The Strain (TV series)

The Strain

Title card from seasons 1–2
Created by
Based on The Strain
by Guillermo del Toro
Chuck Hogan
Voices of Robin Atkin Downes
Composer(s) Ramin Djawadi
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 36 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Location(s) Toronto, Ontario
  • Kathryn Himoff
  • Christopher Nelson
  • Sarah Boyd
Running time
  • 39–44 minutes (regular)
  • 70 minutes (pilot)
Production company(s)
  • Double Dare You
  • Carlton Cuse Productions (2014–15)
  • Cuse Productions (2016–17)
  • FX Productions (2014–15)
  • FXP (2016–17)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network FX
Original release July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13) – present
External links

The Strain is an American horror drama television series that premiered on FX on July 13, 2014.[1] It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same name. Carlton Cuse serves as executive producer and showrunner. Del Toro and Hogan wrote the pilot episode, "Night Zero", which del Toro directed. A thirteen-episode first season was ordered on November 19, 2013.[2] The pilot episode premiered at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, in early June 2014.[3]

On August 6, 2014, FX renewed The Strain for a 13-episode second season which premiered on July 12, 2015.[4][5] On August 7, 2015, FX renewed The Strain for a 10-episode third season which premiered on August 28, 2016.[6][7][8] FX renewed the series for a fourth and final season on September 27, 2016, slated to air in summer 2017.[9]

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring cast



Promotional poster which was withdrawn from circulation after a number of complaints.[36]

In 2006, del Toro pitched The Strain as a television series, but negotiations broke down when the network president at Fox Broadcasting Company asked him to make it a comedy.[37] An agent suggested expanding the concept as a novel series instead.[38] Del Toro asked Chuck Hogan to co-write the series, explaining: "I've written short stories in Spanish and English. I've written screenplays. But I'm not good at forensic novels. I'm not good at hazmat language and that CSI-style precision. When Stoker wrote Dracula, it was very modern, a CSI sort of novel. I wanted to give The Strain a procedural feel, where everything seems real."[39] Hogan agreed after reading a page and a half of del Toro's 12-page project outline; the duo collaborated for the first year on a handshake, with no contract or publishing deal in place.[40] The first installment, The Strain, was released in 2009. It was followed by 2010's The Fall and 2011's The Night Eternal.

After the first book's publication, studios and networks began making offers for the film and television adaptation rights, but del Toro and Hogan declined, not wanting a screen version to influence the way they were writing the books. After the third book's publication, the authors talked with every cable network that had expressed interest. FX was deemed most suitable because they wanted to follow the books closely and liked the idea of The Strain as a close-ended series consisting of three to five seasons. Del Toro stated that the first two novels can be covered by one season each, while The Night Eternal may be split into two or three seasons. The author is also open to creative detours that may develop as the series goes on, possibly incorporating material cut from the books. Del Toro intends to direct as many episodes as his busy schedule allows.[38] Before the series order was announced, FX gave the writing team the go-ahead to script another ten episodes, which del Toro rewrote.[41] FX president John Landgraf has stated that the series will consist of "39–65 episodes, no less, no more", adding "What if a television show could be just the length that is optimal for that story?"[42]

Regarding the style of the show's production, del Toro stated: "Basically I'm trying to do what I do in my movies which is to show it as a reality, but as a reality that is stylized. It's not like CSI or The Wire, it's real but it feels a little stylized. But the way the camera work will be is very realistic. We want to keep the camera very documentary even if the look of the show is not. The look of the show is very designed. The style of the camera and the storytelling will be very loose. It will evolve from that feel of reality, and little by little we want to evolve into more stylish, horror feel that requires smoother camera moves, more suspense and atmosphere-driven moments so it will be a mixture. I don't think that mixture has been seen a lot on TV."[43]

FX ordered a thirteen-episode first season for the series on November 19, 2013, and announced that the series would premiere in July 2014.[2] In August 2015, del Toro and Cuse announced a five-season plan for the series after the third season renewal, Cuse said, "From the very beginning, we had really talked about the first book being the first season, the second book being the next two seasons and the third book the last two seasons". He also said that beyond the first and second seasons, which are 13 episodes each, the remaining seasons were planned to each consist of 10 episodes.[44] However, in September 2016, FX announced the series' fourth season would be its last. Cuse stated, "After finishing the writing on season three, Guillermo, Chuck and I looked at our remaining story and felt the best version could be told in one more season."[9]


