2014 is barely underway but we already have a ton of promising sci-fi television shows to keep an eye on over the course of the year. Ron Moore is getting back to work with two new series, Helix on Syfy and an adaptation of Outlander for Starz; CBS just debuted Intelligence; Alfonso Cuaron and J.J. Abrams will, in theory deliver Believe, assuming that the show hasn’t been cursed by dark spirits, and the Wachowski’s are even going to dip their toes in the television pool as they tag team Sense8 with J. Michael Straczynski and Netflix. Hell, we’re even getting Star Wars: Rebels, a new animated series from Lucasfilm, this year, among others. In a landscape with all of this big time movie-making talent taking a turn on the small screen, it doesn’t seem strange at all for Guillermo del Toro to have a go at episodic television with an adaptation of his trilogy of novels The Strain for FX. Details have been sparse, but we the first two photos from the viral vampire series to take a look at.
The pictures popped up at Yahoo, which you probably gathered from those huge watermarks, and while they’re not super revealing, it’s nice to get a look at The Strain. And when was the last time you saw Corey Stoll with a head of hair like that? He usually looks like Peter Sarsgaard’s evil doppelganger.
The biggest thing that you’ll take away from these photos that this looks a lot more like an outbreak story than a vampire. You get to see CDC quarantine protocols in full effect, with airtight plastic bubbles and intense looking hazmat suits. If you were expecting a crucifix, a clove of garlic, wooden stakes, and maybe some UV lights, think again. Granted, I haven’t read the books, which del Toro penned with Chuck Hogan, so that stuff could come in at a later time. But in the beginning, at least, it looks like FX, which already gave the show a full season order, wants to ground such an outbreak in reality, making it into an event that looks entirely plausible. That’s a much more terrifying strategy than your usual hissing, cape wearing blood-sucker story.
Stoll plays Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, a prophetic name if ever I’ve heard one, the head of a Center for Disease Control team in New York City. When a virulent strain of what appears to be old-timey vampirism begins to spread through the city, he and his team, along with a gang of “everyday New Yorkers,” which reportedly includes a holocaust survivor, must battle for the very future of the human race.
The Strain sounds like a cool take on two different stories, both of which we’ve heard a number of times. When the show finally drops, which isn’t until July, we’ll get to see what elements the show includes from both pandemic tales and vampire narratives. Unless you’ve read the books, then you probably know. But I like the idea of being able to pick and choose pieces of each and combining them into something new and fresh.
The Strain stars Stoll, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Ben Hyland, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Miz Maestro, and Franz Capra.