I tried to like The Strain, I really did. I loved the books by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan and I had high hopes that when the series premiered on FX, that it would be a reasonably faithful adaptation of the stories in the books.
Now why in the world would I ever think that? So now that we come to the end of the road, and thankfully so, here are my thoughts that are the slow-motion disaster that was The Strain.This thing is so far off the reservation, you can’t see the reservation from here. I loved the original books but starting way back in the first season, they started taking unnecessary liberties for no reason I can really identify except to be different. And really, the books were pretty much perfect as they were, the reason anyone wanted a TV series to begin with was to see that story on the small screen. What was that so hard to do, especially when what we got was so horribly inferior.
I really have no idea why I keep watching, except maybe to watch the train wreck that it has clearly become. This is exactly what went wrong with Wayward Pines, they thought they could make it better and only made it far, far worse.
Of course, and this is probably going to become a post on its own, a lot of TV shows and movies based on books seem to think they ought to put their own personal spin on things rather than just translate the book faithfully, or as faithfully as they can, to the big or small screen. Nobody wants to see what you want to make, they’re watching the show to see the original work!
The entire thing went out with a whimper, nothing actually mattered. Every character death that was moving and powerful and meaningful in the books just fell apart on TV. Setrakian, who died setting off a nuclear bomb in the books, got bit by Eichorst and put down like a rabid dog on TV. How pathetic is that?
Worse, they paid entirely too much attention to Zach, who I simply could not stand. At least in the books, they looked in on him from time to time as he was manipulated by The Master, but here, we saw far too much from Zach’s eyes and I hated every minute of it. Of course, the finale was as expected by anyone who read the books, Zach got to be the hero and save the world, but at least in the books, he was an abused and misled child who was never really evil, in the show he was absolutely evil and in control of his mind and actions. There was redemption in the books as he sacrificed his life for humanity. Here, we’re just glad he’s gone. I know there’s supposed to be some narrative symmetry there, where the boy who selfishly nuked New York now destroys The Master in a rain of nuclear fire, but I just didn’t care. TV Zach was just a terrible character for whom I never had the slightest sympathy.
I would have much preferred the book arc, where it wasn’t just a petulant child blowing up a city, but worldwide attacks to wipe out the strigoi, followed by a post-apocalyptic wasteland in which the vampires are farming humanity and our heroes are fighting to survive. It was a better story than what we got on TV.
At least, in the TV series like the book, they wrapped things up solidly. There will be no sequels, the tale is done and we’ve seen the future that, while not exactly bright, isn’t as dark as the hell they’ve all lived through. At least when I finish this review, I can be assured that I will never again have to deal with The Strain. It’s dead and buried and good riddance.