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Maester Llama

Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain on FX

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This series is based on a series of vampire thrillers Del Toro coauthored with a writer named Chuck Hogan a few years back. I'm told the books are deeply unexceptional, but they sound like they might lend themselves well to the more macabre side of Del Toro's film-making style. First season is 13 episodes, and starts on FX on Sunday July 13th, which is tonight as I write this. Looks pleasingly gross and disquieting. I have hopes. This is one of two semi-sf shows I'm looking forward to trying in the coming days, Extant being the other.



It surprises me we don't already have a thread about this, given Del Toro's popularity, so if I've missed one my apologies.



Of note: Del Toro directed the pilot for The Strain himself, and a set visit article I was reading earlier claims that he's also directed some individual sequences in subsequent episodes that particularly strike him. Apparently he's also made his presence and oversight felt on set fairly regularly -- Del Toro was shooting a big haunted house movie, Crimson Peak, during production on The Strain, limiting his availability, but he was shooting it in Toronto, which is also where The Strain was filmed, making it possible for him to be directly involved day-to-day to some degree.



Thoughts from those who've seen it? Is it the good shit?


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I liked it. You can definitely feel Del Toro's mark on it. Did not shy away from gore when needed.


Also, since the main character seems to be a CDC officer, I wonder how they will combine science with fantasy. And Bradley (Mr. Filch, Walder Frey) is pretty good in it.


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I mistakenly caught the very end of the first episode. :( But on the brighter side, I'm watching it from the beginning right now. What I've seen so far is pretty good - good enough to keep me awake on a Sunday night when I should be in bed.

ETA: Is that Sean Astin?

ETA2: Yep, it is.

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I definitely liked the first episode and will be juggling this show with The Leftovers and This Week Tonight With John Oliver on Sunday nights. del Toro definitely knows how to build up tension, and the macabre elements of the story are definitely right in his wheelhouse. It was nice to see David Bradley (I had no idea he had been cast in the series) playing something of a badass and its always nice to see Sean Astin on the screen.



The previews of upcoming episodes makes it look like they're really going to amp up the action, but I'm hoping they were just showing the most explosive scenes to keep people interested who may have otherwise been fidgety about the pacing of the first episode. I personally liked the pacing, and the slow ratcheting up of the tension.



So I'm wondering about a couple of things (and please no spoilers from the books, just posting these for discussion purposes):



Is the heart Abraham is keeping in the jar the heart of his wife? Referring to it as "dear" just made me wonder. Not to mention that it since he had battled against the parasite like that previously, it seems odd he would just be keeping one as a pet.



Also, the four survivors...presumedly they were not "infected", and I'm guessing that means they also weren't fed off of like the others (e.g. the corpse in the morgue that had the nearly invisible slit in its neck). But all 4 of them were still at the very least knocked unconscious. And at least one was complaining about the ringing in the ears that the guy who got his head pounded in was complaining about right before the "Dracula" vampire fed on and killed him. So do those people just not make good candidates for changing to a vampire or something and that's why the one guy was killed instead of turned (presumedly the Dracula knew that it couldn't just outright murder the survivors on the plane, as that would have triggered a far more careful investigation)?

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I definitely liked the first episode and will be juggling this show with The Leftovers and This Week Tonight With John Oliver on Sunday nights. del Toro definitely knows how to build up tension, and the macabre elements of the story are definitely right in his wheelhouse. It was nice to see David Bradley (I had no idea he had been cast in the series) playing something of a badass and its always nice to see Sean Astin on the screen.

The previews of upcoming episodes makes it look like they're really going to amp up the action, but I'm hoping they were just showing the most explosive scenes to keep people interested who may have otherwise been fidgety about the pacing of the first episode. I personally liked the pacing, and the slow ratcheting up of the tension.

So I'm wondering about a couple of things (and please no spoilers from the books, just posting these for discussion purposes):

Is the heart Abraham is keeping in the jar the heart of his wife? Referring to it as "dear" just made me wonder. Not to mention that it since he had battled against the parasite like that previously, it seems odd he would just be keeping one as a pet.

Also, the four survivors...presumedly they were not "infected", and I'm guessing that means they also weren't fed off of like the others (e.g. the corpse in the morgue that had the nearly invisible slit in its neck). But all 4 of them were still at the very least knocked unconscious. And at least one was complaining about the ringing in the ears that the guy who got his head pounded in was complaining about right before the "Dracula" vampire fed on and killed him. So do those people just not make good candidates for changing to a vampire or something and that's why the one guy was killed instead of turned (presumedly the Dracula knew that it couldn't just outright murder the survivors on the plane, as that would have triggered a far more careful investigation)?

Judging by the previews, and that the old man said all the people on the plane must be destroyed, dead or alive, I would say the 4 survivors may be just as dangerous, if not even more dangerous, than the dead guys.

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so this show has zombies, parasites, and a teleporting vampire demon

it's all very confusing

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Judging by the previews, and that the old man said all the people on the plane must be destroyed, dead or alive, I would say the 4 survivors may be just as dangerous, if not even more dangerous, than the dead guys.

I must have missed that part about Abraham saying that everyone on the plane must be destroyed.

