restaurants and stuff? Nobody is trying to bolt out of that damn city??? And I turned off the TV. W.~T.~F.~ Seriously.

---Original Review--- I gave this show a 7-star rating when i first reviewed it few weeks ago. Now with finale came and gone, I am compelled to delete my previous review, and now it gets a 3-star.

It was somewhat enticing watching the pilot. 10 episodes later, ehhh, OK. Now, O~M~G! Did you shoot your screenwriter after episode 5? Main characters are from boring-and-annoying to deserve-to-be- hated. Story lines cannot be more inconsistent and ridiculous. More questions are brought up without ANY previous questions answered. And apparently, the entire world is so stupid in the show, that somehow I fee they do deserve to be annihilated by vamps.

First of all, nobody explained HOW the master could kill, or infect, the entire passenger cabin in a split second, without any struggle of any sort. And, nobody explained WHY the seemly omnipotent (during night time at least) master had to use a human to drive him from airport to Manhattan, though he could jump and run like nobody can see him. Nobdy explained HOW did old Abraham know that the Master was trying to sneak into Manhattan, and nobody explained WHY destroying the coffin is an effective measure against the master.

Oh, this Eldritch dude can just walk into a highly ranked federal official's office and throw her off balcony? Don't they have some kind of surveillance and security there? He thought nobody saw him or what? Are they trying to make fun of current White House security melt- down?

Of course there are more than one "masters". I just wonder, why are they (three of them) strapped on a cargo dolly-cart kind of device (oh yeah, like Hannibal)? From earlier episodes, you see these hooded vamps killing infected people and you kinda know they are not in-sync with the then-only master. But I was just puzzled that why do they need to hire a human, when they seem to have seemingly very effective ways of killing other vamps.

And yes somebody screwed up the internet and people in Manhattan cannot get online easily. But there are other people OUTSIDE of Manhattan. And there are HUNDREDS of people missing and nobody is suspicious of anything? Nobody questioned that? And you think NSA will just let the communications/internet down because it is ONLY Manhattan? In the last episode, the good guys launched a short hijacked TV broadcast alerting others about the invasion of vamps (which led to Eldritch throwing the official off building to preventing her from starting a quarantine of entire island). Maybe not a lot of people saw that when it was broadcasted. But come on! This entire world, if 1 out of 7 billion people saw that and recorded it, this short video will go viral 100 times bigger than Uncle Psy's Gangnam Style!!!

There are so many small details in the entire season makes me want to jump into the TV and kick the crap out of the stupid and arrogant Eph. Nobody, OK, maybe except Fet, is likable in the show. I'd rather see the master prevail and put on a bloody killing spree on them. Better than watching these morons fighting each other like 2-year olds fighting over a chewing toy.

The only reason I am still giving it a 3-star, is I want to see how the turf war goes between the Master and the Ninja-vamps going after him.

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28 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Really, seriously? !

1/10
Author: ericaharris1908
23 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, where has common sense gone? Why why why. Why do we keep getting these shows that start off promising, but for the love all goodness, they turn out to be stupid, make no sense dribble. The strain started out interesting. A new kind of twist on the vampire genre. Intelligent blood thirtsy worms. Once you get past the starting plot, the annoyance meter starts counting. This shows characters are some of the DUMBEST characters ever. Even starting in the first episode. So many stupid plot holes and absolutely make no sense plot lines. So many people doing stupid things it just gets to be to annoying. Early on I was yelling at TV, Please eat that stupid person. I wanted everyone to die, quickly, for being so stupid. Just a few stupid things: Why would the coroner pick up the beating, moving, diseased heart?! The stupid girl doctor Nora is at the autopsy of the pilot, she sees his anatomy has been drastically changed and he tries to eat them with abnormal tongue ...but then when they are at the little girl's house, she freaks out when the old guy chops her head off, stating stupid stuff like 'we heal our patients, WHAT!! These have to be the laziest vampires ever! There are hundreds of vamps in the sewers BUT THEY Don't COME OUT AT NIGHT, REALLY?! And the characters reactions to finally seeing the creatures is NO ONE CALLS ANYONE, NO COPS, NO FBI! They just walk around like nothing is happening. The surviors from the first episode, they start having symptoms but NONE of them calls a doctor? Why does an all powerful vampire have to hire thugs for simple errands? The coffin...The vampire could lift, carry the coffin but had to have it driven out? From what we see of how the vamps feed, it makes no sense how the vampire attacked all the passengers on the plane with no one noticing... I could go on and on, but what's the point. The screen play must have been written by 5 year olds because no intelligent grown person with common sense would have wrote/directed this stupid of a series.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

I like the show but I HATE that kid!!!!

Author: berry-54430 from Fort Lauderdale
30 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why do writers continually make the kids the most important people when they are dumb as rocks and always get people killed. I hate to say it but they would all be the first to go (if it was real) because they would get attitudes and run away or just plain wander off and be dead before the end of the day. At the end of season 2 they killed Nora off simply because that kid couldn't shut his mouth and then HUGGED his mother!!!! I will say my favorite show is The Walking Dead and I didn't like around Carl at times but he had the nerve to kill his mother when it had to be done instead of getting someone else killed. The show has a good premise and is fun to watch but the writers better be careful. You have to care about the characters or people just won't care. The reason TWD is my favorite show is because of Rick, Darryl, Glen, Maggie, etc. not the zombies.

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