Preview: The Andromeda Strain (mini-series)

In the US: Memorial Day, 9pm/8c, A&E
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Didn’t I say you should own this a while ago? Oh wait it’s a remake. A mini-series in fact. Let’s start again then.

Michael Jurassic Park/Westworld/Disclosure/Rising Sun Crichton’s first novel was The Andromeda Strain, a scary little book that asked the question "What if an alien virus that was absolutely virulent and lethal came to Earth? What would it be like and how would we deal with it?" After becoming a bestseller, it got turned into a rather excellent movie (which you should own) back in the early 70s.

So do we need a remake? Interesting question, too. Before watching this two-part mini-series, I’d have said no, even if it is "presented by" Tony and Ridley Scott, especially since it’s showing on A&E, which hasn’t done much decent for about a decade.

But you know what? It’s not half bad. It’s different in a lot of ways. It’s better in a lot of ways, too. But is it the best Andromeda Strain so far?

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Tuesday’s “Edge of Darkness” news


Doctor Who


  • Mel Gibson to star in film version of Edge of Darkness, directed again by Martin Campbell
  • Universal options Eli Stone co-creator’s comic Resurrection
  • Galaxy Quest returning as a comic
  • X-Files 2 pics


  • Kris Marshall/Rob Webb/Joanna Page’s Fat Pig still to open on schedule despite accident

British TV

  • Dave Gorman’s Genius crossing from radio to TV


Welsh TV

Review: Caerdydd

In the UK: Iau/Sul, 9pm, S4C

Around me, right now, I have a few books: Colloquial Welsh; Welsh is Fun; Welsh is Fun-tastic!; and Teach Yourself Welsh. I’ve just installed the Rosetta Stone – Welsh on my Mac, which will go nicely with Talk Now – Welsh!

Guess what I’m doing in spare time, these days.

Yes, I’m learning Welsh. It’s not that easy in London, but I’m trying. Fortunately, Sky does in fact carry Welsh language channel S4C, which should be a help.

Anyway, in light of the controversy surrounding the filming of a sex scene for new S4C “cult drama” Caerdydd in the Welsh Assembly toilets (and because Toby wanted to know if there were any Weevil references in it), I thought I’d tune in and give it a look – and improve my Welsh a little.

Bloody hell.

Clearly, the assembly hadn’t seen a single episode of it before they said “Yes, sure, you can certainly film ‘a conversation’ in our toilets”.

It’s a bit hard to think of a comparable English-language show, other than something like This Life, crossed with EastEnders maybe. But imagine, basically, non-stop shagging, cocaine snorting and pill popping, with just a bit of gay love thrown in for good measure, all to a soundtrack of Adam and the Ants and the Cure, and you’re there basically. Seriously, Torchwood and just about anything else on British TV at the moment (where’s Footballers’ Wives when you need it?) look like CBeebies in comparison.

I’m not sure I’d necessarily rate it that highly and that’s purely because it’s so different: it’s like trying to review Japanese Noh theatre after spending all your life watching episodes of Benidorm. For starters, there’s a fair old load of over-acting, histrionics, and wall-to-wall “issues” which to me, look a little unconvincing.

But for a network that usually looks like it’s been trapped in the 70s (cf Pobol Y Cwm and all those weird farming programmes and broadcasts from town halls), to have a glossy Kudos/World Productions-esque show like this is really quite remarkable. It’s worth tuning in, if you can, just for the shock value alone, but it really does show off Cardiff nicely and if you miss This Life, this is the next best thing for now.

PS What weirded me out most about the episode was the fact there was one scene filmed in the exact same hotel room that we stayed in in Cardiff at the start of the month. Not just a similar one. The exact same room. Spooky.

UPDATE: You can watch episodes from the S4C web site. You’ll need this if you’re on a Mac. Turns out the episode I watched was one of the tamer ones. Just look at the catch-up on this one, for example!


Review: Doctor Who – 4×4 – The Sontaran Strategem

Situation report
Saturday 26/04/08. 18.15hrs. 
New episode of Doctor Who about to start. Old enemy, the Sontarans, are about to appear for first time since slightly poor Colin Baker story The Two Doctors and an episode of Jim'll Fix It back in the 80s.

Very excited, despite having seen publicity photo of the Sontarans that makes them look like they've been designed by Mad magazine and Joel Schumacher. Not sure about appearance by Martha Jones either. Could be good. Could be bad.

But what's this? "Written by Helen Raynor"? Helen Raynor who wrote the uniformly bad Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks, as well two really dull episodes of Torchwood?

Abort! Abort! Pull out! We do not have sufficient caffeine to survive. Casualties will be heavy!

Anyone fancy going down the pub?

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Monday’s “Duff move” news

Doctor Who



British TV