After four bloody and often-unsettling seasons, the FX vampire drama series “The Strain” will come to an end this September.
For the cast and crew of the Guillermo del Toro– and Chuck Hogan-created series—who gathered for one last hurrah at July’s San Diego Comic-Con—it’s been bittersweet to say farewell to both the show and their TV family, but a satisfying conclusion to a series that was only intended to run 3-5 seasons.
“The bitterness is because we’ve bonded so much, so this collective experience was really extraordinary,” star Richard Sammel told me. “But sweet, I think it is, because it’s just the right thing. In Europe, there’s a saying: ‘Don’t put too much water into your wine.’ You have a quality thing, and because it’s quality, you try to make it last longer than it actually should.”
“And to add to that sweetness,” actor Kevin Durand expanded, “is the satisfaction of being able to tell an entire narrative, and have the luxury of a beginning, a middle and an end, which is coming. I haven’t experienced that on a television show.”
Sammel and Durand’s co-stars echoed their gratitude that “The Strain” has been granted the opportunity to tell a complete story—an appreciation certainly shared by fans given the literally explosive cliffhanger ending to last fall’s third season.
“It’s been amazing to follow a show from beginning to end, and have four complete seasons where you get to tell your story,” explained actress Ruta Gedmintas, who was flanked by co-star David Bradley. “That’s a wonderful thing. But, yes, it’s sad to leave it.”
“Ruta and I, we both live a few thousand miles away across the pond,” Bradley said. “Some of [the cast members], they are in the States or in Canada. So, for us, we’re gonna really miss all the people we’ve met throughout this. It’s been a great experience. The cast and the crew have all been fantastic.”
“I’ll miss our vodka martinis,” Gedmintas said with smile.
“Yes!” Bradley exclaimed before playfully adding, “Shush.”
“The Strain” is based on the 2009 novel of the same name—also written by del Toro and Hogan—so fans of the source material already have lofty expectations (and most of the spoilers) for this fall’s big finale. Despite that, Hogan says he’s never felt pressure over crafting a conclusion that would satisfy fans of the novel and the TV series alike.
“Honestly, I never thought of it as pressure,” Hogan revealed. “I really thought it was a gift to end it this way. I probably should have felt a little more pressure, because you’re right, you don’t wanna let people down. It was just great to be able to end it on our terms, but also to satisfy a lot of the stuff that’s come up in the story, and play that through.”
“We got to resolve all the characters’ stories—and we do resolve them,” showrunner and executive producer Carlton Cuse teased. “Some characters live, some characters die, and everybody has a very definitive resolution.”
There will be answers. There will be resolutions. But if you think there are no surprises in store for the final seven episodes ahead, you don’t know “The Strain.”
“There are fans who were fans from the books—or people who started watching the show and then read the books—so they know how that ends,” star Corey Stoll said. “[The key was] finding a way to keep the spirit of that ending without making it boring for people who have already read it. And I think they did a really good job of threading that needle, of keeping the spirit of the conclusion without the exact same events, exact same things happening.”
He added, “I was really surprised with a couple of those twists at the end. I think people are gonna really like it.”
“The Strain” airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on FX. Own seasons one and two—and catch up on the first three episodes of season four—now with XFINITY On Demand.