Thanks to stupid movies like Twilight I lost all interest in vampires. I used to like them a lot; I read Dracula when I was younger and I was so into this book that I felt scared and had trouble sleeping when I read the part where the author described how Dracula could turn into smoke and pass through the door locks. Vampires used to be romantic and scary at the same time, as stated in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the awesomely cool adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola, which I saw recently as well, just to confirm that I still have the same opinion as when I saw it the first time when I was like 15 years old.
Let's talk about the things I liked:
Its parallelism with Dracula: It reminded me parts of the book, for instance, where the captain of the Russian ship "Demeter" talks about the disappearance of the crew. Also, this ship carries a box containing soil; so it is the aircraft on the Strain. The crew are the passengers of the plane, and instead of disappearing they are, let's say "hibernating". I guess the comparisons finish there but it was enough to got me engaged and kept me watching the whole of the first - and for now only - season. No, wait, there is another comparison I'd like to add: Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) is Van Helsing.
Speaking of Van Helsing, I mean, Abraham Setrakian: I liked the sub-plot explaining his life and how he started his life long chasing of the vampire, or the "Master" as they call it. I have a very special interest in World War II, so much that I almost can say studying it is a hobbie for me.
Kevin Durand: Oh my god, who is this exotic, imposing man? At the beginning I thought he might be Japanese, or Asian, but then I saw his blue eyes, and I said, ok, he might be Japanese-European or something like that; finally I did my homework and found out he is Canadian. I have no idea why I find this man so attractive, and the looks of someone shouldn't influence my decision of watch or not something, but let's be real: that is a thing, otherwise no one would cast handsome actors all the time. It added to my temporary crush that his character left a promising career in architecture to chase vermin, not because I dream of marrying a pest exterminator, but because it makes him look like a free spirit, a man who follows his heart and is absolutely unconventional. Swoon...
Guillermo del Toro, of course: Besides the fact that we both are Latin Americans, he is brilliant (though not infallible: "Mama" sucked big time). I became a fan with "The Devil's Backbone", and then with "Pan's Labyrinth", so when I knew he was involved in The Strain, I thought it might be good. Actually, the creatures in the last episode reminded me of the Pale Man, one of the most terrifying villains I have ever seen.
- How they racionalized "vampirism" and turned it into a disease: Goodweather gives a very "scientific" explanation about how the disease changes the way the body works.
Now let's talk about the things I didn't like / didn't understand:
- What's the deal with all the green /yellow, obnoxious highlights? Everything looks green. Is this a visual metaphor about sickness? Were they trying to make it look "vintage"?
- I didn't quite follow how the "vampire makeover" works. The vampires seemed to be filled with worms. It is kind of disgusting, actually. In Episode One we can see the heart of Setrakian's wife, which he keeps in a tank with formaldehyde, filled with worms. He even feeds it with his own blood. Ew. The disease turns people into brainless monsters, whose only purpose is to eat. So they are basically zombies, they don't think, they don't talk, they are violent, that is what happens - apparently - when the "transformation" is over. They start to crave blood so they start to kill, but they are no longer in possession of their mental faculties. Which brings the question, are vampires zombies? The other way you can get the disease is when they attack you with their "throat appendage". Yes, I was kind of like what the hell when I first saw it. This is their version of the "vampire kiss", and it doesn't look romantic at all.
- Thomas Eichhorst: He is an "undead". Does this means he is a zombie? Can they make up their mind with the zombie-vampire dualism? What are they, actually? And why Thomas is not a brainless eating machine? However, the way he feeds himself, although a little bit less... savage is still repugnant, and he doesn't use his "throat appendage". So how do you get to be one of the "upper class vampires", instead of a zombie vampire? There's also an army, or squadron, or undead-vampire-zombie police (Episode 7) whose purpose is to exterminate the lower class vampires. I want to know where did they come from, and I might have to re watched the series because now it looks like I have missed a couple of episodes.
- The master: Just look at his ears. It looks incredibly, incredibly fake.
I just went to investigate if there is going to be a second season, and it looks like it will. I hope they keep most of the cast, and by most of cast I mean Kevin Durand.