"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on earth forty days and forty nights."

Genesis 7:12

 

You may have noticed it's been raining a fair bit in Hong Kong recently. Proper cats and dogs. Forty days and forty nights, pah! The downpours we've endured over the past couple of months would have been enough to have Noah worrying about whether he'd ordered enough wood. Thunderbolts and lightning, too; very, very frightening. It's amazing we haven't all run away screaming and cursing in search of bluer skies and sunnier climes, to a place where we could bask in warm rays, drinking and dancing the nights away, without the need of a sou'wester and wellies.

Brazil maybe? That would work; just ask Michael Palin. The ex-Monty Python and now celebrity tourist travelled to the South American country recently for the first time (Brazil with Michael Palin, TVB Pearl, tomorrow at 9.30pm). You'd think having spent the best part of 25 years circumnavigating the globe, he'd have dropped by before, but there you go.

Palin is a true English gentleman: with his khaki trousers and wind-swept hair, he's a man so nice he'd buy you a drink if you knocked over his. And his previous documentaries have been enjoyable and enlightening, so we had high hopes for his exploration of the world's fifth-largest country.

With both the Summer Olympics and the football World Cup on their way, it's a country with which we are soon to become well acquainted.

One imagines the place to be an exotic cauldron of food, dance and music, a place of vibrant colour and intoxicating happiness; if God were to throw a party, Brazil would be the venue. Which makes it all the more disappointing that Palin's presentation of it seems desaturated, as if someone had toned down the colours on the television and diluted all the excitement of South America.

Of course, Palin has always erred more on the side of linen sheets than sleeping bags and you can't fault him for that. We don't expect him to be hanging out with drug lords; but this time it all feels a little too pleasant and cosy. The dancing seems shockingly tame, actually downright boring, and the music lacks passion. Palin's polite journalism does not appear well suited to Brazil, although perhaps I was just expecting too much naughtiness from Mr Nice.

Maybe Wild Thailand (Nat Geo Wild, Friday at 9pm) with Jeremy Irons (albeit only as a narrator) would prove a more gratifying destination. The "wild" refers to Thailand's stunningly beautiful natural environment, not Bangkok's stunningly seedy nightlife, and there are plenty of sights to behold. Beginning with an exploration of the more than 50 national parks that make up 14 per cent of the country's total area, the series reveals a wilderness seldom seen by holidaymakers. Thailand is one of the most fertile places on the planet and 10 per cent of the Earth's animal species can be found in its protected parks.

As you'd expect from a National Geographic production, these creatures great and small are shown in glorious close-up, using slow-motion capture, and, with its time-lapse photography of some of the 27,000 species of flowering plants, Wild Thailand does take your breath away.

It also touches on man's destruction of wildlife habitats and there is, indeed, a brief excursion from the serene natural landscape as we take a trip to Bangkok to "where the wild things are". But the inelegance of the humankind found in the capital only goes to emphasise how truly beautiful the lush world of Thailand's rainforests are.

Wild Thailand to Wild Boys; the link seems just too easy to make, so I won't bother. The new Australia Network period drama is two episodes in now, and already you can see why it failed to earn itself a second series.

Wild Boys (Tuesdays at 9.30pm) follows the exploits of a couple of adorable bushrangers (highway robbers, to those not from the Antipodes) in 1860s Australia whose nemesis is a new police superintendent who doesn't play by the rules (Boo! Hiss! Behind you!). One of our lovable rogues, Jack (Daniel MacPherson; City Homicide), has a little somethin'-somethin' going on with the proprietress of fictional Hopetoun's pub-cum-bordello (Zoe Ventoura; Packed to the Rafters) and risks life and limb - and neck - to pop into town every so often to surprise her (with his rough-living stench, if this show were in any way realistic). The makers obviously see Wild Boys as an Aussie Deadwood, but the main characters are all far too clean, chipper (the good baddies) or humourless (the bad goodies) and god-darn good looking for it to be at all credible.

And "the c***suckers forgot to write in any bad language", as Deadwood's Al Swearengen might have observed.