Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Review Tuesday: THE STRAIN, Seasons 1 & 2

Again, I reiterate, I got to this one late, but I'm up to date now, just in time for the end of season two.
on FX
Season One
After a safe landing at JFK Airport in NYC, a Boeing 777 from Europe mysteriously "dies" along with all crew and passengers but four. It's up to Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC Canary Team with some unusual allies providing unorthodox support to to solve the puzzle before it turns into a massive plague .
Season One of THE STRAIN seemed like an interesting blend of the original books (reviewed HERE) and the comics (reviewed HERE). They went back to the original concept of four survivors on the plane and how they all create mischief in their one areas. They also captured perfect likenesses for the cast for the comic book covers. The choices of actors and actresses were quite good. The chicks on the show are insanely sexy, while the Professor is perfect as a no-nonsense vampire-slayer.

The story got shuffled around a bit, but the came up with mostly the same results by the end of the season. 

I felt that the original trilogy of books was an outline for an upcoming trilogy of films, but making it into a television series adds an extra challenge - how do you draw this out without making it dull? Of course more characters and development, and drama as space filler. I didn't mind the additions and changes much as it still worked out in the end. Season One ran 13 mostly enjoyable episodes.

Season Two
After the plague is set loose in NYC, the city and state clamps down to prevent the plague from spreading while our team of heroes try to find a mysterious book that may unlock the way to destroy The Master. 
I had a harder time with Season Two. The departures from the literature were too many and too great for me to take at first. It merely had a minor resemblance to the work I found to be so brilliant, so I found myself getting frustrated with the events on the screen. 

But I am willing to say that I was wrong for doing so. No one said it was a television adaption of the books, just that it was based on that material, so they can really do anything they wish. I DO wish they dwelled less on the soap opera and spent more time with The Master. 

I am still having trouble with the lack of urgency in the show. This vampire plague is transmitted very easily, so, minimally, all of NYC and Long Island should've fallen by now if not NYS and neighboring states as well. Considering how long it took for any kind of action to be taken, the entire country should be in trouble of being overrun by the strigoi. By this point in the books, the world had completely fallen. My only guess is that they are trying to squeeze out an extra season or two, so they need some extra material, so why not drag things out?

For the most part I liked the second season as well, but just wish they'd get a move on. If you look at the grand scheme of things, not much has really gone on at all outside of the interpersonal relationships of the main characters. 

I have to say I wasn't thrilled about the season finale. When I saw they were holding the auction for the Occido Luman and that they were getting out of NYC on the last train, I was thinking YAY! They're getting things back on track! Forgive the pun. The auction went as expected, and Palmer's perfidy dealt with, though not as severely as expected, but Nora? NORA?!?! In the books Dr Nora Martinez was a real bad-ass and even thought Mia Maestro is a super sexy woman, I felt the character was too weepy and not nearly aggressive enough. Well, no matter now that they killed her off. She was supposed to be one of two to survive the ordeal. In fact, they killed off all the ladies this season, didn't they? Just vampire Kelly remains. And the vampire plague is still isolated to NYC? Why hasn't the National Guard come in to sweep these things out yet?  

Season Two ran 13 episodes. They have been picked up for a third season. If they want to follow the books, it should be the final season. 

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