The Strain – Mid Season Review

At first, I groaned when I heard ANOTHER vampire show was coming to TV. Modern vampires are generations removed from their horror counterparts. Vampires have been roommates with a ghost and werewolf. They’ve glittered in the Pacific Northwest and chased a fairy’s magical vagina for seven seasons on cable. A far cry from the vampire’s horror roots.

What TV didn’t need, I thought, was another “sexy vampire show.”

But The Strain fixes that.

Through six episodes, The Strain scratched and clawed away from sexy vampires to bald, blood-drenched sources of nightmares. And while the show isn’t perfect, it’s trying its damnedest to return the vampire genre to its horror roots.

For me, six episodes are more than enough to determine whether I’m going to like a show. Dexter, Walking Dead are just two examples of stories that picked up right around that sixth episode. Those shows were able to hit their stride where others, like ABC’s Resurrection, failed to gain any traction for me.

The show has its faults. The characters seem flat from time to time and the story’s pacing seems to lull here in there. Others may have a hard time buying into the cause of vampirism (no spoilers here). I have a hard time believing that a few people are able to manipulate certain situations to promote the vampire apocalypse. But those faults don’t keep The Strain from being an entertaining TV show.

I’m not the only one who thinks The Strain is good. FX picked the show up for a second season. Between The Strain and American Horror Story, I’m not sure if FX is trying to angle itself as TV’s horror channel. One thing is for sure, FX knows what a good show should look like.

But, just because FX signed The Strain for another year, it doesn’t mean it won’t flop. NBC’s Heroes was a solid show. It blended elements of action, drama and fantasy. Yet, somewhere along the way, the writers lost sight of what made the show popular.

As someone who read X-Men, Batman, and other comics, Heroes showed comics could be a serious TV show. But with each passing season, the show became sillier and sillier. Removing itself from the epic storytelling of the first season and going with a more cartoonish story.

To be fair, the writers strike hindered the show’s development and changed it’s tone in storytelling. But it mattered little. NBC canceled the show after three seasons. That’s the fate I hope The Strain avoids.

There are seven episodes left in the first season. That’s enough time for the show to jump the shark. But, based off what I’ve seen so far, I believe the show will be around much, much longer.

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