Playing on the organ

HERE we are, a few weeks into the battle between E.R. (Pearl, 8.30pm) and Chicago Hope (World, Monday evenings) and I can't help but think Chicago Hope is better. Its chief attraction is that its scriptwriters have spared us all that pseudo doc-speak which grates so much in E.R. Its chief handicap is that it's a little short on plots.

But so is E.R. In this evening's episode Dr Mark Greene is looking for a donor heart. He was looking for a donor heart last week and probably will be next week. In Chicago Hope on Monday they had a donor heart, but dropped it. You can't be too careful with vital organs, a fact that both programmes are exploiting to the full.

The man who wants the heart is Alan Rosenberg (L.A. Law ). He will not survive the night with the one he has got, a situation that prompts Dr Greene to contemplate his own life, his family, his general good fortune, death and other questions from Socrates for Teenagers.

This sermonising is common to both E.R. and Chicago Hope. We are, after all, dealing with life and death here, but not as your average doctor would know it.

If doctors are in danger of being made to look like film stars, lawyers are in danger of being made to look like worthwhile human beings. L.A. Law (World, 12.40am) is to blame for this. The O.J. Simpson trial, if you have cable, reveals the truth and nothing but the truth. Lawyers are badly organised and often resort to mumbling into their breast pockets when they are stuck for the next question.

In this episode of L.A. Law, called Wine Knot, a brother in the wine business (hence the smart-arse title) sues his brother for selling bad vintages under the family name. Gwen steps in to handle a divorce case when Kelsey (Jill Eikenberry) is called away to search for her missing husband.

THE all-new Pearl Movie Watch (Pearl, 7.20pm) is hosted by Gloria Wu and John Dykes, which reminds me of The Nanny (Pearl, 6.55pm), an American comedy which this evening features guest appearances from Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. Shari is the pretty one on the left; Lamb Chop is the one she operates with her hand.

FROM start to finish Worth Winning (Pearl, 9.30pm) has the word 'turkey' stamped across its rump. Madelaine Stowe co-stars in it, but really should have known better. Her best excuse is that this was made before she hit the big time, when she still had to worry about how to pay her credit card bills.

Mark Harmon makes a complete embarrassment of himself as a television weatherman who thinks he is the ultimate testosterone-producing machine. He bets a friend - it is incredible that he has any - that he can dupe three women into marrying him. Worth Winning ? Worth missing.

THE 1988 thriller Accidents (World, 9.30pm) is Australian, which these days would be enough to guarantee it theatrical release. And it's not bad, for a film about brain surgery, medical devices, evil doctors and shifty terrorists. Suspend disbelief successfully and you might find yourself enjoying it. Edward Albert, Leigh Taylor-Young and John Cypher contribute good performances.

FILMS on Cable Movie Channel: Island Of Fire (11.00am). All the Hong Kong big guns are out for this one - Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Tony Leung and Sammo Hung. The film itself is the usual amalgam of violence, kung-fu and ridiculously predictable storyline, about an ex-con who sets out to destroy the prison officer responsible for the death of some of his inmate friends.

Dancers (7.00pm). Trite and inexplicably bad film about a ballet star/lothario (played by real-life ballet star/lothario Mikhail Baryshnikov) who's rehearsing a screen version of Giselle and becomes infatuated with an innocent young dancer. A real waste of time.

The Setting Sun (9.00pm). The life and times of Shanghai tycoon Tu Yue-shing (Yuen Biao), who joined the war of resistance against the Japanese army.