About two or three years ago I decided to give up cable TV. Ironically, this was right after I got a nice new HDTV. (I won’t go into the thought process there, but it was very logical, I assure you!) Syfy wasn’t doing much that was interesting anymore, and I didn’t really watch other channels enough to make paying for cable worth it. I kept a little broadcast deal so I could get the broadcast networks clear, but mostly I subsisted on Hulu and Netflix streaming. I missed some things – USA, for one (I’ve always liked Burn Notice, and liked watching Psych when I could). I’ve also wished, from time to time, that I had access to FX again.
But my point here is that I don’t have cable, and so I’ve missed out on seeing some interesting shows (despite catching many of them – The Walking Dead and Continuum to name a few – on Netflix or Amazon). I’ve recently started chipping away at that pile of missed TV, however, and caught up with both The Last Ship and The Strain.
The Last Ship (TNT)
A nasty-ass virus (as opposed to a nasty ass-virus; hyphen placement is vital on that one) has spread across the world and a U.S. Navy destroyer is not only spared via isolation, but may also have the key to the cure.
I confess, I was leery of this one. The world’s covered in death, a single ship may be one of the last to remain unaffected… It made me think a lot of Battlestar Galactica and worry that such a show could easily run aground (yeah, nautical pun, I went there) on angst and bickering as the crew breaks down and turns on each other for the sake of “drama.” What made me give it a shot? Adam Baldwin. Hey, the guy’s entertaining (see also Firefly, Chuck, etc.)!
I was pleasantly surprised. Without going into too much detail, the internal bickering was kept to a minimum (there were disagreements, but it didn’t devolve into the trope where crisis brings out the worst in people), and the whole arc with the Russian ship made for an excellent story. While it’s not the absolute best show I’ve ever seen, I’m very interested to see how season two develops, given the reveal at the end of season one.
The Strain (FX)
I’d heard of The Strain, but didn’t really know what it was about. I figured it was another virus-gone-wild story, and as I was watching The Last Ship (and as the logo looked to be a hook through someone’s EYEBALL – or what I thought at the time was a hook), I didn’t really give it much attention. It wasn’t until a couple of friends let me know that a) the virus was vampirism, b) the vampires were SCARY and did not sparkle (I guess that’s redundant), and c) it was worth a watch, I gave it a shot. Yep, rampant vampire apocalypse by virus.
So I guess it’s an apocalyptic theme here, huh?
I’ve only seen up to episode 10. I think the season is still running, so there’s more to come, but that’s all they’ve got on Amazon at the moment. I’ve enjoyed it so far! The vampires ARE scary, and just different enough to be interesting without losing their status as vampires. Also, though the titular “strain” is being treated as a virus by many of the characters (especially those in the CDC), it’s more than that. There are mystical elements at work, too, which is very welcome. I tend to dislike when legend is entirely stripped of any mystical/magical/supernatural components.
There is a little too much focus on certain characters’ domestic situations for my tastes, however. (I’m sorry, but I honestly couldn’t care less about Eph’s failed marriage.) Even so, there are other things that more than balance it out. I have three words for you: NINJA VAMPIRE PALADINS!!!!
Yeah, you heard me.
So there are two of the many things I’ve been up to, lately. (Here’s another if you missed it.) Check them out!
I do wish The Strain hadn’t killed off that one guy, though. You can probably guess who I’m talking about, if you try…
Oh, and after a while of trying to place the actor who plays Vasiliy, I finally broke and looked him up on IMDB. I was then inspired to make this: