Television fans across America are in mourning this week because the last episode of Seinfeld has finally been and gone, and the rest of us are surely wondering: why all the fuss? Funny but not that funny, definitely not US$5million-an-episode funny. The only television sitcom whose success is even more bewildering is Home Improvement (Pearl, 6.50pm). Tim Allen gets US$1.25 million (HK$9.7 million) a show to star as Tim Taylor, who has his own DIY show on local TV called Tooltime, and more importantly, a long-suffering wife and three teenage sons. The show developed from a set Allen used to do in his previous incarnation as a stand up comedian, called Men are Pigs which focused on men's ludicrous but overwhelming passion for tools. The joke is that a lot of the things Tim tries to do on Tooltime go wrong, combined with the usual domestic stuff. In tonight's episode for example, Tim spends a lot of time trying to show how to light a barbecue grill quickly, and of course ends up taking much longer than he would using conventional methods. And off set, as it were, he takes his family and friends on a punishing trip to the countryside, promising to make a major announcement once they get there. From the beginning, Home Improvement has been one of the top rated shows on television. And Allen has also become a best selling author, and starred in two enormously successful films, as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, and a grumpy father in The Santa Clause. All this would have been enough to make him tabloid fodder anyway, but Allen has also somehow found time to maintain a serious drinking habit, and in earlier years he served three years for possessing and dealing in narcotics. The very future of Home Improvement is in jeopardy because Allen has only just been released from court-ordered rehabilitation in Michigan, after a drink-driving conviction last year. He had already announced in January that he would take time off from the series for the 1998-99 season, but since then, it appears he has decided the holiday from the show will be a permanent one. CNN has teamed up with Asiaweek this week to do a televisual version of the magazine's annual Asia Power 50 feature (CNN, 9.30pm). Each year, Asiaweek selects 50 of the most influential Asians and lists them in order of importance. In years gone by, Asia has been a booming, triumphant place, full of self-congratulatory businessmen and we-know-best leaders. This year, things are looking very different, and at the time of writing, in Indonesia they look cataclysmic. So it will be interesting to see if the criteria for inclusion will have changed much. Will survival technique count over devotion to Asian values?