with Yvonne Lai
We are keeping it simple this week, it's only television after all. First, a show called Human Weapon, but before you learn about the programme, you might want to know a little about the channel that is showing it.
The History Channel was launched in Hong Kong last June. Channel Hop was curious to know how it planned to satisfy the tastes of a broad Asian audience, so we called up the head of programming and acquisitions for Hong Kong to have a chat. She laid our fears to rest by telling us about several original productions in the pipeline, one coming out of Malaysia that will examine the ocean-faring culture of the South China Sea. Another series, with five- to six-minute episodes based on crime investigations in Asia, including Hong Kong, will follow.
The channel seems eager to create shows that explore the 'fun' stuff happening in our backyard. It should prove a welcome addition to Asian broadcasting.
Human Weapon (The History Channel, Thursday at 9pm) is not one of the aforementioned original Asian productions but it does cover a subject near and dear to many here - martial arts. The hosts are Captain America look-alike Jason Chambers - a mixed martial arts fighter and jeet kune do instructor - and the large but lovable Bill Duff, a former wrestler and American football player. Each episode sees the pair in a different city or region learning from some of the best local martial artists. As they take crash courses in judo, sanda - which is a deadly discipline taught to all 2 million members of the People's Liberation Army - and Malaysia's silat, the audience learns about the evolution of each fighting art. There are some nifty computer-generated action figures that re-enact the basic moves taught by the professionals. At the end of each sojourn, one of our hosts has to fight a champion in a 'friendly' bout to see whether they have absorbed anything other than post-training Tiger-Balm rub downs.
Next is a programme titled Six Degrees Could Change the World (National Geographic Channel, Saturday at 9pm). This is a depressing look at global warming based on a book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynas. With the help of some passable post-production effects, we see what the world might look like, degree by degree, as the global temperature rises to the point at which human life is no longer viable. Lynas explores the impact of climate change on Greenland (above) and focuses on the carbon footprint of cheeseburgers - apparently, the production of this American favourite causes more damage than all the SUVs in the US.
Lastly, and also related to mankind's impact on the Earth, comes The Human Footprint (TVB Pearl, Wednesday at 8pm), a clever and visually manipulative hour-long special on what the average Brit consumes throughout his or her lifetime. Sculptures made of food, rubbish and other fun things drive the point home. One visual, a cascade of 13,345 raw eggs onto concrete, depicts the number an average person will scramble, boil, fry, poach and eat in their life. Utterly captivating, it's like learning about gravity sitting in the passenger seat of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.