Del Toro and Cuse cast the series together.[45] Stoll was cast as Eph Goodweather based on his performance in Midnight in Paris.[45] John Hurt played Abraham Setrakian in the original version of the pilot, but later dropped out.[46] The role was recast with David Bradley and his scenes were reshot with Bradley.[11] Del Toro had previously expressed interest in casting Roy Dotrice, who played Setrakian in several live-action advertisements for the first novel.[47] Kevin Durand, who appeared in Cuse's previous show Lost, was cast as Vasiliy Fet, although the character was originally created with regular del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman in mind.[45][48] Lauren Lee Smith was originally cast as Kelly Goodweather, but was ultimately replaced by Natalie Brown.[49] Del Toro wanted Doug Jones for a major role, but the actor had to decline because of scheduling conflicts; he later played the Ancient and the Master's previous incarnation.[50] Sean Astin was cast as Jim Kent because del Toro and Cuse "thought it would be funny to have the most famous sidekick of all times be a betrayer".[45] For the second season, Max Charles replaced Ben Hyland in the series regular role of Zach Goodweather.[21]


The pilot episode began principal photography on September 17, 2013, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[51][52] Shooting of the pilot was finished on October 31, 2013. FX ordered 13 episodes. Season one was expected to film from November 25, 2013, to April 30, 2014.[53] A full writing staff was hired to script subsequent episodes. FX reportedly committed $500,000 to creature creation.[10] Twelve swords used in the series were provided by Missoula, Montana-based bladesmith company Zombie Tools.[54] Production began for the second season in Toronto in November 2014.[55]


Ramin Djawadi
Ramin Djawadi is the composer of The Strain score.

The music was composed by Ramin Djawadi, who previously scored del Toro's 2013 film Pacific Rim.[56]


The original key art for the series prominently featured a worm, a vector of the vampiric virus, burrowing into a person's eye. Following complaints from members of the public, FX announced that they would replace the artwork on several of their billboards.[36]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13)October 5, 2014 (2014-10-05)
213July 12, 2015 (2015-07-12)October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04)
310August 28, 2016 (2016-08-28)October 30, 2016 (2016-10-30)


The first season received generally positive reviews from critics and has a Metacritic rating of 72 out of 100 based on 38 reviews.[57] On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds an 87% "Certified Fresh" rating with an average score of 7.6 out of 10 based on 55 reviews. Its consensus states "The Strain makes the most of its familiar themes through an effective mix of supernatural thrills and B-movie gore – though it may not appeal to everyone".[58]

The second season received generally positive reviews and has a Metacritic rating of 66 out of 100 based on 8 reviews.[59] On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 79% with an average score of 7.2 out of 10 based on 19 reviews. Its consensus states "The Strain's gory action helps compensate for an unfocused narrative, while the show's political and philosophical subtext add necessary heft for adult viewers."[60]

The third season has received generally positive reviews and has a Metacritic rating of 62 out of 100 based on 5 reviews.[61]

