6 Reasons The Strain is a Must-Watch Summer Show

The cast spill their guts on what makes their vampire show one-of-a-kind, from dance-trained creatures to truly nightmare-inducing “neck-ginas”

Forget about sparkly-skinned, broody teen vampires: those looking for cooler undead entertainment should look to Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain for a gritty take on what a vampire epidemic would look like IRL in modern-day New York City, complete with hot nerd-doctors (Corey Stoll), and strong female leads including a boss-bitch epidemiologist (Mia Maestro), a bisexual lady-hacker (Ruta Gedmintas) and a headstrong politician (Samantha Mathis), plus dapper, dance-trained creatures and a vengeful just-turned mama-vamp tracking her missing child with the aid of some truly creepy companions (Natalie Brown). In honour of the season two premiere of The Strain on FX on July 12, here are six reasons the drama is must-see TV :

1. The production values are off the chain
“There is a difference in terms of scope this season. The world has expanded and we even get out of New York City. The flashbacks have also gotten enormous and we’ve gotten to see our producer Miles’s face when he gets these scripts for the first time and realizes these brand new worlds that he has to create.” —Corey Stoll

The Strain'sCorey Stoll (Photo: Michael Gibson/FX)

The Strain‘s Corey Stoll (Photo: Michael Gibson/FX)

2. They like to get dirty and physical
“I love the lack of vanity. It doesn’t matter what you look like because you are covered in so many layers of paint. It is also a joy to work in a more physical way. I have a dance background, but from many years ago. Learning to be more physical and more feral was a really great challenge that I enjoyed. I have to say it’s a relief to not worry about what you look like. Not to say that I haven’t been yearning for a wardrobe change!” —Natalie Brown

3. The vampire makeup is actually scary
“It’s four-and-a-half hours of pure artistry and it really helps to build the character. Throughout the season, the makeup process is devolving. The more that the skin begins to deteriorate, the more that the part under the neck [where the vamps send their stingers out from] deteriorates. It’s a neck-gina. They say that these vampires are sexless, but there are ways.“ —Natalie Brown

4. The actors keep it real with their fight scenes
“We don’t have a lot of training for the fight scenes. Many of the actors have done a lot of stunts before. I did a TV show called Alias for a long time. Corey has done a lot of fight training as well, so we just rehearse a bit of the scene and then we just go for it.” —Mia Maestro

The Strain's Mia Maestro (Photo: Michael Gibson/FX)

The Strain‘s Mia Maestro (Photo: Michael Gibson/FX)

5. The vampires are actually trained dancers IRL
“Many of the vampires are trained dancers and it’s really beautiful. We have a vampire movement coordinator named Roberto and he’s an incredible choreographer. I think what our show has that is quite unique is that most of our monsters and vampires are quite specific in their body movements and the aesthetic and how they move. I really admire what Natalie Brown is doing playing Kelly. She has put so much beauty into the movements. In an era of so many zombie movies and TV shows that when you see them you can tell it’s just extras walking around, it’s just nice that there is some creativity in the movement of our monsters.” —Mia Maestro

6. The female characters are just as badass as the men
“It’s fun to be the bad guy. It’s not that Kelly is necessarily a bad guy, because in her world she is a mother looking to connect with her son. But it’s just fun to get your hands dirty. My character isn’t exactly easy to warm up to.” —Natalie Brown

The Strain's Ruta Gedmintas and Kevin Durand (Photo: Michael Gibson/FX)

The Strain‘s Ruta Gedmintas and Kevin Durand (Photo: Michael Gibson/FX)

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