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FX’s ‘The Strain’: Vampire drama gets off to ‘Sweet’ start


During the seventh-inning stretch of the first game at Fenway following the Boston Marathon bombings, Neil Diamond strolled out and surprised the crowd by leading the customary sing-along of “Sweet Caroline.”

It was beautiful.

The second best use of the Diamond classic? That’s easy. It’s “The Strain” (10 p.m. Sunday, FX), the new viral vampirism drama from Guillermo del Toro and “Lost’s” Carlton Cuse.

Up until that point, the series is weird and creepy in an “X-Files”/“Fringe” way.

Regis Flight 753 lands in New York under mysterious circumstances, and the Center for Disease Control Canary Team, led by Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (a bewigged Corey Stoll from “House of Cards”), discovers everyone onboard is dead.

There’s a creepy coffin in the cargo hold, a spooky concentration camp survivor (David Bradley of “Game of Thrones”) who knows too much, parasitic worms crawling everywhere and some seriously wrong monster mayhem.

But when you hear the opening strains of “Sweet Caroline,” hold on, because you’re about to witness the heretofore untapped nutty/campy promise of “The Strain.”

And, unlike most every other series about vampires, there’s absolutely nothing sexy about these bloodsuckers.

As Eph notes after inspecting one of the early victims of the strain of vampirism that’s about to engulf Manhattan: “His genitals are gone. His excreting organs have fused into a cloaca.”

Now, I don’t like being poked and prodded by doctors anymore than the next guy. But I’m pretty sure I’d have splurged for my co-pay long before my junk fell off.

Anyway, here’s a look at my new obsession, “The Strain”: