When it comes to supernatural and sci-fi series, there are few as acclaimed or popular as The Strain. The series, produced by Guillermo del Toro, has taken the vampire mythos and turned it on its ear. In The Strain, being a vampire is like a disease where anyone you know can suddenly turn into a vampire. It’s a very complicated series with an intricate plot, so you really have to focus to make sure that you’re able to follow along.
The Strain: The Complete Second Season is out now on Blu-ray and I think you’ll be happy with how the show has progressed since season one. While not a series known for its restraint, the show has a high gore count, however don’t let that stop you from giving the series a try.
Season two starts with a fun fairy-tale like opening sequence with Abraham as a young boy and his grandma. Abraham won’t eat unless he’s told a story and he wants… a horror yarn. Grandma agrees and then we see her tale with a giant who meets a vampire. The vampire’s host body is decaying and the giant is infected by these vampire worms into the giant. The children then start vanishing from the town…
This is such a great way to dive into the season. It’s creepy and nostalgic at the same time. This shift in tone is something that The Strain does all season long and something it’s known for. I know a lot of people get put off by that but personally I like contrasts and juxtapositions such as this. It really helps set the series apart and makes it not just a vampire hunting series.
The Strain of course revolves around Eph (Corey Stoll) who is a vampire hunter of sorts. The strain of “The Strain” is basically a parasite that kills its host, so once infected there isn’t a cure. This interesting note gives The Strain a sort of procedural quality when it’s not being bogged down by a bit of daytime drama elements.
It’s a jam packed series for sure, there are so many subplots it’s hard to keep up with them all. Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) makes a deal with the ancients in a bid to defeat the Master, Eph’s son Zach (Max Charles) dealing with his mother being infected, and Kelly (Natalie Brown) and her school of blind students which could have a new version of the vampire strain.
Guillermo del Toro injects the series with much of his classic trademarks to keep the pace up and the actors especially Corey Stoll inject the series with a high quality atmosphere. Corey Stoll lends every character he plays with such a sense of broken dignity. If it was another life he could have been something else, instead now, he’s a vampire hunter. It’s the small things he does as an actor and the little choices he makes that really make Eph such a compelling character.
The Strain: The Complete Second Season arrives on Blu-ray in a fine transfer thanks to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. On high definition the series looks much more crisp than the broadcast version. There is a stylistic choice of a yellowish color that permeates many of the scenes in the film. It doesn’t detract from the picture quality necessarily but it does affect the picture details slightly. The dark scenes have a slight clarity issue, however the more brightly lit sequences offer a nice contrast.
Special features on this set include:
Deleted Scenes – There are selected deleted scenes on each of the three discs. Total running time is about fourteen minutes.
Meet the Crew of The Strain – this is a look at the behind the scenes folks of The Strain.
The White Room – This is a featurette that focuses on a very specific room from the show.
Beyond the Page – This is a look at taking Guillermo del Toro’s original books and adapting them for the small screen.
Sentient Strigoi – A look at the people who have turned into Vampires during the season.
Gag Reel – This is a very short gag reel, but it’s still fun to watch.
Overall, I really like The Strain and if you’re a fan of the sci-fi vampire genre, I think you’ll enjoy seeing this new take. It’s a very complicated series full of interesting characters and very fine performances particularly Corey Stoll.
The Strain: The Complete Second Season is out now on Blu-ray!