The Andromeda Strain (Miniseries) directed by Mikael Salomon

001The miniseries version of The Andromeda Strain, which was directed by Mikael Salomon, was an attempt to retell the classic tale, for modern times. The decision to make it into a 2 episode miniseries with each episode being two hours long, was because they wanted to go into greater detail about Andromeda’s origin’s among other things. This decision was, in my opinion, a mistake. In order to make this 4 hours long they added a lot of weird, unnecessary, and often detracting ideas. For example while Andromeda was pretty out there in terms of its capabilities in both the original novel and the movie adaptation, it was still within the realm of possibility. whereas the miniseries raises its capabilities WAY beyond the suspension of disbelief. The miniseries also opens up a plot hole or two. Just like in the book the wildfire team discovers that Andromeda can only exist within a very narrow range of Ph because of the extreme Ph ranges of the two survivors. HOWEVER, they then go on to say that they cannot use this to cure Andromeda without killing human hosts because the ph range that Andromeda can exist in is the same as human beings, DESPITE the fact that two people clearly SURVIVED IN SAID PH RANGE. Then there is the conspiracy plot, where an unknown governmental agency tries to collect some Andromeda for use in biological warfare. There is just one problem with this idea. When most armed forces have a biological weapon they want to have numerous failsafe to protect their own people. In this they can either vaccinate their forces against the disease, have the abilities to cure their soldiers, or they know how the disease transmits and they can safely isolate themselves until the epidemic dies off. All of these methods of dealing with said biological method have one thing in common, the biological agent, though virulent, has a low rate of mutation and therefore the country in question does not have to worry about the disease infecting them. Andromeda has been REPEATEDLY shown to mutate frequently and therefore would be too risky to use as a biological weapon. This is the reason why the U.S. government gave up on plans for using Andromeda that way in both the novel and the movie, despite the fact that had indeed been searching for new bio-weapons, Andromeda was just too risky. Another thing about the conspiracy plot in the book is that raises lots of questions but gives few if any answers. Although some ambiguity in a story ending is alright and can even be a good thing, this ending just leaves you feeling a bit more confused then satisfied. Now on to the good stuff, which believe it or not, does exist. First is the group dynamic of the wildfire team. Unlike the book and movie where one character was brought along as a compromise, and was looked down on by the rest of the staff as being a mere physician instead of a researcher. Yet that character becomes the main hero. In the miniseries all of them are researchers, yet some of them look down on each other, due to bad past relationships usually having to deal with politics. Despite these obstacles the team manges to come together to save the day. In addition they also bounce various ideas off each other and often one person’s ideas will inevitably contribute to another’s. The other good thing is the action scenes. The book and the movie are almost pure medical thriller, with only one, admittedly well done,  action scene at the very end. The miniseries however makes this an medical-thriller action-thriller combo, and the action scenes are handled quite well, and even the scientific stuff does not start getting ridiculous until the last 15 minutes or so of the first episode. It is the action scenes and the group dynamics that manage to keep this from being a total mess. While The Andromeda Strain miniseries might not be worth a purchase it is at least worth a rental.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars


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