channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am

Here's a question for you: should a promising but struggling television series be put out of its misery before the end of the first season? Here's another: will a 4,000-year-old relationship between a human tribe and elephants die out with this generation?

For the answer to these and other pertinent questions, tune in this week.

Tonight, The Black Donnellys comes to Star World (10pm). The drama debuted in America on NBC in February and last aired on April 2. Before it was officially cancelled, the show staggered on for a while at, where un-aired episodes were available for download.

The story follows four young Catholic Irish-American brothers in Hell's Kitchen, New York, and their deepening involvement with organised crime. Their story is narrated by a childhood friend, Joey Ice Cream, from an interrogation room in prison. Joey's memory is conveniently selective and self-aggrandising, so we never know if he's telling the truth. Nevertheless, he spins a clever tale, leaving the viewer curious to know more about these boys. Jimmy, the eldest Donnelly brother, is a trigger-happy drunk - a loose cannon giving Irish-Americans a bad name. The second eldest, Tommy, is the caretaker and enforcer in the family, constantly bailing Jimmy and the younger two out of trouble. We see the bloodlust build between the brothers and the neighbourhood's Italian mobsters after a kidnapping goes awry. Tommy must make the unenviable choice between saving his brothers' lives and leading a normal life.

The show was created by Paul Haggis (writer of blockbuster movies Crash and Million Dollar Baby) and Robert Moresco. The cast includes Jonathan Tucker (as Tommy), Olivia Wilde (Jenny Reilly), Tom Guiry (Jimmy) and Keith Nobbs (Joey).

Also tonight, Animal Planet looks at another close-knit band in Kingdom of the Elephants (8pm). Mawee Ang is the daughter of a mahout, or elephant keeper. The care of these intelligent and gentle animals has been the duty of the Karen tribe for generations. Mawee Ang has been selected to carry the mahout knowledge and history into the next generation. Her partner in training is a teenage elephant named Nong Bo Ong, who Mawee Ang considers her best friend.

This one-hour special - shot entirely in high definition - offers insight into a disappearing tradition, set in the lush mountains on the border of Thailand and Myanmar.

For those interested in the technology and resources behind the visuals, keep your TV tuned to Animal Planet for The Making of Kingdom of the Elephants, immediately after the documentary.

Returning to the urban jungle, high-rises and skyscrapers use 40 per cent of the world's energy resources and emit 50 per cent of its greenhouse gases, so 'adopting sustainable alternatives is not only a matter of progress, but a matter of survival'. These words might sound preachy but imagine them coming from one of the hottest, most high-profile humanitarians today: Brad Pitt.

Produced by Karena Albers and Tad Fettig, Design: e? (Fridays at 8pm on ATV), is a smart, visually interesting series about how to think and build green, narrated by the Hollywood star. The first episode takes us into the bowels of Manhattan to uncover some surprising advances in green and cost-saving technology in use today.