Unfortunate timing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 July, 1996, 12:00am

Given that Hong Kong's television stations appear to change their films at a whim, it crossed my mind that TVB might decide to drop Fire And Rain (Pearl, noon), a made-for-TV disaster movie about an ill-fated Delta Airlines flight that crashes at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Uncomfortably close to the TWA disaster near New York, it has graphic scenes of the carnage and focuses on the aftermath of the crash and the effects on people involved with it rather than the run-up to it.

There's a well-known cast, including Angie Dickinson, David Hasselhoff, Patti LaBelle and Tom Bosley.

But I fear the remarkable realism will make it too harrowing for some to watch at a time when we have so recently seen similar shots in the news.

Hard to believe though it is, the wonderfully-named The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (Pearl, 1.30pm) is positively true.

In 1991, the story of Wanda Holloway, a Texas housewife accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill the mother of her daughter's cheerleading rival, drove the Gulf War, the fall of communism and the collapse of apartheid off the front pages of newspapers across America.

It had all the American ingredients for a good story - cheerleaders, family values, competition, small-town rivalry and hitmen - in one spicy brew.

This film (a few have been made) concentrates on the case and the media circus surrounding it.

The ever-talented Holly Hunter plays Holloway, the churchgoing mother who wants her little girl to do proud at any cost.

A remarkably overweight Beau Bridges plays her black-sheep former brother-in-law, Terry Harper, who accuses her of trying to eliminate the competition permanently.

A welcome helping of dark humour.

The slick, satirical and violent, not to mention funny, Robocop (Pearl, 9.30pm), about the privatisation of the Detroit Police Department and the US$5 billion Robocop, has all the right ingredients yet I cannot help but think its vision of the future is too glum.

The makers of Once Upon A Time In Cyberville (World, 11.50pm) would disagree. This documentary suggests life is truer than fiction and looks at how technology is contributing to the privatisation of public space in Los Angeles, how the LA Police Department has a crucial role in the design of urban projects and how new information superhighways are leading to the creation of a society that never needs to leave its electronically-tagged and locked home.

World looks like it's having a nature documentary day, starting with Magpie In The Dock (11.30am), which asks whether magpies are piebald villains or elegant entrepreneurs.

The subject is imaginatively debated in a courtroom drama that is punctuated by spectacular natural history sequences.

A Wild Romance (noon) takes a light-hearted look at love and fidelity in the animal kingdom.

The legendarily faithful snow geese are not as pure as the driven snow, it seems. They are not averse to a sneaky affair and the evidence is on show with an odd-coloured gosling popping up in one nest.

Eddie Paul, a stuntman who created a new protective suit to be used while photographing and studying sharks, is also profiled in Secrets Of The Deep: Sharks On The Brink Of Extinction (1.50pm), an intriguing look at the monster of the deep.