TV Recap: The Strain, The Leftovers, and Intruders

A trio of creepy titles debuted this summer, and your personal preference may dictate which you prefer, although one show stands above the other two in terms of quality and intensity, and perhaps surprisingly (or perhaps not), it is the Fx Network entry that is can’t miss television.

From Executive Producer and horror master Guillermo Del Toro, The Strain is a very different kind of entry in the horror genre.  Blending equal parts vampire story, zombie apocalypse and virus pandemic thriller, The Strain smartly uses its gore factor to provide just enough revulsion to shock us without driving us away.

That’s a good thing, because this is one of the best-cast TV shows I’ve ever seen.  Corey Stoll, who was so outstanding in House of Cards as tortured Pete Russo, is appropriately driven as CDC Viral Expert Ephraim Goodwater.  He’s joined by his muse and conscience in the person of Mia Maestro as Dr. Nora Martinez.  And the real stroke of genius is adding David Bradley (Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones) as WW II survivor and sword-wielding vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian.

The vampires are decidedly gross and unsexy, and the show effectively combines mythology and science to create a creepy, weird and intensely suspenseful setting.  This ain’t Twilight, this ain’t even True Blood.  If you’re a fan of, say, The Walking Dead, then The Strain has likely been your summer fix.  I’m thrilled to advise that it’s already been picked up for Season 2.  This show is a winner.

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