This television mini-series is produced by directing brothers Tony and Ridley Scott and based on the novel by Michael Crichton, you know – that guy behind Jurassic Park and E.R. The series has a pretty decent cast including Benjamin Bratt, Ricky Schroder, Andre Braugher and Eric McCormack (of Will and Grace fame).
When a satellite falls from the sky a small US town is hit by an unknown plague, the army call in a crack team of scientists and doctors – lead by Bratt to try and discover what has gone wrong. However, when an investigative journalist (McCormack) gets wind of the story things begin to take a turn for the worse. There was a time when television was seen as the poor cousin to the cinema, there was a stigma attached to appearing on the box, however in the last ten years or so television has really come into its own delivering thrills and spills that match or even exceed those of feature films. The Andromeda Strain is one such example.
There had to be some quality in this three hour miniseries (spread across two discs) considering that the Scott brothers were behind it, however I wasn’t too sure that it would be worth three hours of my short life. I was wrong. From the opening I was gripped, and even the presence of Benjamin Bratt wasn’t enough to hinder my enjoyment. In fact, I think that now that Mr Bratt has matured, he has lost some of the cocky, young guy image that hampered many of his earlier, cinematic efforts. Maybe he now knows that he has nothing to prove, relaxing into television, safe in the hands of the brothers Scott.
Even Eric Mc McCormack is able to overcome his sitcom typecasting as the Gay Lawyer, Will and deliver a charismatic performance, that, like Bratt’s is assured and better than quite a few A-list movie stars.
There’s a good smattering of extras, there is a solid commentary that covers both discs (it’s jammed packed, but a tad dry) as well as a very informative, if brief (26 min) making of documentary that covers the project’s origins and development through the years. It’s most notable for having Ridley Scott on hand to talk about the series.