While I haven’t seen the original ’71 version of Michael Crichton’s classic techno-thriller, I can’t imagine it could have been as intriguing as this new mini-series produced by the Scott brothers (Tony and Ridley.)

Benjamin Bratt plays a doctor roped into a group of like-minded researchers struggling to find a cure to some new illness from outer space before it wipes out all of humanity. It’s set up like a typical disaster flick, but it’s really the special effects and pacing that sell this sci-fi popcorn picture.

The effects seem more realistic than those in actual blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow, the sci-fi jargon almost never gets in the way and the actors all turn in adequate performances. Eric McCormack, in particular, shines as a troubled dirt reporter who is given a second chance at life.

Grade: B+

“The Andromeda Strain” will air May 26-27 on A&E at 9 p.m. It will be available on DVD June 3.