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The Strain: The Complete First Season – Premium Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Photo Jun 24, 12 16 10 AMThe second season of The Strain is premiering soon on FX and what better way to celebrate than by checking in on the first season of the series. There is of course a chance that you may have already seen the first season and even own the Blu-ray, which was reviewed by Why So Blu’s Brian White. Well, now we have the Premium Collector’s Edition, which houses the Blu-ray in a collectible bust of the series’ main villain, The Master. The Blu-ray package also contains all new supplements to make this Collector’s Edition more worthwhile. Continue on to see pics of the set and details on what else is in store for those interested.

Season 

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While you can hit the link in the above paragraph to read Brian’s full review of the first season of The Strain, I have to say I was a little less impressed. This is a series based on a series of novels and developed by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. That gave me plenty of reason to check the series out, but after a promising start, the series took some lackluster terms a few times too many, despite featuring some very entertaining characters and Corey Stoll’s wig.

The Strain is certainly not a bad show, there are too many interesting things going on to say that, but aside from the premiere and a few episodes in the middle of the series, the show rarely stood out as appointment viewing (despite the fact that I did want to keep up with it each week). All of that said, a funky vampire/zombie show is fairly unique to television and having it on FX certainly helps to maintain a certain tone, without having to dial too much down.

There was a lot of promise in the first season and the disappointing finale did not help matters much either, but hopefully the second season will do better to embrace the aspects that work best in the series.

The 13-epsiode first season consists of the following:*

Disc 1
1. “Night Zero”
2. “The Box”
3. “Gone Smooth”
4. “It’s Not For Everyone”
*
Disc 2
5. “Runaways”
6. “Occultation”
7. “For Services Rendered”
8. “Creatures of the Night’
9. “The Disappeared”
*
Disc 3
10. “Loved Ones”
11. “The Third Rail”
12. “Last Rites”
13. “The Master”

Video 

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Note: Taken From Brian’s Original Blu-ray Review For The Strain

  • Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC @23 MBPS
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Size: 50GB Dual Layer
  • Clarity/Detail:  It only takes one watch to take notice of the rich production value of this show.  Fine detail is everywhere to be found in this Blu-ray presentation as you can instantly notice such gentle nuances such as all the imperfections in skin and related acne scars, beads of sweat on an actor’s face, smudges on a car window or CDC mask, the intricate markings on the Master’s coffin and even the text on the monitors of the computer screens at the NY airport where this all initially goes down at.  And let’s not forget the gore!  Let’s just say that blood sucking moments have never looked so good in 1080p.  That’s all I’ll say there as I want you to experience this one for yourselves.
  • Depth:  Things look amazing here even when we’re inside in cramp corners.  The three-dimensional pop of the foreground figures gives everything a heaping helping of spacial dimensionality from itself.  You can almost reach out and get lost in the depth here.
  • Black Levels:  There’s a lot of dark moments in this show so thankfully the black levels all look outstanding here.  Let’s examine the first episode for instance, not since the Blu-ray of Drive have I ever seen a night sky line look so perfectly dark and inky when the mysterious airplane shows up at the NY airport.  I can’t explain how good things look here.
  • Color Reproduction:  Like the characters onscreen here, the colors absolutely pop against the contrasting elements throughout.  There are no complaints from me here.  Since there’s a lot dark moments throughout you’ll definitely notice the glow of flashlights, neon, night vision and other colors prominently lit against the deep, inky blacks.  The color palette also changes from sen to scene so for instance, you’ll see sterile blues in the medical or quarantine scenes.
  • Flesh Tones:  Skin tones can be a bit hot in some scenes and as a result they do appear a bit orange-ish when this happens.  I’m feeling a bit generous here so I’m not going to ding an otherwise outstanding video presentation we have going on thus far here.
  • Noise/Artifacts:  I did not notice any specks of dirt, noise or debris in the print within the presentation.

