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October 7, 2015

Andromeda Strain coming to A&E (and other news from the network)

by Adam Finley, posted May 2nd 2007 4:03PM

andromeda strainThis summer, filmmaking brothers Tony and Ridley Scott will begin production on a miniseries version of Michael Crichton's novel The Andromeda Strain for A&E. The brothers will executive produce the miniseries, which is being directed by Mikael Solomon (whose TV credits include Rome and Nightmares and Dreamscapes) and written by Robert Schenkkan (The Quiet American).

Crichton's novel was also made into a motion picture in 1971.

The miniseries could run as long as six hours. In addition, A&E has plans for more original series to air in 2008, including The Cleaner, about an addict who helps others kick their habit; Homestead, a cop drama; The Beast, an FBI drama; Takedown, a drama about U.S. Marshals; and Under, about a mob informant turned NY City cop.

Also, a pilot for The Pendletons, a spin-off the reality series Inked has been ordered. Other non-scripted shows on the slate include forensics series Crime 360, and a look at new cops in post-Katrina Louisiana: The Rookies. Other reality series include The Two Coreys (starring '80s pretty boys Corey Feldman and Corey Haim) and Paranormal State (yet another paranormal series).

Finally, A&E is developing two spin-offs for the Web: Dog 2.0 and Nick's World, spun-off from Dog the Bounty Hunter and Gene Simmon's Family Jewels respectively.

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Well, there goes my idea for 24, Season 7. :-)

Seriously, though, this was one of the few movies ever made that I think was actually better than the book. Crichton was still getting his feet wet in the genre: it read a little too much like a science article, and he left out a rather important little thing called /suspense/, as he kept giving things away. (I always felt his next book, Sphere, was essentially a rewrite of Andromeda Strain but underwater and /with/ suspense, and what would become a bit of an overused trademark question-mark ending.)

Anyway, I think the timing for a remake is great; the threat he posed 40 years ago is still viable today, even as science has progressed - which should make the hunt all the more interesting.

Interesting trivia bit: at the time the 1971 movie was made, it had the biggest budget of any motion picture ever made to date. Watching it today, it's almost hard to believe.

May 03 2007 at 3:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

It's been almost 40 years since I've read the book, so I hardly remember how the Leavitt character worked as a man. I do remember seeing the film and thinking it improved on the book because Kate Reid's performance was so great. She reminded me so much of some of the old broads--and that was how they referred to themselves-- who I had as teachers and professors and were representative of women in science at that time.

I imagine that there will be a woman on the team again, which only makes sense given the greater role of women scientists today, but I also imagine she will be more babealicious, like Dr. Jean Grey, just because that's the way the TV and film business works.

I also wonder whether this will be a straight or almost straight adaptation, or whether it will comment on contemporary issues, a la BSG. I can definitely see reworking the plot to make the threat come from genetically engineered crops escaping quarantine, rather than an external threat from outer space. Not necessarily good science, but that's the way the TV and movie business works too.

May 02 2007 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Except that the unbabe was actually a male role in the original novel...

I am definitely excited to see what this miniseries looks like. If it were anyone but the two Scott brothers, I might doubt the outcome. With them involved, this has a chance of being something well above average. I too agree that the original film was a masterpiece. It remains to this day as one of the very few films that made an accurate transfer from novel to film with only two rather insignificant modifications - the aforementioned gender switch (so there would even be a woman on the team at all) and the "upgrade" from curare darts to lasers (lasers are FAR more sexy don't you know?) in the core ascent during the film's climax. A terrific job in playing to the intelligence of the audience.

The funniest thing to me is that the original film is rated "G" but includes some rather intense images of all the dead (including a few shockingly graphic nudes!) and plenty of death in general. Amazing how standards have changed over the years!!


May 02 2007 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Now, is it just me, or wasn't there supposed to be an Andromeda Strain mini-series on SciFi a few years ago?

May 02 2007 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

"The Andromeda Strain" movie is one of my favourite "hard" science fiction movies. It starred two Canadian actors and no one was insisting that the female doctor should look like a babe and instead cast the distinctly unbabe-like Kate Reid.

I hope this is a big success and we can see more Arts and Entertainment on the Arts & Entertainment network and less reality crap.

May 02 2007 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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