Channel Hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 June, 2010, 12:00am

True or false: 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.' We all know how the investigation into that particular public statement played out. If, however, then-independent counsel Kenneth Starr had been able to benefit from Dr Cal Lightman's singular talents, he might have saved everyone a lot of time and speculation.

As a human lie detector, Lightman (pictured, centre; Tim Roth, channel- ling a dyspeptic doctor called House) invites you to Lie To Me (Fox; Monday to Friday at 9pm). The series follows cases his agency accepts - from corporate heads and government departments - to tease out the truth when the polygraph can't. Lightman employs the Facial Action Coding System - which exists in the real world, all 1,000 pages of it - on suspects and victims alike.

If reading faces is your thing, you'll learn plenty from the show; the solving of each case invariably hinges on one or two micro facial twitches - which Lightman's team explains to us laymen. Hands down the best bit is the media footage of real-life politicians and celebrities used to illustrate instances of lying, including a clip of Bill Clinton's famous denial.

The series aired in fits in April with the launch of Fox Channel but looks ready to start anew with a daily routine, which means less waiting around for us viewers - and we like that.

True or false: the world needs more rebooted 1990s drama series featuring unnaturally skinny people with fake tans. We are inclined to circle false but American studios seem to think otherwise. We saw 90210 resurrected last year and now comes Melrose Place (SET; Wednesdays at 9pm). The infamous apartment complex will see a new, but equally soap-operatic, batch of tenants; but the requisite guest appearances by actors/characters from the original show will have you feeling as old as they look.

True or false: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also known as the BP oil spill) is the largest ever seen in waters around the United States.

While it has surpassed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, which took place in Alaska, the current disaster still ranks second in terms of volume of oil lost to the 1979 Ixtoc I disaster in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. But with several failed 'kills' and an estimated one million litres of oil gushing daily from the underwater hole, we are looking at far-reaching environmental consequences in the years, possibly decades, ahead.

Salvage Code Red: Gulf Oil Disaster (NGC; today at 2pm and 6pm) documents the damage from the April 20 rig explosion - focusing on the rescue missions mounted within the first 36 hours of the incident.

The endless footage of a burning sea just 80 kilometres from the United States mainland is enough to make one forget about retiring in Florida - not to mention buying that second car.