What the Eph?

Hey look, Ma! A blog that doesn’t revolve around loneliness and vibrators! Oh don’t worry. That’s still on tap.

Let’s discuss “The Strain”:

The three book series by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan was –if not THE scariest—certainly ‘up there’ in terms of scare factor—stories I have ever read. And this is coming from an old-school Koontz fan. To date, World War Z by Max Brooks is still my favorite book. Not in just in terms of scary but if you take out the Z-factor, it may be the best post-war documentary I have ever read. Very well written. The Strain Series is the vampire equivalent of the “Zed” apocalypse. And these aren’t vampires like you think you know vampires. During a poll on a friend’s radio show, she asked us to name the most frightening fictional character: Without hesitation, I replied “Sardu”. The ‘youngest’ of the Ancients- The Master- (and I”ll stop here lest I give anything away) is the most terrifying creature my imagination could put on parade. And FX turned him into a fish.

Wait, let me back up. When I first read that The Strain was being made into a tv show, I cringed. Then I read that both of the authors would be producers. I was instantly relieved because wasnt that a guarantee that the series would follow the books?? Del Toro further promised “Three books, three seasons”. That the show would be produced by FX and aired after ‘safehaven’ (10pm) encouraged me further. Who better to produce a show full of horrifying creatures than a channel dedicated to special effects?

I have now watched the entire first season and I can’t stay mum about my disappointment any longer. A FISH?? They turned the creature of my nightmares into a flying burlap sack with a fish face!! And the casting…knowing the plot going into it and I still found myself wishing Annoying Nora, Can’t Act Zack, and Please Put A Pillow Over Mom’s Face would get sucked dry. Does Nora EVER stop crying? I swear, she was not that big of a pussy in the books. And please tell me the kid with the bowl cut who shows the same emotional reaction whether he’s eating birthday cake or watching his stepdad get his head hacked off with a shovel…please tell me the teenage version of Zack will be better cast? And I know it was too much to expect but I’m certain that the authors wrote the role of Bolivar with Marilyn Manson in mind. Couldnt they have at least asked him if he wanted to play the part? And what is with The Geico Gecko Has A More Authentic British Accent Chick? Not value added. Now Gus I like. Its easy to play a gangstah hoodrat badass but when he finds his mom and breaks dow , I believed it.Sertrakian (the Old, not the Young) doesnt irritate me too much and I think they got something right when they cast Fet but I’m having a hard time getting past the fact that the man looks like the rodents he catches. It’s the teeth.

Throughout the first season, I kept thinking “Damn, I wish they would have sold this to AMC instead”. Between the bad acting and the joke that is a channel which hangs it moniker on the boast that it is the bloody cherry on top of a special effects Sunday… it was worse than a SyFy movie! At least AMC knows how to do ‘scary’! Can the authors/producers just break up with FX now and salvage the last two seasons with a network that can do better than a giant plastic phallus and a potato sack?

And finally…and I wont go into great detail for those of you who have not read the books and genuinely enjoy the series thus far…the discrepancies between the story line of the books v the show are starting to mount. Those of you who read the books know what I mean. Vampires speak telepathically. Their faces do not peel back (but they are certainly gross to behold!) . They do not lurch around and ‘vomit’ stingers the size of elephant trunks. The Master was not responsible for Sertrakian’s hands being crushed nor does he grant Ol’ 101 Kidney Transplants the gift of eternal ‘life’. Perhaps all minor detours of little consequence in the end until Nora’s senile mother gets sucked dry on the sofa by a wanna-be Manson. No, no, no, no, NO! The capture and death of Nora’s mother is a powerful, important part of the second book! Okay spoiler alert for those of you who still want an element of surprise when you read the books. Stop right now:

In the New World Order, there is no room for the elderly. They are a burden and nuisance which is quickly eradicated. The fact that Nora was able to hide her mother for as long as she did in the books was impressive but alas, her mother makes a scene in public which leads to them both being captured and shipped off to one of the Farms. And in a rare, touching moment of lucidity, her mother knows they are about to die and comforts her daughter. Nora’s mother is taken away and later…skipping details that will further spoil the book…Nora enters one the rooms where people are exsanguinated to feed the populace and then their skin is flayed off their bones…finds what is left of her mother.

Oh, would that be too graphic to depict on late-night TV? The show where people are brutally gutted by zombies every week is the most popular TV series in the US but that’s okay, FX, you just stick with ‘tater sacks and fish face.
Anybody else who gives a Fet’s Rat Face Ass, Read the books.

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