2014 has already brought us some fascinating television offerings, from the highly anticipated fourth season of Game of Thrones, the final season of Mad Men, and HBO's self-contained first season of True Detective, on through to Netflix's second season of House of Cards. There are also plenty of promising new shows on the way, including FX's upcoming The Strain.
Based on a trilogy of novels by Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro and crime novelist Chuck Hogan (The Town), The Strain tracks a group of humans as they battle the spreading vampire scourge which arrived in New York City with a Boeing 777, found on the runway at JFK airport with no power and no living passengers.
Starring Corey Stoll (House of Cards) as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the CDC epidemiologist called in to investigate the event and and Mía Maestro (Alias) as his colleague (and occasional lover) Dr. Nora Martinez, the measured PR push of The Strain has consisted of one memorable early teaser teasing a rodent exodus from within the city and another one focusing on a pivotal solar eclipse, which heralds the coming of Sardu, aka The Master.
Now, a third teaser - which you can watch above - takes the creepy factor to a fitting new level with a look at the vampire biology, as a parasitic worm slithers into an eyeball, the fully dilated pupil of which reflects the ongoing eclipse imagery.
This new teaser features the little worm-like parasite which carries and transmits the vampiric virus of The Strain. Instead of the sensual and independent bloodsuckers of Twilight and True Blood, these strigoi function as macroviral agents, controlled by The Master. This approach echoes the classic treatment of the vampire mythos of Bram Stoker's Dracula even as it portrays these monsters as having stinger-like appendages in their throats, as well as deteriorating into grotesque, inhuman, zombie-like creatures over time.
The little worms are carried in the pus-like white blood of the strigoi, which can live outside their host bodies for a time - so even if a human kills a vampire, it can still become infected through contact with just the worms. This feature adds a dangerous new dimension to this strain of vampirism.
We also have this new look at Corey Stoll as Dr. Goodweather, wearing a CDC hazmat suit:
The Strain executive Producer del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse have a solid foundation for a unique, gory and genuinely disturbing take on the vampire genre, with a gifted cast which include, along with Stoll and Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Natalie Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Robert Maillet, Jack Kesy, Ben Hyland, and Miguel Gomez.
Cuse and del Toro also have the added bonus of airing this show on FX, which has a track record of high-quality television shows which tend to the push the boundaries of basic cable, including Justified, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story and Archer.
If The Strain lives up to its promise, FX could have a scary supernatural thriller series based on a well-worn horror trope which might conceivably rival AMC's ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead as a favorite for horror fans.
The Strain premieres on FX in July 2014.