“The Strain” is an odd bird. Even besides the whole “vampires projecting fleshy six-foot-long stingers out of their mouths” thing.
It’s odd because it’s a TV series drawn from a series of three books that began life as a TV project.
Published in 2009, “The Strain” was written by movie director Guillermo del Toro and top-notch crime drama writer Chuck Hogan, who wrote “Prince of Thieves,” the hard-bitten Boston thriller made into the Ben Affleck movie “The Town.”
The two based “The Strain” and its two sequels, “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal,” on a TV series they wanted to develop.
The first book – and this is the plot familiar to viewers of the FX series, which is five episodes into a 13-episode first (?) season – follows the efforts of a small group of people – a couple of Centers for Disease Control scientists, an exterminator and a sword-wielding survivor of a World War II death camp – to convince authorities that New York City is the breeding ground for a deadly type of virus, It’s a disease that turns people into grotesque vampires, spreads rapidly – and has been deliberately released into the population after most of the passengers and crew of an airliner turn up dead on the runway at JFK.
“The Strain” is also odd in that, having read the books, I can’t quite imagine how the show can play out like Hogan and del Toro’s series of novels.
I won’t get into spoilers here, but suffice it to say that it would be an odd series indeed that starts as a medical thriller with supernatural overtones and morphs into … well, something else entirely.
“The Strain” is not what it seems. I’m not sure at what pace the plot will play out – and I’m pretty sure the series will be more faithful to the books than the adaptation of Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” has been – but it’ll be very interesting to see what happens by the end of this season. Or next, if there is one.
And those stingers. Sheesh.