MICHAEL Crichton's career started long before Jurassic Park and ER, back in the dark ages of 1971 with The Andromeda Strain (Pearl, 9.30pm). This is Outbreak on amphetamines, with some sense of allegory thrown in for good measure (man's inhumanity to man and all that, not that it is essential to one's enjoyment). The Andromeda Strain is a solemn and over-detailed virus movie, which could have done with half an hour or so slicing from it. Like Jurassic Park it barely deviates from the book, which must have made it easier for everyone concerned. The acting, from Arthur Hill, David Wayne and Paula Kelly, as scientists working frantically to neutralise an infected village, is cardboard and rarely needs to be anything else. Crichton's books - and hence the films that are made from them - have stories but no characters. In Jurassic Park, you may recall, the dinosaurs out-acted Laura Dern and Sam Neill. This is much the same, with everything depending not on the people, but on the thing - in this case a virus, which turns in the film's best performance by far. IN Short Time (World, 9.30pm) Dabney Coleman finds himself terminally ill and terminally short of good lines. This is a comedy, but you will have to listen hard for the laughs. Coleman plays a cop who finds out his days are numbered and decides to get himself killed on the job so his wife (Teri Garr) can pick up the hefty police insurance. Getting killed proves difficult, which is a shame because half way through you will be praying he would. There's the salvation of a number of good action sequences. Look out for the one with the helicopter. SUE Johnston, one of the stars of Bitter Harvest (World, 12.50am), was a regular in the British TV soap Brookside, about a suburban road in Liverpool which was subject to more than its fair share of calamities. Bitter Harvest, which is a highly emotional story and exciting political thriller, sees her grappling with a tinpot regime in the Dominican Republic. The cast has good credentials, also featuring Yul Vazquez who starred in The Mambo Kings and Josette Simon. DOCTOR Desmond Morris gets down to the nitty-gritty in part four of The Human Animal (Pearl, 8.30pm). This is the episode you have been waiting for, the one about sex. Dr Morris details the changes that occur in a human body during love-making and inflicts upon us his own ideas about the act, namely that sex is as much a craving for comfort as it is a means of baby-making. HIS many fans will be pleased to see Jerry Seinfeld back in a repeat showing of Seinfeld (Pearl, 12.50am), the comedy series that inexplicably took America by storm. America is very good at this sort of television; nothing radical, nothing too dangerous; just a vaguely amusing story and a number of jokes, some good, but by no means all. Jerry Seinfeld, a stand-up comedian in real life, plays himself. He's funnier on stage, but on television can reach the multitudes without straining himself. IT is not for me to judge a book by its cover, but Clueless, the new film starring sex kitten du jour Alicia Silverstone looks every bit as over-hyped as its star. Silverstone, who formerly appeared in pop music videos, has signed a lucrative studio contract and is just telling anyone who will listen how much promise her future holds. In Clueless she plays a teenager with rice pudding for brains, which cynics might say was a role written with her in mind. E! Features (STAR Plus, 11.30am) reveals more. FILMS on Cable Movie Channel: Caroline (7pm). Tense 'suspenser' about a woman, long presumed dead, returning to claim the family inheritance, though there are doubts about her identity. Emmy winner as Outstanding Drama with another Emmy going to director Joseph Sargent. Starring Stephanie Zimbalist.