On another planet

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 May, 1997, 12:00am

TVB is having a month-long series of 'Outer Skies' movies exploring what is taking (or could be) taking place beyond our world and imaginations. The theme could not have been emphasised more tonight if TVB had tried (which I expect it didn't).

Horizon (Pearl, 6.35pm) looks at a 21st-century technology, nanotechnology, that its proponents believe could take control of our physical world at an atomic level and create an environment where every imaginable, physical wish could be granted.

You want a diamond-encrusted cup of steaming coffee to emerge from the wall? It would.

Ten years ago, a small band of scientists predicted that ultimate control could be achieved by infusing the world with billions upon billions of intelligent molecular machines, or 'assemblers'.

These machines would be so tiny they could work invisibly to reconstruct our world atom by atom.

According to evangelists of this nanotechnology, computing will become biological, linked directly to our thoughts, and we will be able to construct new materials and old ones, at whim.

This film investigates what these shifts in technology could do for us - and what they could do to us. In taking account of the foreseeable effects of technological advancement, it confronts us with some unpalatable truths about the ramifications of personal empowerment - a sobering reminder that technology is a sword with two equally sharp edges.

If one believes intelligent life forces live beyond our planet, there is nothing to discount that they have not already attained such nanotechnological achievements and are using them against us.

In the summer of 1947, there is no question that something crashed in the desert outside Roswell (Pearl, 9.30pm), New Mexico.

At first, an official press release issued by the US Army Air Force announced that a crashed flying saucer had been recovered.

But within 24 hours, the release was retracted and the military changed its story to say it was a radar-reflecting weather balloon.

However, intelligence officer Jesse Marcel (Kyle MacLachlan) claimed he knew better. He had walked to the crash site and knew that what was found was not a weather balloon.

He was convinced the military had recovered its first wreckage of an alien space craft - with the passengers still on board. This above average made-for-cable film, based on the book UFO Crash At Roswell by Captain Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt, concentrates on Marcel's attempt to learn the truth.

The script is convincing and the conspiracy theory wholly believable.

If only in title, The Naked Truth (Pearl, 11.35pm) keeps in with tonight's out-of-this-world theme.

In the first episode, Nora gives some valuable dating tips to Stupid Dave, and, in the second, Star And Comet Collide! Giant Bugs Invade!, Nora throws a party to quash rumours about her fate.

ATV, which has had more than a rap from this column this week, has done little to improve its image: are they all on another planet? Handwritten on a fax pointing out a late programme change, Apollo 13 - Houston We Have A Problem (World, 8 pm), was the comment, 'Sorry, we don't have any information on this programme, so we can't give it to you with this programme change. We're sorry about that.' How can a television station air a show about which it has no information? If it has the programme, it has the information.

What no one can be bothered to do is watch it and write a synopsis.

At least, if the title is anything to go by, it keeps in with tonight's 'out-there' theme.