The FX horror series “The Strain” has followed Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the former head of the Center for Disease Control, through two seasons as he’s investigated a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. The third season opens with New York City being a battleground between humans and blood-sucking strigoi.
Executive producer Carlton Cuse joined other producers and members of the cast to talk with TV critics about the upcoming season. Here is part of what Cuse had to say about “The Strain.”
Q: Any concerns about getting viewers to jump in after missing two seasons?
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A: I think it’s an interesting phenomenon that’s occurred in television. I remember even when I was doing “Lost,” they would say a regular “Lost” viewer might watch two out of every four episodes, and people would sort of surf in and out of shows. Now it sort of feels like, if you start a show, there’s an obligation to start at the beginning. I think it’s a richer experience if you’ve seen the first two seasons of the show, but we would welcome people to jump in in the third season, and I think the audience would be able to figure it out.”
Q: How close will the series stay with the books”
A: The books exist, and they are their own thing, and the television show is its own thing. And we really felt like our goal was not to do exactly what’s in the books, but to sort of set these characters in motion in concert with all of our other collaborators. We are basically looking to tell the best version of the story without feeling like the books are an impediment. The books are a resource but not a we just didn’t see there was any benefit in sort of slavishly following the narrative of the books.”
Q: Have you had the money to do all the necessary special effects?
A: You do have to pick your battles. You know, it’s creativity within a certain construct, and I think virtually all showrunners operate within a financial construct. I guess there’s a few shows where budget doesn’t matter, but I’m sure, even on those shows, those producers would say, “Actually, it does matter. We do spend a lot.” We talk a lot about kind of what we can accomplish in given episodes. I think that FX has been very generous.
Q: Any examples of battle won?
A: We are sort of fighting for the fate of New York and as the season goes on, there’s some really epic sequences. Sort of the human strigoi battles with just an incredible amount of strigoi. Just giant scenes of kind of apocalyptic New York. And so some of that is practical. Some of that is visual effects. We do spend a lot of time talking about it, but I feel like we are making the show that we want to make. And we get to do a tremendous amount, especially shooting in Toronto where we have the advantage of tax both the Canadian dollar and tax credits.
Q: Any chance of a spin-off series?
A: We have actually not talked about that. Obviously, this is going on in other parts of the world. Interestingly, we are starting to talk about Season 4 now, and that’s something which we are talking about is to what degree would it be interesting to see “The Strain” in other places besides New York City.”
Q: Will there eventually be an end episode to the series?
A: It’s the best thing ever, as a showrunner, to get to end your own show, because the end of the narrative is so compelling. Obviously, look at what happened with “Breaking Bad,” how engaging it was, for instance, to watch the end of that show. And I think that as television evolves, I think we will continue to see more and more of this. And a storyteller, I think most good stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and you want to be able to tell the end of that story while the audience is still engaged in that story.
- 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, FX