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‘The Strain’ series premiere react: These vampires don’t sparkle

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Night Zero” | Aired July 13, 2014

The series premiere of The Strain solidified itself as a must-watch summer show—and also as a show you should probably watch with the lights on. From a colorful cast of characters to some seriously creepy special effects, we’re predicting The Strain to be a smash hit for FX. With a team consisting of Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan and Carlton Cuse, how could it not be?

The first episode introduces us to main character, Eph (Corey Stoll), head of the CDC Canary Project in New York City. He might be a total badass when it comes to his job, but he’s struggling in the family department. Eph is surrounded by colleagues Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) and Jim Kent (Sean Astin) as he dives into the mystery of Regis Flight 753, on which every single person aboard suddenly dies. Let’s get down to the dirty deets. 

Flight 753: The episode kicks off with a midair flight being attacked by an unknown creature that busts out of the cargo hold. On the ground, air traffic control loses contact with the plane, but it’s later found safely landed on the tarmac. Eph is called in the middle of his family therapy session to respond to the emergency, and the plane is immediately quarantined. Joined by his partner Nora (who’s obviously madly in love with him), the two suit up in hazmat gear and board the plane. They find that every single person aboard is dead, but they don’t have a clue how it happened. Hmm …








Of course they’re thinking that it’s some weird new disease and not an ancient bloodsucking monster. Come on, think outside the box! While investigating the dead passengers, Eph and Nora discover that four passengers are still alive. When we say discover, we mean the four passengers suddenly woke up gasping for air and scared the crap out of us.

Abraham Setrakian: One of the most interesting things The Strain brings to the table is Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), a kickass 80-something-year-old who knows exactly what’s going on with the “mystery disease.” Abraham owns a pawnshop and talks to (and feeds!) a worm-infected heart he keeps in a jar in the back room.










It’s weird as hell, but it’s probably the heart of a loved one and that makes it a little bit better … a little bit. He busts into the airport like he owns the place to try to warn the CDC, and tells them they need to destroy every body, both dead and living. Of course, they think he’s just a crazy old geezer and arrest him. I’m not sure what else Abraham expected to happen, but now the only person who knows what the heck is happening is helpless to stop the spread of “the strain.”










Making a deal: Gus (Miguel Gomez) is a handsome ex-con who seems to have made a deal with the devil. We’d like to note that he’s our second-favorite character because he’s a bad boy with a heart of gold who just wants a better life for his mother and brother. He’s doing side jobs for The Master’s creepy sidekick, Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel), who is undoubtedly a vampire. The Master is some ancient vampire leader and probably the creature that infected/killed all of the passengers on the plane. Thomas tells Gus that he must pick up a package at the airport and deliver it to an underground location. Gus responds with snarky comments, but he commits to doing it nonetheless, for the sake of his mother. Before he leaves, Thomas gives him a business card, and he tells him to “use it if necessary.” We really don’t have a good feeling about this.








Quarantine: The four survivors who mysteriously woke up on the plane while Eph and Nora were investigating have been placed into quarantine to see if they have an infectious disease. There’s a Marilyn Manson–esque rock star survivor who thinks he’s God’s gift to man; Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy), a fierce lawyer; Joan Luss (Leslie Hope), one of the pilots; Captain Doyle Redfern (Jonathan Potts); and one other man. Gabriel and Joan in particular are not happy that they are stuck in quarantine, but Eph is convinced they must be kept away from the public until he can uncover what exactly is going on. One would think this is common sense, seeing as they just got off a plane where everyone mysteriously died and they don’t remember a thing about it, but the survivors want out.










Sick old guy problems: Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) is a very sick, very old and very wealthy man, who is working with Thomas for reasons we have yet to discover. Eldritch also appears to have liver failure, and his assistant is extremely loyal to him. Any guesses that he probably has something to do with the monster that killed everyone on the plane? We raise our hands!

What’s in the box?: A box is uncovered from the cargo space in the plane and brought inside of the airport for investigating. It looks old as hell and like something you probably shouldn’t open without Dean and Sam Winchester standing by. I mean, there are skeletons holding scythes all over it. If that doesn’t scream, “Beware. Don’t open me,” we don’t know what does. Eph likes to live on the edge, though, so he opens it. So, what’s in it? It’s my dirt in a box!









Sorry, we couldn’t help it. But seriously, it’s just dirt encased in a box. One of the head investigators of the FBI is wrapping up the coffin with the CDC team when he hears mysterious whispers calling to him. He heads to one of the back rooms of the cargo area, and he finds The Master there waiting for him. Again, not a good idea, dude! He, of course, walks closer to it. Why anyone would walk right up to that heaping pile of creepiness in a back hallway alone is beyond us. The Master rises up, grabs his face, and his long, worm-like tongue explodes from his mouth and sucks the life out of him. For a cherry on top, The Master snaps the investigator’s neck and decides to crush his skull with his bare hands. Can you say “overkill”?










We told you this show would be awesome.

Shady CDC: After the mystery box goes missing, Jim Kent, the (supposed) lovable sidekick of Eph, receives instructions directly from Eph that he must not let anyone leave the airport. So what does he do? He lets someone leave the airport! Gus is exiting with the van containing the “coffin” of The Master, and when he’s stopped by a police oficer, Jim approaches to see what the fuss is about. When Gus, in a panic, hands him the card Thomas gave him, Jim urgently replies that he can leave, but that he’s done doing business with “them.” Son of a biscuit, Jim! What does Jim have to do with creepy Thomas?










Needless to say, Gus gets away with the coffin, which means all hell is about to break loose in NYC.

Sweet Caroline: While all this shadiness is going on at the airport, back at the morgue, things are getting bad. The coroner is listening to “Sweet Caroline” as he inspects the dead bodies from the plane (as you do), when worms start crawling out of one of the hearts and literally into his hands. He starts to panic and pulls the blood-sucking worms out of him. As this happens, the dead people rise from their examination tables and slowly walk over to him … and eat him! Long, worm-like tongues emerge from their mouths and suck the life out of him. What is happening?










To add more mystery, a little French girl who died on the plane shows up at her father’s house looking quite dead and says she’s “très froid.” Translation: “freezing cold because I’m dead as a doornail and have worms crawling through my body at the moment.” The father, like an idiot, welcome her with open arms. This should go swimmingly.











There are many unknowns right now, like old man Eldritch Palmer’s motives and Eph’s relationship status with Nora (Team Norph!). Here’s what we do know: The Master has an agenda, and we’re pretty sure every passenger on the plan is a part of it. Thomas specifically talked about love bringing “them” home, which can only mean all of the infected passengers carrying “the strain” to their families. Also, every person on the plane has some mysterious ammonia-like chemical surrounding them. Is it Master-goo? He does seem like a messy eater.










A few lingering questions:

  • Why were there only four survivors on the plane, and are they infected?
  • What business did Jim Kent have with Thomas Eichhorst?
  • At what level is Eldritch Palmer involved with The Master, and for what reason?
  • Will the little French girl eat her dad? (We’re guessing yes.)

Sound off with your thoughts on the series premiere of The Strain. Was it everything your gore-loving, suspense-craving hearts desired? Until next time … #FangsOut



TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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