Channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2011, 12:00am


In the three weeks since Steve Jobs' passing, the memorialisation of the technology pioneer has been conducted at hyperspeed. Apple stores around the world have become centres for remembrance and places to erect homespun shrines; Steve Jobs Day (October 16) was established in California by Governor Jerry Brown - and continues to be celebrated with a very active Twitter feed and website; and the authorised biography, released on October 24, is flying off the shelves as quickly as any iPhone or iPad ever did. And this week, two documentaries come to the small screen to commemorate a man who did more than almost any other to bring about the personal-computer era.

The documentary iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed the World (Discovery Channel) airs tonight at 10pm and is hosted by two familiar Discovery Channel personalities: Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from MythBusters. As the title indicates, iGenius is a gushing homage to Jobs' philosophy of cool - focusing on his commercial success, particularly that of recent years, with iTunes, the iPhone and the iPad - while glossing over some of his earlier struggles and underplaying his often difficult personality. Various tech professionals and aficionados, such as founder of the Homebrew Computer Club, Lee Felsenstein; John Draper, who worked with Jobs; The New York Times columnist Joe Nocera; and musicians Pete Wentz and Stevie Wonder, pay lip-service to the impact Jobs made on their lives.

Savage - clearly a fan - has the last word: 'Someone once said that to follow the path that others have laid before you is a very reasonable course of action, therefore all progress is made by unreasonable men. Steve Jobs was an unreasonable man. He didn't simply give the public what they wanted, he defined entirely new ways of thinking about our lives in the digital space: productivity, creativity, music, communication, media and art. He has touched, directly and indirectly, all of our lives.'

Painting a more balanced picture of the man, his visionary talent and his flaws, the French-produced The Way Steve Jobs Has Changed the World follows tomorrow (at 9.30pm) on TVB Pearl. In the spirit of investigative journalism, the programme scores interviews with former collaborators and employees, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Daniel Kottke, one of Apple's first employees, who worked out of Jobs' parents' garage. The programme digs up footage of Jobs' initial brushes with fame and also his first (pre-black mock turtleneck) product launch presentation - of the Apple II computer. The programme addresses Jobs' significant rivals, including IBM and Bill Gates, reflecting on his power-driven need to be the best. More than once, Jobs is described as megalomaniacal but, less flattering as it is as a tribute, this documentary nevertheless defines Jobs' real genius more clearly and gives added weight to the kind of lasting impact he has had on the wired world.

Stephen King's unique brand of campy creepiness returns in the second season of Haven (above; Syfy, Mondays at 10.50pm), a supernatural drama based on the author's 2005 novel The Colorado Kid. The show centres on Audrey Parker, an FBI agent sent to fictitious Haven, for a routine case. Things get weird fast and Parker finds herself the protector of those residents afflicted by 'troubles' - another word for supernatural abilities. Season two picks up right after the revelation of Parker's own mysterious identity, as another FBI agent has arrived in town claiming she's the real Audrey Parker. If biblical plagues, revolts of the dead and Groundhog Day-esque time loops are your sort of thing, this season of Haven will keep you as happy as a pig in mud.

For those who missed its first Hong Kong run on Star Movies, period drama The Pillars of the Earth makes a fortunate reappearance on Fox, starting this week (Sundays at 9.50pm). The epic is set in the High Middle Ages of 1120 - a time when Europe was emerging from the Dark Ages.

England, with its monarchy and papal influence, is the stage for the tale of Tom Builder, a commoner with a vision to build the first Gothic cathedral in the land, who becomes a pawn in the power play between the church and gentry with aspirations to the throne of England.

The Pillars of the Earth is melodrama at its best, with matricide, incest, torture, bleeding Madonna statues and star-crossed love mixed into a juicy concoction and dressed in believable period garb.