Like Halley's Comet, "The Andromeda Strain," Michael Crichton's story of a virulent microorganism from outer space, is coming around again. It's previous appearance, as a theatrical directed by Robert Wise, occurred 37 years ago, so it was probably due for a return visit.
In some ways, you'd hardly recognize the old pathogen now. It has a completely different origin, a revised and more diverse team of scientists fighting it and a far more imaginative solution for defeating it. Plus the scientific equipment in the secret underground lab is wa-a-a-ay cooler.
A&E's four-hour mini also contains a strong environmental message which is, in itself, a little ironic considering that Crichton, who was not associated with this project, spoke with skepticism about global warming before a congressional hearing in 2005.
The heart of the story remains the same as it was in the 1969 novel, and scribe Robert Schenkkan wastes no time getting to it. A satellite crashes into the desert just outside of a small Utah town. Whatever was in it kills everyone almost instantly or drives them murderously insane. A team of scientists (Benjamin Bratt, Christa Miller, Viola Davis, Ricky Schroder and Daniel Dae Kim) is quickly assembled to save the world.
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