Del Toro’s “The Strain” on FX

The Strain


They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months–the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city–a city that includes his wife and son–before it is too late.

I’m about to squee my head off.  I’ve been a fan of the “The Strain” trilogy written by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro ever since the first book came out.  I had a feeling all along that it was going to be fodder for an eventual movie. I was sort of right. Turns out its going to be a series directed/developed by Del Toro and Hogan, showing this summer on FX.


There can be lots of to argue about when it comes to casting. For me, the three crucial roles were, first: Vasili Fet, a municipal pest exterminator whose foresight and knowledge of creature behavior is critical to everyone’s chances of survival. Second, Josef Sardu, aka “The Master”. He is the big baddie, the Voldemort, the Dracula, the ultimate bad guy. And Third:  Professor Abraham Setrakian. He has hunted Sardu for decades and possesses crucial knowledge of Sardu’s history and his strengths and weaknesses.

Let me say that I think the casting is DEAD ON, for these three roles.  In a pleasant surprise that I hadn’t considered, Kevin Durand is cast as Vasili.

Yeah, I went with the shirtless pic. So sue me.

Yeah, I went with the shirtless pic. So sue me.

He’s so perfect, I can’t believe I didn’t think of him myself. I adore character actors (Gary Oldman, Ron Perlman, Johnny Dep, Bruce Spence, etc.) and I think Kevin Durand is one of the most underrated of his sort. I’m so excited to see him get this role.

Josef Sardu, The Master. He’s described as being a giant, among other things.  Who’s a giant foreign guy that can pull off this role? I can only think of one, and Hollywood completely agrees with me.

robert maillet

His name is Robert Maillet, but you probably know him as the guy who kicked Robert Downey Jr.’s ass in the first Sherlock Holmes movie.  The Master doesn’t have to say a whole lot. He just mostly has to be good at being big, creepy, and imposing. I think Mr. Maillet’s got that down pat.

Finally, Abraham Setrakian, The Master’s number one nemesis and curator of all things to do with this ancient strain of vampire.  He is described as a wizened old Jewish man, formerly a university professor, but now the owner of a pawn shop. I’m quite pleased that this role was given to John Hurt. Doctor Who lovers, rejoice!

John Hurt 2  John Hurt

And finally, casting for the vampire creatures that eventually overrule the city (and then the world) should be easy enough.  Based on the description in the story, Del Toro is planning to clone the advanced vampire creature he created for Blade 2.


Yeah, that ain’t no Twilight right there.

If you like the kind of vampires that are actually monsters to be afraid of, if you like apocalyptic stories, if you like tales about man eating viruses that threaten to kill off the whole population of the world, this will be the series for you. If you like sparkly vampires and happy ever after, then stay away. Far far away.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael Hicks
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 22:13:11

    Great piece! I really liked The Strain book series as well. FX is a good network to host this series, too. More Del Toro is always a good thing.


    • squee1313
      Jan 31, 2014 @ 11:47:22

      Yes! More Del Toro is always a great thing! I’m also glad to see this show find a home on a network that is not a premium outlet. I would hate to have to get HBO for this series, but I would.


      • Michael Hicks
        Jan 31, 2014 @ 13:01:04

        We ditched cable over the summer, but I definitely think this will be worth the purchase price on either iTunes or Amazon Video. The nice thing about it not being on HBO is that I won’t have to wait for the discs to be released to catch it! 🙂

  2. Widdershins
    Jan 31, 2014 @ 00:47:02

    What is this sparkly vampire you speak of? No such creature has ever existed, does not exist and never will! Just in case you don’t believe me … any sparkly vampires that might have existed were killed off in the Buffyverse:


  3. squee1313
    Jan 31, 2014 @ 11:59:02

    I am so ashamed that I’ve never seen this before because it was Awesome! And i love the little bit of HP footage in there, too. What an editing genius.
    I wonder if there’s one of Buffy killing Bill or Eric from True Blood. I’d love to see that. But At least Bill and Eric don’t sparkle. And they aren’t “vegetarians”.


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