See also


  1. Goldberg, Lesley; O'Connell, Michael (November 19, 2013). "FX Orders Guillermo del Toro's 'The Strain' to Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  2. 1 2 Hibberd, James (November 19, 2013). "'The Strain' gets FX series order: More vamps!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  3. Valby, Karen (April 15, 2014). "Guillermo Del Toro's FX series 'The Strain' to have world premiere at ATX Television Festival — EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  4. Bibel, Sara (August 19, 2014). "'The Strain' Renewed for Thirteen-Episode Season Two by FX". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  5. Petski, Denise (May 19, 2015). "'The Strain' Season 2 Gets July Premiere Date On FX". Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  6. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (August 7, 2015). "FX Renews 'The Strain,' Sets Premiere Dates for 'AHS: Hotel' and More". Variety. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  7. Mitovich, Matt Webb (October 6, 2015). "Strain EPs Clear the Air on Nora's Fate, Tease a 'Different, Faster' Season 3". TVLine. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  8. Iannucci, Rebecca (May 10, 2016). "You're the Worst, The Strain Get Summer Return Dates at FX Networks". TVLine. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  9. 1 2 Goldberg, Lesley (September 27, 2016). "'The Strain' Renewed for Fourth and Final Season at FX". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  10. 1 2 Andreeva, Nellie (April 25, 2013). "Corey Stoll To Topline FX's 'The Strain', From Guillermo Del Toro & Carlton Cuse". Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  11. 1 2 Ng, Philiana (November 21, 2013). "FX's 'The Strain' Casts 'Harry Potter's' David Bradley to Replace John Hurt". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  12. "Actors Brown and Watson talk vampire thriller "The Strain"". Global News. October 20, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  13. Trumbore, Dave (May 20, 2013). "FX Pilots: Director Ang Lee Departs Drama TYRANT, While Guillermo del Toro's THE STRAIN Finds Its Female Lead in Mia Maestro". Collider. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  14. Weisman, Jon (April 26, 2013). "Durand joins Stoll in FX's 'Strain'". Variety. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  15. 1 2 Goldberg, Lesley (May 21, 2013). "Guillermo del Toro's FX Pilot 'The Strain' Adds Pair to Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  16. Hibberd, James (July 9, 2013). "Sean Astin joins FX vampire drama". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
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  18. Andreeva, Nellie (September 3, 2013). "Pilots 'Line Of Sight' & 'Strain' Add Regulars". Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  19. Andreeva, Nellie (June 11, 2013). "Miguel Gomez Joins FX Pilot 'The Strain', Roger Howarth To Recur On 'Californication'". Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  20. San Antonio, Bill (October 10, 2013). "Munsey Park boy getting taste of Hollywood life". The Island Now. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  21. 1 2 Andreeva, Nellie (January 7, 2015). "Max Charles Joins 'The Strain' As Regular In Recasting". Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  22. Clutter, Aaron (July 16, 2014). "The Strain: Exclusive Interview with Robin Atkin Downes". Comic Booked. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  23. Herzog, Kenny (August 9, 2015). "The Strain Recap: Rest in Hairpiece". Vulture. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  24. Petski, Denise (November 14, 2014). "Samantha Mathis Cast in 'The Strain; Inbar Lavi in 'The Last Ship'". Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  25. Fienberg, Daniel (January 13, 2015). "Exclusive: FX's 'The Strain' finds its vampire-fighting Silver Angel". HitFix. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  26. Loyal, Maggie (November 13, 2014). "Lizzie Brochere to help track down FX's 'The Strain'". The Tracking Board. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  27. Barton, Steve (November 24, 2014). "The Strain Season 2 – Ron Canada Manages NYC Crisis as Mayor". Dread Central. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  28. 1 2 Patten, Dominic (July 10, 2013). "Guillermo del Toro Sets 'Pacific Rim's' Robert Maillet As Main 'Strain' Villain". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  29. Andreeva, Nellie (July 24, 2013). "Nicole Ari Parker To Recur On Revolution, Roger Cross Joins FX Pilot The Strain". Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  30. Otero, Harry A. (July 26, 2015). "The Strain Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Fort Defiance". TV Fanatic. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
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  32. Davis, Brandon (June 5, 2015). "Doug Jones Talks Falling Skies, The Strain, Crimson Peak, & Hellboy 3". Retrieved July 13, 2015.
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  35. "Twitter / drewnelsonlive: @MiEg007 I have a major recurring". Twitter. March 10, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  36. 1 2 Rice, Lynette (June 27, 2014). "FX yanks gross billboards for The Strain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  37. Miller, Ross (2009). "Guillermo del Toro Talks Future Projects & More". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  38. 1 2 Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming Jr., Mike (September 20, 2012). "'The Strain' Drama From Guillermo Del Toro And Carlton Cuse Gets Pilot Order At FX". Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  39. Brown, Scott (May 22, 2009). "Q&A: Hobbit Director Guillermo del Toro on the Future of Film". Wired. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  40. Weinman, Sarah (June 2, 2009). "Chuck Hogan on Co-Writing THE STRAIN with "Some Other Guy"". Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  41. Turek, Ryan (June 30, 2013). "Exclusive: Guillermo del Toro on the Televised Horrors of The Strain, FX Orders Scripts for Entire Season". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  42. Andreeva, Nellie (August 2, 2013). "TCA: FX's John Landgraf Signals End Of 'Nuclear Arms Race Of Darkness', Talks The Strain Game Plan, FX Brand Expansion". Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  43. Wright, Eddie (November 12, 2012). "Interview: Guillermo del Toro Takes 'The Strain' To Dark Horse And Beyond". MTV. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  44. Robinson, Will (August 7, 2015). "Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse lay out five-year plan for The Strain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  45. 1 2 3 4 Fienberg, Daniel (July 27, 2014). "Guillermo del Toro Brings The Strain to Comic-Con: Live-Blog". HitFix. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
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  47. WGBHForum (September 6, 2012). "Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – The Fall". YouTube. Event occurs at 30:40. Retrieved June 18, 2013. If you see the trailers we did for the first book, I would love... some of the casting ideas were there. Roy Dotrice. I would love Roy Dotrice to play Setrakian, you know. He's a fantastic actor. And to have Roy Dotrice and Ron Perlman again after Beauty and the Beast – it would be a geek dream.
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  50. Hanley, Ken W. (July 9, 2015). "Exclusive Q&A: Doug Jones talks "THE STRAIN", "CRIMSON PEAK", "FALLING SKIES" and more…". Fangoria. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
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  52. "New premium series added to FX Canada's lineup". CityNews. May 29, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  53. "Current Productions". IATSE 873. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
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  55. Kennedy, John R. (August 6, 2014). "Toronto-shot 'The Strain' renewed for a second season". Global News. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  56. "Ramin Djawadi to Score Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain". Film Music Reporter. September 27, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  57. "The Strain – Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  58. "The Strain: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  59. "The Strain – Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  60. "The Strain: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  61. "The Strain – Season 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 29, 2016.

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