Executive producer/writer Carlton Cuse and author/executive producer Chuck Hogan joined the cast of The Strain at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con to provide some insight into season two of the FX horror series. Season two promises to stir things up among our fearless vampire hunters as New York is still under attack but now its citizens are aware that vampires actually exist.
During our roundtable interview at Comic Con, Cuse talked about what audiences can expect from this second season currently airing on Sunday nights at 10pm ET/PT. “I think the first season of the show was like the epidemiology of people turning into vampires and people being like, ‘No, they can’t be turning into vampires. That’s not possible.’ The second season everybody is pretty aware that these vampires exist, and now the question is what are we going to do about it?” explained Cuse. “And, the second season explores the different ways that our main characters confront this vampire apocalypse, whether it’s Corey Stoll and Mia Maestro’s characters trying to use their knowledge of epidemiology to engineer a way to kill the vampires off; or David Bradley, who takes a more mythological approach trying to hunt down the Occido Lumen, this mysterious book that may or may not hold the key to how to kill the Master of the vampires; to Fet and Gus who are just trying to kill as many vampires as possible.”
Audiences will also get more information about the Ancients in season two. “The Ancients are really interesting. They are, obviously, very old and very powerful, and it’s clear that there was some sort of rift which led to the Master sort of separating away from them. The really interesting story is how much can one really trust the Ancients because right now the Ancients have sort of allied with some of our human characters to try to stop this vampire apocalypse. But, then again, they are vampires themselves, too. So maybe not the most trustworthy people.”
Season two introduces new characters including Screen Actors Guild nominee Samantha Mathis. “Samantha Mathis comes on the show this year and she plays a councilwoman from Staten Island named Justine Feraldo who basically takes matters into her own hands and basically manages to kill all of the vampires off out of Staten Island, which leads to people really wanting to promote her,” said Cuse. “I think what’s interesting is the idea that in a crisis people will aggregate their rights to someone who may have totalitarian instincts, if they think that that person is going to provide them with safety. So the show is sort of exploring that moral issue and we’re watching the arc of this character whose intention is just to do good but finds herself getting increasingly more and more power and finds herself in conflict with other characters as she does.”
The first season introduced some interesting weapons in the fight against vampires, but this season Cuse says it’s Eph and Nora’s scientific approach to the problem that could lead to weapon to end all vampire-fighting weapons. “Eph and Nora are trying to engineer a biological weapon, and that storyline carries over a bunch of episodes. I think one of the interesting storylines is, ‘Can they come up with something that can wipe out these vampires or a significant swath of them?’ It’s not as easy as a bomb going off, but it’s very much a cool inversion of their knowledge base. They’re scientists who’ve been trained to wipe out epidemics and now they’re trying to create one, and I think that’s a fun storyline that plays out across the season,” explained Cuse.
The Strain author Chuck Hogan co-created, writes, and executive produces the FX series, and during our interview I asked him how difficult it has been to satisfy fans of his bestselling books while also keeping the series accessible to those who only know this world through the series. “I think the best thing to do is what we’re doing. I mean, the books are a super helpful set of signposts, but we’re making the TV show its own show,” answered Hogan. “I do feel like fans of the books won’t be disappointed because we’re hitting all the high spots. But at the same time you don’t have to read the book to watch the show; you don’t have to watch the show if you like the books. They’re very much their own entities. For me, having been there at the creation it’s so much fun to go back to this world that I helped create and do it differently, and come up with new, crazy things.”
Speaking of new things, Hogan said he wasn’t expecting to go down so many new avenues with the show. “I just didn’t really understand how television works and it’s a completely different animal. It’s great. It’s fun to have some sort of guide but not feel in any way beholden to it.”
Asked what he could say about Kelly (played by Natalie Brown) and the feelers, Hogan replied, “I can tell you the feelers are super scary. They’re something that was in the book. You write it in the book and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s really creepy,’ but then to see it acted out is phenomenally effective,” explained Hogan. “Natalie Brown is fantastic as a vampire. She’s a trooper – four and a half hours of makeup. She shows up and she is amazing. So, it’s great. She sort of has developed this weird little family unit of her own now that she has crossed over to the other side. It’s super effective.”
Watch the complete interviews with Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan on season two of The Strain:
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