For the last 18-ish months, I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, and talking about the stories- be they movies, television, comics, musicals or what have you- that influence me and inspire me and speak to me. It’s great to not only fully grasp what art really connects with me (and see what those can teach me about my own creative pursuits) but to articulate that to others and hopefully help them enjoy these stories in new ways.
However, there are times where putting together material for this blog feels more like homework than fun, which is the last thing that I want to see happen. This particularly holds true for any sort of regular column I’ve tried to write here, most so for anything regarding regular television watching. Previously, I’ve tried to do weekly recaps of The Strain and Agent Carter, neither of which I ever finished (not to mention my defunct Movie of the Week posts; the tradition continues, but the posts do not). Last week I began what was meant to be a regular recounting of my experiences watching Star Trek for the first time, and while I have continued to watch the show over this past week, the task of putting together another post about it felt wearisome. Besides distracting me from the show that I’m enjoying very much, putting together such a large post every week takes potential time away from more creative writing pursuits, something that I really can’t afford.
The blog will absolutely continue, and I will continue to write about whatever bit of art inspires a reaction worth capturing. As far as Star Trek goes, I’m sure I’ll end up writing one huge postmortem on the show once I’ve finished it, probably by the summertime. But the scheduled, regular columns will be going by the wayside, perhaps permanently. While I’m sure there aren’t many regular readers at all that will miss these posts too much, I hope this is enough explanation for their absence. In the meantime, who knows what will demand my attention and analysis next; I certainly don’t, and that’s probably for the best.
At this point, I think the best metaphor for The Strain actually comes from Parks and Recreation. There’s a scene in the fifth season where the ever-put-upon Jerry Girgich tries to give Chris Traeger advice about fatherhood. He makes a really eloquent and thoughtful comment… and then dissolves into incoherent babbling when he’s allowed to talk too long. And that is what The Strain feels like at this point: capable of really great, well-structured entertainment, but completely incapable of sustaining that entertainment consistently for more than one or two episodes at a time.
The Strain topped last week’s episode with another series best, and made it look easy in the process. More than any other episode so far, this week was completely focused, completely devoid of fat and completely exciting. We now have what looks to be our New Scoobie Gang, which among other things finally delivered the Abraham/Vasiliy meeting I’ve been waiting for, and should hopefully keep the story on the right track as we proceed.
Halfway through its first season, The Strain has finally started delivering the show I hoped for. This past week, we’re in the thick of the cat-and-mouse battle between Stoneheart and Abraham’s resistance, and getting lots of great worldbuilding and definition, with a lot of the setup baggage from earlier episodes almost completely stripped away here. And then to top it all off, there was THAT ENDING, which was one of the best moments of the season so far, and has me actively excited and curious about what’s next for the first time in awhile
FINALLY! The last couple of weeks have been kind of hectic for me, so of course I fell behind on the one show that I decided to recap weekly. And of course, this happens to coincide with The Strain really taking off and getting on track. With these last two episodes- “Runaways” and “Occultation”- we’re finally getting where we want to be, and the show is delivering very nicely on it’s intended goal. In short, lots of Abraham and lots of mounting creepiness leaves me a happy camper.
Four weeks in and it feels like The Strain is finally starting to hit its stride. True to my hopes last week, we lost the worst parts of the show so far (Eph’s homelife, primarily) and were able to focus on the plague in a more direct fashion. And while there was still one notable distraction that kept the episode from fully taking off, it’s still a major step forward for the series, and a promise for some major escalation in the near future.
Three episodes in and it’s pretty clear where The Strain’s strengths and weaknesses are, but unfortunately they have yet to work out the weaknesses. In this week’s ep, we have some REALLY good strong moments, and some weak moments that might not ruin it, but definitely serve as a reminder as to what makes them weak in the first place. Thankfully, this episode leaves us in a pretty good narrative spot, one that hopefully will see the weak moments fall by the wayside in the coming weeks.