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The Strain

The Strain Eye WormThe Strain is a TV show on FX about worm-driven vampires with mouth-tongues that shoot out and make bloody awful slurping noises. While worm-vampires and things that shoot from the mouth really aren’t my thing, I decided to give this series a shot and I’m regretting it more every week.

One of the issues is the writers seem to have no understanding of technology. Part of the story line is that a group of hackers downed the internet and screwed up the phone lines. There’s a scene in a gas station where a guy attempts to pay, is told the credit card machines, phone, and internet are down. Two minutes later they go out and use a credit card on the gas pump 12 feet away.

Not only does it authorize, but it pumps gas. Oh wait, did I mention the worm vampires had just disabled power to the gas station? Yeah – with no power, no communications, they authorized and pumped gas to create fire to scare off the wormpires.

Other things involve tracking a phone that’s been unplugged for several days, a vampire outbreak for about a week and still only about eight people have any clue what’s going on, a faux typewriter sound that doesn’t match up with the text that’s going on the screen, and a completely blown chance to make this show amazing.

The narrative keeps popping back and forth between days, almost as if the writers were incapable of sitting down and planning a show out more than one or two episodes. “Oh, we didn’t show her getting turned on day four? Yeah it’s day seven now we’re going to have to create a backstory…”

Combine with a sort of love story that’s not going anywhere, some incredibly bad acting or editing choices, and everyone making the stupidest possible choice every single episode “oh, your nursing home was just attacked by a vampire… yeah, let’s take you somewhere else and not tell anyone about that”.

The formula for this show feels significantly more zombie than vampire, even down to them taking the Resident Evil monsters and appropriating them for the vamps. But it also feels like it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer – why are there not more people involved in this operation? At a week in New York I don’t think it would be all that difficult to have at least hired some help for some vampire whooping.

The whole thing has been turned into Dude, Old Dude, Dude’s kid, Dude’s love interest, the dead-faced rat catcher and hacker woman take on an army of vampires.

It’s a shame too because the series started out so good. That premise was good. It was ominous. You had unknown forces at work. You had a city on edge and a mystery to solve of a totally dead plane. Now it seems like one worm vampire lord, a couple thousand by now vampirelings, one nazi, one jewish prison camp survivor, and the Scooby Gang.

Like, why didn’t the vampire lord just – oh, I don’t know.. not kill everyone on board the airplane and just get carted off the plane and delivered to his house instead of risking everything ten minutes before landing? Why with a huge corporation and countless resources doesn’t the vampire lord say “oh hey, why don’t we grab the Yellow pages – that still exists right? And let our fingers do the walking to the pawn shop opened by this random threat to us… and then we’ll … I don’t know…hire some thugs to go in and kill him during daylight?”

The Strain Season 1

Instead the plot has been revealed like an eight year old telling a story… oh yeah… and then this happened… oh I forgot that happened … yes, a random vampire got the main guy’s ex’s current boyfriend who managed to turn main guy’s ex so the dark worm lord could use her against the main guy.

Dude could be easily taken out of the equation with about 10 minutes of work instead of random worm vampire guessing.

They’ve also upped the gross factor as you can see with the eyeball worm. It was involved in the last episode. It’s that disgusting and fits significantly better in the zombieverse but for some reason they wanted them here. Zompires. Just not particularly working out.

We’ve lost most of the cool of a vampire (power of suggestion, flight, transmorphing, sparkling if you’re into that, intelligence, only turns you if you’re worth it) and gained the zombie paradigm (dumb, no regard for self preservation, will turn you if you get nicked.)

I think it can be saved, but at the moment the choices they’ve made is making The Strain suck more than the multiple gallons of blood their zompires suck in a second.