The Strain

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Strain TV Poster Image
Mature horror series is too dark and intense for kids.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series paints the world as a dangerous place with dark secrets, and the mood is generally tense and ominous.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the main characters are morally ambiguous with complicated backstories, although some are actively working to save innocent people's lives.


Graphic scenes designed to scare include blood and violent injuries (breaking necks, crushing heads). Other characters use weapons such as guns and knives.


Brief partial nudity (buttocks, sides of breasts).


Unbleeped language includes "s--t," "p---y," "asshole," and "dick."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking, with references to a main character's past problems with alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Strain contains sudden scenes of violence fueled by graphic imagery -- from neck-snapping to head-crushing -- and unbleeped language with words such as "s--t," "dick," and "p---y." Sexual content is light, but there's some partial nudity in the form of buttocks and side views of bare breasts; there's also some smoking and drinking, including a brief reference to a main character's problems with alcohol.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDhinkson November 23, 2020

The Strain

I was drawn in by youtube videos on the series and at first the story was so good I was willing to overlook its flaws. But by season 3 it just got absolutely br... Continue reading
Adult Written byslasher23 August 16, 2014
brutal a gory a some scary
Teen, 16 years old Written byInvalidReviews2017 March 31, 2017

Brilliantly made horror-drama is monstrous and gory.

I have finally completed the series and I have no disappointments, this is one of the best shows I have seen. I think it is tied with American Horror Story, the... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 20, 2015

The Strain

This is a good TV horror. The Strain contains: frequent gore, strong language, use of drugs, some nudity and some jumpy parts.

Gore - The program is based arou... Continue reading

What's the story?

When a commercial plane comes to a deadly quiet standstill at JFK International Airport with more than 200 people on board, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- including Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his team (Mia Maestro and Sean Astin) -- are some of the first to arrive on the scene. But THE STRAIN that's infected the passengers is unlike anything they've ever seen before.

Is it any good?

This series gets off to an awfully slow start -- and maybe that's by design, considering the startling twists that lie in wait as the series progresses. Sprung from the mind of acclaimed film director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), The Strain is so startling you might find yourself reluctantly watching through your fingers to see just how scary it gets (and we assure you: It gets pretty scary).

Del Toro's filmmaking influence is readily apparent, and, in spite of some hammy dialogue, there's much to admire in the otherwise artful details. It's also great to see House of Cards' Stoll resurrected on the small screen. But The Strain’s creepy charms won’t appeal to everyone, and the coarse language and violent visuals push it squarely into the realm of mature content.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about infectious diseases, vampires, and the real-life fears that fuel The Strain's fantastical concept. What's the appeal behind shows designed to scare us? Why do we watch -- even when we're watching with our hands over our eyes?

  • How does The Strain compare to other dramas with supernatural story lines? In what ways does the creator/director's film background influence the show's look and feel?

  • Do you think The Strain deserves a TV-MA rating? Where's the line when it comes to content that's too scary for kids?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary stuff

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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