If the opportunity presents, take my advice: Instead of watching the four-hour remake of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain on A & E (or downloading it for free, if your cable system offers that option), find a DVD copy of the 1971 film and watch that instead. You’ll save two hours and get a much better adaptation of the novel.
Sharon and I would like our four hours back, but I think A & E is protected by fine print in our cable TV service agreement.
Despite being produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, filmmakers of great talent, their inflated version of Andromeda falls too easily into cliche. The team of brilliant scientists assembled to save the world from the alien virus — presumably the last, best hope of mankind — all look like they’re under 40 and with the faces and physiques of models. The fighter pilot chosen to drop the first nuclear device on American soil is a woman. And the lone white male in the science bunker — the guy with the badass nuke-it-and-lets-go-home attitude — is gay.
Please. This casting against type happens so often on TV these days that it would be a shock to see a white-haired scientist or a straight white man at the stick of a jet.
In short, watch the old theatrical version of The Andromeda Strain or read the novel.
On the flip side, the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica has proven itself to be one of the great dramatic series in the history of television. Brilliant writing, acting, and set design, which is impressive when you consider how cheesy the original was. Sharon and I now schedule our Friday nights around the SciFi Channel’s lineup of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Doctor Who, and Battlestar.
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