Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Second Strain!

The Strain is arguably my favorite television show right now. I know I exceedingly eager to see the second season unfold. There was inevitably with shows of this nature a bit of a letdown as many of the best secrets had been revealed in the first season, but still and all there's plenty here to hold one's attention.

The show seemed committed to following the slow and steady collapse of New York City and its immediate environs as a particularly nasty version of vampires arrive in town and start taking things over. There's a real sense of the classic frog-in-the-boiling-pot in that as the threat slowly evolves and increases people seem always to attempt to manage it. By season's end we get the sense that NYC has been largely cut off from the larger world, quarantined as it were.

We continue to follow out intrepid vampire killers, a band of hardy souls who fail as often in their missions as they succeed and who alas are all insufficient to meet the threat, though the threat itself does seem to be grooming them to improve in that regard.

In particular the character of Goodfellow (Corey Stoll), a CDC scientist and drunk who had before the crisis abandoned his family is a distinctly unlikable fellow who time and again puts his desires ahead of his responsibilities. He's hard to root for, except clearly some of the gang really seem to love him especially his totally confused kid. Their story seemed to such up a lot of screen time this season, and with little forward advance most of the time.

I do think the show lost a bit of its focus as the limelight fell less on veteran vampire slayer Setrakian (David Bradly) in this season, though to be fair we do learn some more of his history. He is an exceedingly compelling character and was sent off most of the season chasing a book which he seems to have limited ability to actually use we learn. It's a maguffin and a bit unworthy of a fine character to allow him to spend so much of his precious time trundling after it.

Gus (Miguel Gomez), the adorable gang-banger, does get some growth as he is recruited into the ranks of some undead enemies of the vampires who have infiltrated NYC along with his boyhood hero, a former luchadore named the "Silver Angel" who might have more experience with vampires than anyone knows. More on these guys would've made for a richer season and hopefully we'll get some of that next time.  Vassily Fet (Kevin Durand) is still a great wonky character who alas wasn't given enough screen time I felt this season. Both Gus and Fet do find love, though it's as always that proves elusive.

Also added to the cast is Quinlan a centuries old vampire-human hybrid who seems fatally opposed to the Master and works for the Ancients and humanity by his own measures. His potent skills have really added some heft to the battle, though is motivations remain somewhat murky.

There were some great moments and some dandy lines this season, very enjoyable. But I did feel the intensity lessen as a familiarity with the surroundings made the characters and the audience become to comfortable in this deadly new world.

Still I can't wait until the next season. That's enough said I suppose.

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  1. Thanks for talking about this show. I've never heard of it.

    1. It's a dandy. It's the one show I wait for now. Others come on and I watch, but I'm actually eager to see more of this one. There are books these are based on which Del Toro produced when he couldn't get anyone to make the show some years ago, and I might have to get those to carry me over until next season.

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