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so this show has zombies, parasites, and a teleporting vampire demon

it's all very confusing

That's mild by American Horror story standards :P

One of the few things I liked about the book was how it ties zombies,vampires and parasites together (it doesn't solve the teleporting demon thing, which i can't fully recall). To be honest the ideas are great - it was the execution that sucked. So still optimistic for the show - will give it a whirl tomorrow when I have time.

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I definitely liked the first episode and will be juggling this show with The Leftovers and This Week Tonight With John Oliver on Sunday nights. del Toro definitely knows how to build up tension, and the macabre elements of the story are definitely right in his wheelhouse. It was nice to see David Bradley (I had no idea he had been cast in the series) playing something of a badass and its always nice to see Sean Astin on the screen.

The previews of upcoming episodes makes it look like they're really going to amp up the action, but I'm hoping they were just showing the most explosive scenes to keep people interested who may have otherwise been fidgety about the pacing of the first episode. I personally liked the pacing, and the slow ratcheting up of the tension.

So I'm wondering about a couple of things (and please no spoilers from the books, just posting these for discussion purposes):

Is the heart Abraham is keeping in the jar the heart of his wife? Referring to it as "dear" just made me wonder. Not to mention that it since he had battled against the parasite like that previously, it seems odd he would just be keeping one as a pet.

Also, the four survivors...presumedly they were not "infected", and I'm guessing that means they also weren't fed off of like the others (e.g. the corpse in the morgue that had the nearly invisible slit in its neck). But all 4 of them were still at the very least knocked unconscious. And at least one was complaining about the ringing in the ears that the guy who got his head pounded in was complaining about right before the "Dracula" vampire fed on and killed him. So do those people just not make good candidates for changing to a vampire or something and that's why the one guy was killed instead of turned (presumedly the Dracula knew that it couldn't just outright murder the survivors on the plane, as that would have triggered a far more careful investigation)?

I'm 100% sure the heart with the parasites in the jar is the heart of someone near and dear to Abraham - if not wife, then some other family member.

Also, I'm not quite sure why most were "killed" outright, while some were left relatively intact. Probably because the four could maybe pass more easily into the rest of the world to spread the infection. It's the little girl, the wig-wearing pseudo rock and roller, and....?? I can't recall who else right now. Oh, the pilot too.

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opps


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I'm 100% sure the heart with the parasites in the jar is the heart of someone near and dear to Abraham - if not wife, then some other family member.

Also, I'm not quite sure why most were "killed" outright, while some were left relatively intact. Probably because the four could maybe pass more easily into the rest of the world to spread the infection. It's the little girl, the wig-wearing pseudo rock and roller, and....?? I can't recall who else right now. Oh, the pilot too.

You got one wrong

The rocker, the lawyer, the pilot, and the weird guy with glasses. The little girl died, and the fact she can talk shows that they are more like vampires than zombies. However, there is one strange thing. The girl spoke French on the plane, and then again when she came to her dad's house. Yet her dad is clearly American. So is the girl French and has a limited knowledge of English or for whatever reason she spoke French in the plane (coming for Europe), and that's what got left imprinted on her brain when she died? These vampire zombies also remind me of GRRM's wights. Wights also have a bit of memory from their lives.

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The little girl broke my heart. del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth did the same thing to me.

The lawyer! How could I have forgotten?! They generally have no lives anyway, so it's an honest mistake. :P

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Yeah that lawyer lady was funny. This looked pretty interesting and I'll probably keep watching. Not familiar with the source material but I might go get the book if the show stays good.



Plus, my last name is Strain. When I first saw the commercial during the Super Bowl I was like "Yeah jokers it's about time there's a show about me!" but no one at the party I was at was paying attention so I probably sounded silly.


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Haven't seen the show, but at first glance, this thread title is misleading.



Del Toro's Strain on FX = too many special effects?



:D



Ahem. Sorry.


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Huh, so we do! I must not have gone through the search results carefully enough. And ... yep, there's my post in that previous Strain thread, which I of course now absolutely remember making, and now I feel dumb. Sorry for thread duplication!



And my thoughts have not changed since I made that post: I still wanna see Walder Frey beat the living fuck out of vampires with a cane. Hoping to sit down with some shows in a day or two. Glad to hear it's promising.



I'm not at all sure how I feel about Samwise Gamgee working for the CDC to counter a vampire insurgency in New York. I mean, I'm certain he's up to the challenge, but I'll have to work hard to quash my expectation that he'll start shouting "Mister Frodo!" in stressful situations, and talk about gardening a lot.


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I'm not at all sure how I feel about Samwise Gamgee working for the CDC to counter a vampire insurgency in New York. I mean, I'm certain he's up to the challenge, but I'll have to work hard to quash my expectation that he'll start shouting "Mister Frodo!" in stressful situations, and talk about gardening a lot.

Sean Astin is only appearing in two episodes.

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In 2006, del Toro pitched The Strain as a television series, but negotiations broke down when the network president at Fox Broadcasting Company asked him to make it a comedy.


Yeah, given the nature of the pilot, I can see how that suggestion would ... strain their relationship.


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Yeah, given the nature of the pilot, I can see how that suggestion would ... strain their relationship.

... I can't decide whether to applaud or openly weep.

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