This is not surprising news: “The Strain,” the end-of-the-world-through-vampires trilogy of books written by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro, is being turned into a TV series for FX.
It’s not surprising because “The Strain” trilogy – “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal” – was originally conceived as a television series. And as a filmmaker and the guy who was tasked with bringing The Hulk to TV, Del Toro thinks and writes in a TV-friendly style.
But the news is interesting and could be good news for fans of the books. Or, at least, fans of the first book and elements of the second and third.
When “The Strain” came out in 2009, I thought it was one of the freshest and grimmest takes on vampire storytelling in years. The story plays out like a contagion thriller, with a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control, a World War II concentration camp survivor and an exterminator – yes, an exterminator – taking on a secretive vampire infestation of New York City.
The book’s plot is fun and the characters enjoyable, but the best part was the variation on vampire lore: The monsters were not sparkly dreamboats but pale, scary creatures with bloodsucking stingers that shot out several feet to snare victims. The heroes used some standard vampire-slaying tools but also used high-tech stuff like ultraviolet flashlights.
As good as the first book was, though, the succeeding volumes missed the mark with me. Maybe it was how dark they were. Maybe it was that it seemed Hogan and Del Toro painted themselves into a corner by going way, way too far too quickly.
At any rate, I’ll be interested to see what kind of show Del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse of “Lost” put on.
Here’s hoping they don’t go too far too fast.