July 11, 2014 at 1:00 am

Review: 'The Strain' introduces yet another vampire-zombie invasion

Mía Maestro and Corey Stoll star as doctors who investigate mys terious airplane deaths and four survivors in 'The Strain.' (FX)

“The Strain” can seem a bit strained.

Partly it’s the soapy sentiments laid over an old-fashioned horror yarn. Partly it’s the relentless seriousness of the show (the creators might want to check out “American Horror Story” for an approach that basks in the glory of camp).

And then there’s the inevitable familiarity of yet another vampire-zombie plague apocalypse. Hello again.

On the other hand, if you’re a big fan of autopsies, this is the show for you. The gore content here is right up there with the best/worst premium cable has to offer.

The story begins with an airliner landing in New York with all aboard apparently dead from no visible cause. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) from the Centers for Disease Control is sent to investigate, aided by Dr. Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro, dropping lines like anchors) and Jim Kent (Sean Astin).

When the plane is boarded, the doctors find a whole lot of corpses and four people who seem to have survived. It takes a while for somebody to notice the huge coffin in the cargo hold. And even then, it seems no one involved has ever seen a vampire movie.

But this is a different type of vampire story, with the condition being spread via tiny worms and fangs giving way to some sort of fat viper-tongue process. And while the vamp story rolls out, so do a plethora of side diversions — an old man with a sword, a wife dying of cancer, a child custody case, a guy who hunts rats.

At times the somewhat corny diversions distract from the slow-moving main attraction. Still, true-believer horror fans will likely bite into “The Strain,” even if nonconverts find themselves able to resist.

'The Strain'


10 p.m. Sunday