The Strain: Your New Guilty Pleasure

Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) examines a victim on FX's The Strain.
The Strain (Photo: Michael Gibson / FX)

The Strain is a classic monster movie in 13 brilliantly ridiculous episodes.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if  Sharknado! and Law and Order had a baby? Wonder no more, just watch The Strain, Sundays at 10pm Eastern on FX.


From Executive Producer Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hobbit, Hellboy, Pacific Rim) comes yet another strangely attractive story of “the monster that tried to eat the city” variety.  Here’s what you’re in for: mysterious monster/ghost traveling in a big coffin aboard a transatlantic commercial flight kills everyone aboard as the plane lands at JFK Airport in New York. CDC Doctor Ephraim Goodweather is on the case, and also the case of a custody battle between he and his ex-wife over their son, alcoholism and a maybe-affair with a colleague.  Eph, as his friends call him, is joined by resident would-be-turncoat Jim Kent, played by Sean Astin (Goonies, Lord of the Rings) and a host of other semi-recognizable (think Law & Order criminals) actors and actresses.  Adding to the motley crew is an elderly man who tries to convince the medical-masses that there’s more going on than any antibiotic could treat, as well as the sinister Stoneheart Group that seems to be pulling all the strings – or The Strain, as it were.1 The story so far has unfolded as a what IS The Strain and why are all of those passengers it killed suddenly not-so-dead?

Who is The Strain For?

So you’ve been struggling through a summer of network drama re-runs and cable attempts at the gory and gruesome and left to wonder What Else is On?  (See how I did that?)  The Strain is it.

What Works

The joy of this show is it doesn’t take the horror of it all too seriously. Yes there’s a “monster” and yes you do see if, but there are so many other story arcs going on that it’s scarcely even about the actual thing itself.  There are legal issues, addiction issues, medical and marital issues, historical issues (because when you start referring to an older man with an Eastern European accent by a number you know can tell where that will lead), and of course will-they or won’t they issues.

What Doesn’t Work

There is a monster and you do see it. It’s a big-budget series, but this is still throwback Stephen King stylized electric-neon worm stuff. The Strain is not your television version of a CGI movie, it’s definitely made for a television audience with a 32-inch TV. Luckily that really IS the only problem.


All I want to do is tell you any and everything that’s happened thus far so hurry up, you’re already 3 episodes late – WATCH!

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  1. In all honesty, the Stoneheart Group’s address is way to close to my own for me to not be a little weary of things that may go bump in the night.  

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About Sandra Smith 98 Articles
Sandra Smith is a graduate of Northwestern and Syracuse Universities where she wrote and studied and wrote. She currently earns her keep working on a variety of your favorite reality shows for HGTV, TLC, Discovery Channel, MTV and FUSE and dreaming of creating the next Law & Order. E-mail:
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