Can The Strain just admit that it’s an inch left of Sharknado? Season 2 of FX’s series debuts on July 12, the last day of Comic-Con. To celebrate, FX will take over the lawn area between the Hilton Bayfront and the Convention Center with installations to promote many of its series, including The Strain.

While it was highly rated for a cable series, the show’s moody tone clashed with its campy content. A recurrent one was when characters would express the necessity for haste but then proceed to have elongated conversations or agonized expressions of emotionality. Sure, a lot of TV does that. But The Strain seemed to make fun of its halting the pace.

The dialogue is pretty awful. The two actors who play David Bradley’s younger selves don’t even bother to match the actor’s accent. You have to commiserate with the actor who proved his deftness in handling humor in a campfest like Game of Thrones or kids fare such as the Harry Potter movies. All one needs to do is compare his performance as Mr. Filch to Timothy Spall’s Wormtail. Spall eviscerated the dramatic tension whereas for the most part, Bradley added to it. There was an unfortunate scene in the eighth movie, but the point is Bradley has talent. In the FX show, he’s relegated to uttering large monologues in a haunted, unemotional manner. Oh, and while in the midst of battle, he has to mutter ancient language intonations while facing down a long stinger that can suck his blood out. He deserves better.

Sean Astin who like Bradley never deflated the drama in the Lord of the Rings movies fared better on the show. His character was killed mid-season.

We were told that there was a point to Corey Stoll’s hairpiece but that never panned out. Somehow the woman who killed the internet meets up with Stoll’s CDC scientist and Bradley’s Vampire Hunter in a mini-mart, no less. That mini-mart episode had the team surrounded by vampires who apparently were on break for 3/4 of the episode until they finally laid siege on the building. Nazis live forever, vampiric infections are doled out in degrees, and alcoholism challenges the soul sucking vampires for public enemy number one.

It’s camp. It may not even realize it’s sheer campiness. And yet The Strain seems to want to contend for contributing to the Golden Age of Television. The artistic team should take cue from its own show, and chop that notion off in the head.


–Ken Choy



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