Odds on boredom
THE British humorist, Walter Carruthers Sellars, (they really did call Englishmen Carruthers in the 19th century) may well have been thinking about Hong Kong when he wrote a book called Horse Nonsense. In it he said: ''To confess that you are totally ignorant about the horse is social suicide: you will be despised by everybody, especially the horse.'' Those of you who cannot tell your tierce from your elbow will know what I mean. Wednesday evenings in winter can be close to purgatory, despite the best efforts of the avuncular Robin Parke and his Boy Wonder Lawrence Wadey on Racing Night Live (World, 8.30pm) to make everything about horses and the people who sit on them sound interesting. It is all to no avail. I am left feeling as ostracised as the horse itself must feel when it sees that only the jockey gets to wear a smart uniform.
Pearl offers little comfort. Here is its big chance to play wet-nurse to households in which reins are the things that happen in the wet season, and the best it can produce from the trough is Braddock: Missing In Action III (9.30pm). There has been a great deal of talk about Vietnam trilogies lately and this is the concluding part of Chuck Norris's.
The former martial arts professional again plays Colonel Braddock who, having escaped from 10 years of torture in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp, returns to America, then heads back to Vietnam to save a group of children, then heads back again because, silly boy, he has forgotten his wife.
THERE are a handful of locally produced current affairs shows which continue to do admirably in the face of wafer-thin budgets. The Hong Kong Connection (Pearl, 6.55pm) is one of them. Tonight it deals with the increasingly contentious and confusing issue of who will be entitled to go where and with which passport after 1997.
Certificate of Identity holders are in a particularly precarious position because through a bureaucratic quirk of government they have found themselves stateless. The Chinese Government has already said it will continue to accept the CI as a travel document, but what about other countries? LONG after the gee-gees have been dusted down and carted off to hit the hay for the night, World gets down to the serious business of trying to make us laugh, cry and be amazed. With Alien Nation (12.55am) it very nearly succeeds. This is a series based on the film of the same name - and not a bad film too, if you happen to like things slimy - about a group of aliens trying to ingratiate themselves on Planet Earth.
Written and directed by Ken Johnson, tonight's episode sees Susan give birth to a pod. It is husband George's turn to incubate it, but he finds himself subject to depression and mood swings. Sexual equality, it seems, has a great future.
GIVING birth to a pod sounds like no laughing matter, but neither is Babes (World, 6.30pm). The best light relief is Anything But Love (World, 10.30pm), an altogether classier example of the fickle and increasingly tired sitcom genre, thanks not just to intelligent performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Lewis and John Ritter, but also to something that every television programme needs, a half-decent script.
The plots might lack imagination - they revolve around the love interest in and out of the office for two magazine journalists who have a crush on each other - but of the current comedy crop, only Cheers is significantly better.
OVER on the BBC the sporting documentary On The Line returns for a new series (6.05pm), so try to get within spitting distance of a satellite dish if you can. Once again the team is promising to blow the lid on injustices within the sporting establishment.