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Friday, June 05, 2020

Revisiting 2008 miniseries The Andromeda Strain: A tacky affair

The Andromeda Strain miniseries consists of two episodes. The plot is based on Michael Crichton's 1969 novel of the same name which also inspired a film in 1971 with the same title.

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi | Published: March 29, 2020 7:52:56 am
the andromeda strain miniseries The Andromeda Strain is an adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name.

Amid the raging global coronavirus pandemic, people are either opting to stay at home to stall the spread of infection, or are compelled to do so by authorities. People have had to employ domestic modes of entertainment like gaming, TV shows and movies.

When it comes to TV shows, the two-part miniseries titled The Andromeda Strain written by Robert Schenkkan and directed by Mikael Salomon is being revisited by people apart from movies like Contagion and Outbreak.

The Andromeda Strain miniseries consists of two episodes. The plot is based on Michael Crichton’s 1969 novel of the same name which also inspired a film in 1971 with the same title. Crichton is best known for Jurassic Park, which was adapted by Steven Spielberg for his blockbuster film in 1993.

The miniseries I am talking about is not a direct adaptation but a sort of reinvention. It tells the story of a widespread infection from a virulent virus (which unlike SARS-CoV-2 is of extraterrestrial origin) that has arrived from a US satellite which crash-landed on earth (near Piedmont, Utah, to be precise). The US government sends a special biodefence team to look into it, and all the members die from the infection.

The virus spreads and the government eventually authorises to nuke the quarantine area, only to learn that the radiation only helps the growth of the virus — exponentially. Before the strike is called off, however, something malfunctions and the area is nuked anyway. The virus has mutated and can now consume nylon.

As you can probably tell, the series bears only a passing resemblance to the current day events. The unlikeliness of the events can be digested, but the actors themselves do not seem to believe what is happening or what they are saying. The acting is the worst I have seen from such a serious-looking production (Ridley Scott is one of the producers), and the dialogues rival its tackiness. I will admit ignorance about the plot in original novel and film adaptation, but this miniseries is dreadfully dull otherwise too. The writer keeps throwing scientific mumbo-jumbo at the viewer, perhaps to appear smart, but there is no looking away from the fact that the miniseries is neither educative nor entertaining.

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