Feel The Strain

Andromeda b

The Wildfire Team Talk The Talk

A week or so ago, the Other Viewer noticed that a two-part version of The Andromeda Strain had downloaded itself onto our Sky Anytime service. For those that don’t know, when you get a Sky HD box fitted, it comes with 2x 360Gb hard drives, one for you to record away to your heart’s content, the other to be used by some halfwits from SkyHQ who send you High Def television for viewing pleasure. Unlike Tivo, it makes no effort to send you anything that it thinks you will like, by learning from the programmes you regularly record, instead it seems to zap down any ond rubbish it feels like. Currently, we have been sent Hannah Montana, Spongebob Squarepants, some American Pie movie, and a travel show called the Coach Trip, none of which you could force me to watch with large piles of cash or a gun to my head. Anyway, this was the first time that anything had arrived via Anytime that seemed like it was worth watching since the early episodes of Lost came a day early without any ad breaks… bliss!

With Ridley and Tony Scott listed as exec producers expectations, hopes were immediately raised that this could turn out to be a real treat and, although what was shown on screen looked a bit like a tough and gritty military drama crossed with the glossy finish of a Desperate Housewives episode, it was still watchable enough. I have to confess that I have never read the Michael Crichton book upon which this is based nor indeed have I watched the films, so I am unsure how true to the original this was although I’m guessing not too much. I suppose that the problem you have when the main villain of the piece is a microscopic virus, is that you have to rely on exposition to get you through the plot and this is where the problem lay. A largely unremarkable cast, save for Eric McCormack who looked like he was relishing his role as the rugged and wisecracking journalist, seemed to go through the motions a little and the technobabble that the five inhabitants of the Wildfire base were asked to rattle off got tiring after about 5 minutes. After three hours I was ready to have the virus implanted in my ears just so I could stop listening.

Andromeda a

The talk of quarantines and mutations and carbon60 and buckeyballs was interspersed with a variety of action scenes that all seemed a bit like going through a pick’n’mix of the first six series of 24…. gruesome deaths, tough choices, token bad guys on the President’s staff, personal betrayal, a nuclear detonation and even Ricky Schroder. Having said all that, it all hung together quite well. The plot strands were neatly tied up, the personal stories got resolved and day was, rather inevitably, saved. Would’ve been nice to see Vegas destroyed though.

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