Blu-ray Review: ‘THE STRAIN: Season 2’

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Preston Barta // Editor

THE STRAIN: SEASON 2 | 546 min (13 episodes) | TV-MA
Creator: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Cast: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin DurandMía MaestroJonathan HydeRichard SammelNatalie BrownMiguel GomezRuta GedmintasMax Charles and Robin Atkin Downes

Ever since BUFFY and ANGEL put the nail in the series coffin over a decade ago, creativity in the vampire department has long since been absent.

Enter Guillermo del Toro.

Del Toro’s wonderfully inventive mind has brought us such works as PAN’S LABYRINTH, HELLBOY and BLADE II. His dark, poetic view of the sci-fi fantasy world has always been a treasure to behold. Now, while THE STRAIN isn’t the strongest in his bulk of work, it’s certainly far from his worst.

THE STRAIN’s first season started off a little shaky, but it kept the fangs in us by presenting an interesting world of creatures. It took us back to the true mythology of vampires, where bloodsuckers had a peculiar way of feeding and sexual identity was out the window. But it wasn’t until we hit the half-mark did the show truly find its footing in season one.

While things did pick up, the show was far from reaching its full potential. Characters were still thinly written, the powerful aspects were too short and far between, and the Master… well, his physical appearance was more silly than threatening once his face finally popped into frame. But you needn’t worry; his appearance improves with the latest season.

Season 2 puts the series on track for a darker, more compelling direction.

Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown) and the creepy "Feelers." Photo courtesy of Michael Gibson/FX.

Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown) and the creepy “Feelers.” Photo courtesy of Michael Gibson/FX.

The show’s greatest strengths has always been the origin of the “virus” and the history between Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) and Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel). There was just something so infectious with the idea of mixing vampires, the Holocaust, and Nazis, and I think del Toro and his co-creator Chuck Hogan recognized this by the end of first season.

The second season kicks off with a riveting origin story of The Master (Robert Maillet). We learn how he came to be, and also discover the next phase of his plan: creating a new breed of creatures and placing them under the control of the now-infected Kelly (Natalie Brown).

However, on the other side, Eph (Corey Stoll), Nora (Mía Maestro) and the rest of the rat pack work towards a tactical/physical approach to take out the Master and his bloodthirsty posse, by creating a biological weapon. Meanwhile, Abraham takes a more literal approach, by searching for an ancient text he hopes will reveal the strigoi’s history and maybe even a way to kill them.

Fans can also rejoice when it comes to action and story. There is more comic book style of action that we love, captivating folk tales, ugly bloodsuckers, strigoi squad, and blood– lots and LOTS of blood. (So, in other words, plan your snacking around this show).

It finally seems THE STRAIN is becoming the show we always wanted it to be: a gory fun-time. And that’s all you need to know.

Season 2 of THE STRAIN is available today on Blu-ray and DVD, and it returns with Season 3 at 10 p.m. Sunday, August 28 only on FX.

Extras:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Meet the Crew of THE STRAIN
  • The White Room
  • Audio Commentary on Night Train featuring Carlton Cuse
  • Gag Reel
  • Beyond the Page
  • Sentient strigoi

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About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.