 

Audio 

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Note: Taken From Brian’s Original Blu-ray Review For The Strain

  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics:  The first thing I noticed, since I started this with my normal movie listening volume, is that this presentation is credibly loud and beefy.    Did I mention that the music here was composed by Ramin Djawadi?  Oh, I suppose I left out that tidbit of info up above, but rejoice because it is oh so true!  The dynamics here are reproduced with the utmost of authenticity.  Every knife hash is faithfully rendered.  Heck, being a lover of money, I even heard the authenticity of two twenty dollar bills fall to the counter when Setrakian successfully thwarts his robber problem in the pawn shop.
  • Low Frequency Extension:  The LFE channel came to life instantly with the roar of the jet’s engine in the first minute of the series.  Unlike a comedy or regular television show on Blu-ray, the green light on my subwoofer remained lit and happy.
  • Surround Sound Presentation:  Djawadi’s score passionately fills the surround landscape here.  Other elements such as a subway train passing by, a jet engine roaring through the sky, the Master’s voice, atmospheric ambient effects and more fill the rear speakers with both aggressive and passive qualities.
  • Dialogue Reproduction:  The dialogue is outstandingly loud, clear and intelligible throughout.  Do you want to hear Eph tell the police off on the NY airport runway how important a virus is and what it can do with the utmost of clarity?  Well if so, you’re in luck because it happens here.  Listen up!

Extras 

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While the previous release did not offer a whole lot of extra features, this new edition not only has deluxe packaging to house the Blu-ray set, but also features all new extras, including a couple commentary tracks and more.

Features Include:

Extras New To This Set:

  • Audio Commentary on ‘Night Zero’ by Guillermo del Toro (Disc 1) – As usual, Del Toro does a wonderful job explaining his work and making it sound very interesting and fun.
  • Audio Commentary on ‘The Master’ by Carlton Cuse (Disc 3) – Cuse is not as much fun as Del Toro, but he still provides a solid commentary track.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:58, Disc 1)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:03, Disc 2)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 11:22, Disc 3)
  • Gag Reel (HD, 2:59, Disc 3)
  • He Is Here (HD, 9:22. Disc 3) – A look at the Master
  • FX Teasers: The Strain Season One (HD, 2:11)

Previously Released Extras: (Taken From Brian’s Original Blu-ray Review For The Strain)

  • In The Beginning (HD, 14:11, Disc 1) – The cast talk about the pilot episode here obviously, the story, their characters and their thoughts about everything else, including the rich production value of the show.  I do love hearing and seeing that!  The goal here I learned was to marry a horror story with a criminal CSI procedural feel to it.  I think they nailed that, don’t you?  Guillermo talks about how The Strain represents the first time he could finally present vampire biology.  For all you fans of dissections, you’re in for a treat here as you literally see the inside of the vampire biology.  Yuck!  Gross!  There’s also much more in this extra to dissect so dive on in!
  • A Novel Approach (HD, 9:38, Disc 2) – Guillermo turns up here talking about his love of reading vampire lore when he was just a young boy.  He says The Strain was created with the notion that your next door neighbor in the suburbs could be a vampire.  The biology of the creatures was figured out over twenty years.  He says the books show a scientific approach to vampirism which turns into spiritual one.  He also says The Strain novel was the most enjoyable piece of writing he has ever done.  Wow!  I thought that would have selfishly been Pacific Rim.  He also goes on to say that he always envisioned this as a television series, but treated the books as books, so there are differences and characters here that are not in the novels (such as Dutch).  The actors all chime in about how they are unsure of how long their characters will survive or of their arcs because they have already noticed the difference between the books.
  • Setrakian’s Lair (HD, 9:47, Disc 3) – Actor David Bradley takes us on set for a walk through of a lair that’s pretty familiar to him, his character Setrakian’s.  He points out objects and various set pieces such as the weapons, a mirror, etc. and what they mean to the show and their purposes.  Actress Mia Maestro also chimes in about Setrakian’s lair, the story, her character and his character too.  We also get treated to a few behind-the-scenes shots here as well, some footage and also some nuggets on Season Two.  It sounds like it will be the beginning of a new era according to Mia.

Summary 

While not my favorite series, I do admire that it exists and is as weird as it is. Despite some bumps here and there, seeing a neat horror series from Guillermo del Toro can be a lot of fun and I can only hope it gets better. With that in mind, this is a great Blu-ray package. Not only is the deluxe packaging pretty fun (in a silly sort of way), you get to have a the Blu-ray set that look and sounds great and also comes with a nice set of all-new features. Fans should certainly pick up this set and even go for the double-dip if they really want to.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “The Strain: The Complete First Season – Premium Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Benjamin Workman

    Great review! I picked this up from Amazon a couple days ago and i’m happy to say the statue creeps my girlfriend out. Just wanted to say love the site and Happy 4th!

  2. admin

    Thank you for your compliments, Benjamin. We appreciate them! Enjoy the Strain set and Happy Fourth to you as well!