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Channel hop

Mark Peters

 

Like a mildly concussed emu, we're bouncing around all over the place this week, with a mixed yet somewhat familiar tasting bag of televisual treats. Let's begin close to home, where British-born adventurer and author Rob Lilwall was aiming for in 2011, when he made his way on foot from the steppes of Mongolia, across the Gobi Desert and the mainland's winter wastelands to his current home sweet home, Hong Kong (Walking Home From Mongolia, pictured, Nat Geo Adventure, Saturday at 8.25pm). This week, we join Lilwall and his faithful cameraman in the second instalment of the six-part series about their 5,000-kilometre trudge across some of the planet's most difficult terrain.

The epic expedition took more than six months to complete - and you may have read about it in a weekly column Lilwall wrote for the South China Morning Post - but the adventurer is no stranger to life on the road, having previously spent more than three years journeying 50,000 kilometres across 28 countries on his trusty bicycle, Alanis (the adventure is documented in his book Cycling Home From Siberia). This may be a metaphorical stroll in the park for the engaging Lilwall but if, like me, your idea of adventure is freestyling a pizza topping, it's a damn sight more enjoyable experiencing this wondrous trek from the comfort of your sofa.

One of the problems with writing a TV column in Hong Kong is that the local stations and channels tend to change their scheduling at the drop of a hat, often almost as if they didn't see some big event coming. Take the Fifa Confederations Cup, for example. Held every four years, it can only have been planned for a decade or so, so who could have foreseen it was about to start? Apparently not TVB. A show called Dogs in the City was due to begin on TVB Pearl on Friday and I had written about that and its host's manner with mutts and their masters when, at the 11th hour, came news it was being pushed back to June 28, to make way for the football tournament that pits the winners of the Fifa confederations against one another. A good result for fans of the 22-legged beasts that are Japan and Brazil (the host country), I guess, but a bit frustrating for those who prefer their TV stars to have four feet. Come on Tahiti!!

Barring another late hiccup, tomorrow sees the return of fast-paced political drama series Scandal (Star World, 10.35pm), wherein, after a season finale packed with cliffhangers, we finally find out who fresh-faced lawyer Quinn Perkins really is. Nevertheless, in the world of high-level PR crisis management, few things are as they first appear, and the road to absurdity always continues around the next plot-twist hairpin.

That isn't too surprising considering Scandal is the creation of Shonda " Grey's Anatomy" Rhimes, a writer with a penchant for the moralising soap-opera crisis of the week, but, thankfully, this show is much more of an escapist, over-the-top joyride - and far less McPreachy - than her irritating medical so-called drama. Held together by superb cast performances - Kerry Washington ( Django Unchained) as Olivia Pope is the stand-out - and with writing far superior to that of the first season (despitethecramming oftoomanywordsintoeverypossiblesentence), Scandal feels more like the conspiracy thriller it always wanted to be.

 

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