Movies take a back seat

Teri Fitsell

PRIME programmes tonight are not the movies - which seem to have hit the mid-January crisis early - but current affairs shows and documentaries, which are striving to maintain audience interest.

EYE on Hongkong (Pearl 7.35pm) features an interview with former Pearl personality Keith Kwan. He's taking part in the Fringe Festival in the show Broadway Express, which features numbers from various American musicals.

Eve Lam pays a visit to the fun fair at Victoria Park, while Kate Ledger looks at the work of local designers on display in Hongkong Fashion Week.

John Dykes goes to the movies to see Tim Robbins (Bull Durham) in the Hollywood satire The Player. He also reviews The Conquest of Paradise, the reportedly over-long, over-blown film about Christopher Columbus starring le formidable Gerard Depardieu (Green Card).

There's also a report on chocolate fondue . . . enthralling.

WILD South (World 8.30pm) is an award-winning documentary series which focuses on the natural wonders of the Southern Hemisphere. The opening episode is entitled Reef Fish and examines the decline of reef life such as crayfish and abalone. FINANCIAL analysts take note: 20/20 (Pearl 8.05pm) asks the oft-considered question: Does having an expert advise you on investing in the stock market actually make any difference, or could you do just as well/ badly on your own? The second half of the show visits a lesbian community in Massachusetts and talks to its members about their experiences of discrimination.

THE China Lake Murders (Pearl 9.45pm, Original Running Time 100 mins) is a passable made-for-TV thriller about a psycho cop on vacation and a small town sheriff who befriends him only to find he may be a murderer.

Tom Skerritt plays the sheriff investigating a series of murders on the highways around his desert town. Michael Parks is the crazed cop, whom Skerritt arrests for being drunk, then winds up asking to help on the murder investigation.

CHRISTMAS seems long gone, yet the turkey lingers on in the form of Heat (World 9.30pm, ORT 101 mins). Burt Reynolds stars as a former movie star turned Las Vegas macho man in this gloomy little number.

Peter MacNicol is the hot-blooded young rogue who becomes his protege. Reynolds is out for revenge, but it's unlikely anyone will stay with this long enough to find out why. THIRTYSOMETHING (World 12.15am) starts a repeat run tonight. This now defunct series won several awards in its time, which is surprising considering how irritating it is and how pretentious the characters are.

DANGEROUS Curves (Pearl 8.35pm) is turning out to be truly offensive. It's a series about two female ex-cops who have gone undercover in the Personal Touch Agency.

And it's straight from the school of thought that says if you've got a couple of women in short skirts, why bother with anything else? Like a script for instance, or three-dimensional characters, or even a semblance of acting ability.

The series bears more than a passing resemblance to the 70s hit Charlie's Angels. Haven't attitudes progressed since then?