FX doesn't want anybody confused by the adult nature and graphic content of the new vampire drama "The Strain," based on the book series by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
Already, the cable network has faced some pushback from squeamish drivers over LA billboards featuring the series' nefarious blood worms impinging on the eyes of an unknown victim.
My immediate reaction? "Ew. Cool."
My secondary reaction? Well, at least nobody's going to be uncertain about what "The Strain" is, content-wise, and who it's for. I mean, there's a worm and it's going into somebody's eye and at that point the potential responses are limited: You could barf and write an angry blog post protesting FX's choice of key art. If you do that, you probably weren't going to watch "The Strain" anyway, but FX thanks you for your promotional support. You can drive off the road in disgust or start covering your eyes every time you drive by, which means you'll probably want to watch "The Strain" with a pillow or something handy for ducking behind, but you at least know if those visceral reactions are coupled with pleasure. You could pump your fist and set your DVR using your phone. You could whip out your phone and Google "The Strain" and promptly get into an accident also involving that guy covering his eyes. Either way, you see those billboards and you know if "The Strain" is your cup of room temperature Type-O blood and you just as totally know if it's not.
Here's the billboard, if you've missed it:
Those billboards turned out to just be a gross appetizer.
Today, in the mail, I received a heart in a clear jar, courtesy of FX.
It's a giant, bulbous gray-and-pink heart, suspended in a large and well-sealed glass container. It weighs somewhere between five and 10 pounds.
It came with a black velvet-y cover.
And when the cover is off, every once in a while, the heart beats, coming to life of its own volition.
The heart was accompanied by a note reading, "Warning: This Heart Is Infected. Do Not Open This Specimen Jar. You Will Witness Sporadic Movements When The Heart Is Exposed To Light. These Movements Will Increase... As HE Gets Closer."
The call to action sends you to the website subhumansofnyc.com.
As fans of the books know, the heart-in-a-jar is owned by one of the "Strain" characters facing a potential vampire infestation of New York City. It isn't just any heart and it isn't light that causes the heart to beat. So my new desktop conversation starter isn't exactly canon, but it's pretty disgusting and pretty awesome.
I was on the "Strain" set in Toronto this spring and I have a series of roundtable interviews coming up over the next two weeks before the "Strain" premiere on July 13. I've seen the pilot and I quite like it, but I have three more episodes to get to this weekend.
For now, check out my heart:
Are you looking forward to "The Strain"?