what i watched last week
film fatales #6: news from home (chantal akerman, 1977)

the strain, season two finale

I'm a fan of the movies of Guillermo del Toro ... of the ones I've seen, my ratings range from 6/10 for Hellboy to my highest 10/10 for Pan's Labyrinth. I enjoy watching The Strain, which is co-created by del Toro and Chuck Hogan from the books of the same name.

But I don't think The Strain is better than any of del Toro's movies. I suppose it's on the level of Hellboy, but that's about it.

What The Strain has going for it: delightful performances by Richard Sammel as an undead follower of "The Master" and Joaquín Cosío as a former luchador who also starred in Mexican masked wrestler movies. They are delightful because they know The Strain can be funny. Too many of the other actors are far too serious for a show about vampires with long tongues. It's also nice to see Samantha Mathis.

The worst thing about The Strain is the character Zach, the latest in a long line of awful children who do nothing but muck things up. Not everyone is Sally Draper. Zach's actions in the season finale were so stupid as to defy belief, except the character is regularly stupid. You'd think with so many vampires running around, one of them would do us all a favor and eat Zach, but no.

Like I say, I enjoy watching it, but it's not as good as The Walking Dead. It's certainly not as good as Penny Dreadful, which isn't quite the same genre but which is better than most shows. I guess it's about as good as Fear the Walking Dead, the prequel that just finished a short run. In today's crowded TV lineup, it's impossible to keep up with the good shows. Still, there's a place for second-level junk if it strikes your fancy, which is why I'll be there for Season Three of The Strain.

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