The first season finale of The Strain on FX didn’t deliver as much as fans hoped it would but it did a good job setting the stage for Season 2. Despite the attack on his hideout the Master escaped and will presumably play a large role in second season. The season finale grabbed just over 2 million viewers, which is about average for the season. The season started off with nearly 3 million viewers and has hovered around the 2 million mark for most of the season. Ratings for hits like The Walking Dead were also sluggish in the first season so the average ratings for the show may improve in Season 2. Many shows that are niche shows like The Strain take a season or two in order to really hit their stride.
If any show has a pedigree for success it’s The Strain. The story of a vampire plague in a modern setting is compelling and it’s based on novels written by science fiction master Guillermo del Toro. Guillero del Toro also writes the show and directs. Because of the consistency of the writing the show has the same feel as the novels and puts more modern forensic style on the mythos of a vampire in modern society which has been done in many different ways. The genre has shifted away from focusing on vampires as romantic figures to focusing on a more traditional monster style vampire that really has no longing for any remnants of humanity the way that literary vampires in the past have had. Anne Rice’s Lestat has been the standard that all vampires were held up against for decades. But now audiences are craving monsters who aren’t beautiful and romantic but embody the old vampires of Eastern Europe legend that were grotesque corpses kept alive through the blood of the living.
One of the factors that makes The Strain unique is that the story has been built around the premise of the show lasting at least two seasons and possibly as many as five seasons but no more than that. The story is written in such a way that it will wrap up naturally within that time frame. Unlike some of the other popular horror and science fiction shows that are on the air right now the ending of the show isn’t open-ended. This gives the writers a steady timeline that they can use to help frame the story. Since Guillermo del Toro is in high demand as both a writer and a director the set timeline of the show also gives him the chance to work on and plan other projects.
One of the cast members in The Strain, Kevin Durand, has been mentioned as a possible casting in The Walking Dead who will be casting the role of Negan for Season 6. Presumably that means that if Kevin Durand is cast as Negan on The Walking Dead this upcoming second season of The Strain would be the last season for his character Vasiliy Fet.
The Strain is a good example of a niche show that doesn’t have the crossover appeal that a show like The Walking Dead has. Even though fans rave about the show the reach of the show is limited. Because of that the ratings for the show are considered to be good even though they are not as high as some other niche shows. Even though fans have described the first season of the show as “uneven” and a bit slow many of them are planning on sticking around for the second season to see if the show will find its footing and develop the story that is told in the novels.
Production for Season 2 of The Strain starts in November this year with the series slated to return in summer 2015. That means it may be going up against The Walking Dead spinoff series which is set to debut in the spring of 2015 while the main show is filming. Only time will tell if the vampires on The Strain can beat the zombies on The Walking Dead in the ratings and in the esteem of the fans.