Same old laughs
THERE are two new series being unveiled on Pearl this evening and both tread a fine line between the mediocre and the average.
The Boys Are Back (6.50pm) is a comedy and Moon Over Miami (1.10am) is likewise, but disguised as an off-the-wall detective series. It's Magnum meets NYPD Blue and stars eco-friendly types who staff a security firm in 'happening' South Beach. Throw in some Baywatch and Miami Vice and you're halfway there.
There is nothing in Moon Over Miami (aka Do The Strand ) that has not been done before. Its appeal hinges on the old chalk and cheese formula, tried and trusted in situation drama-land since Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd hammed their way through Moonlighting.
He (Bill Campbell) is a thoughtful, well-balanced and intelligent private detective often given to quoting Shakespeare, which at least gives the scriptwriters less original work to do. She (Ally Walker) is the beautiful and impetuous young thing who has never made her own bed but decides the time has come for her to make her way in the world without help from the contents of daddy's wallet.
Neither is The Boys Are Back unique. Suzanne Pleshette and Hal Linden are parents who have finally got rid of their last son and can't wait to get on with retirement. He is looking forward to fixing his boat and 'making love on the living room floor', which prompts her to ask: 'Who'll pick us up?' But then the son loses his job at an employment agency and moves back in with wife and kids in tow. Collectors of American sitcom plots will recognise this from the too long-running Empty Nest and the disappointing Blue Thunder.
Boys has some sharp and funny moments and others that will make you wince. Many of the punchlines come from cute grandchildren who don't realise what they are saying. This is another bog standard sitcom trick. It's time for something new.
IN 1954 Marlon Brando wore Levi 501s in The Wild One. They don't come big enough for him now, but at the time he looked the part, and the era of denims was born. Blue Jeans (Pearl, 8.30pm) tells all - from Elvis' black denims in Jailhouse Rock to Calvin Klein's designer denims for thirtysomethings. If you're not interested, listen to the soundtrack, which includes Eric Clapton's Bell Bottom Blues and ZZ Top's Blue Jean Blues.
OF the evening's films, She-Devil (World, 9.35pm) is probably the best, all things being relative. Meryl Streep saves it with a fine comedic performance, but the film lacks the sourness of Fay Weldon's original book. Roseanne Barr is the ugly duckling who methodically sets about gaining revenge when her husband deserts her.
The Hong Kong film Yesteryou, Yesterme, Yesterday (Pearl, 9.30pm) charts some of the miseries of youth and Poison (World, 1.45am) charts the miseries of adulthood, ranging in style from the risible to the repugnant. It's three stories in one - Hero, Homo and Horror. In the latter a doctor invents a serum containing sex drive.
FILMS on Cable Movie Channel: Treasure Island (3pm). One of five versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel about an old pirate map, a long sea voyage, a mutiny and buried treasure. It's faithful to the book, but lacks in panache and is plodding when it should be exciting. Worth watching for the star-spotting: cast includes Charlton Heston, Christian Bale, Oliver Reed and Christopher Lee.
Miracles 90 Days (9pm). A precious stone, brought to Hong Kong for study, is accidentally hit by electricity and produces enough power to turn a gorilla called Chi Tat into a man. If this sounds silly, it's because it is. There's a subplot about the gorilla-man falling in love with a circus public relations officer.
Dark Angel (11pm). A black-clad alien, who looks like a giant surfer, arrives on Earth to harvest people for their endorphins (his race is addicted to them). A cop (Dolph Lundgren) and his new partner (FBI agent Brian Benben) try to sort things out.