Bad timing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 July, 1998, 12:00am

Tonight is the final chance to see Eve Lam and Ong Chin Huat strut their stuff on HK Highlife (World, 8pm) with some of the few remaining people left in Hong Kong with money to burn.

My major criticism of this series, from day one, has been its extraordinarily poor timing. The Hong Kong of endless charity balls, gangs of tai-tais stripping The Landmark bare of designer dresses, and playboys frittering it away on watches, racing cars and the afore-mentioned tai-tais seems curiously dated in the midst of the worst recession Hong Kong has known.

Worse, it feels like a painful reminder of the tasteless greed that got us into this mess in the first place.

Last week, for the first time, one of the contributors made reference to the fact that persuading people to buy expensive, non-essential products is not as easy as it used to be.

Claudia Shaw D'Auriol Chanel, who seemed much too sensible to be that good-looking, brought the subject up - yet instead of pursuing this potentially interesting issue, the interviewer moved swiftly on to what it was like to be so pretty.

The trouble is that however hard the producers have tried to pretend that Hong Kong's high society is still flourishing the way it did a year ago, it is easy enough to spot the changes. Why else are all the party scenes filmed at the same party? Week after week we see the same handful of socialites in the same frocks, under the same peculiar purple and green lights, offering us advice on how to behave at parties. The trick, by the way, is to always look at the person you are talking to, have a name card ready at all times, try and be on time, and do not forget to send a thank-you note afterwards.

Timecop (Pearl, 8.30pm) is a spin-off from the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, which in turn was a spin-off from a cartoon strip.

The premise of the show is simple: the year is 2007, and time travel has been invented but can only be used for good things such as popping back to say goodbye to relatives before they die, not bad things like changing the outcome of World War II.

So the federal authorities have special agents to check that no one is planning anything like that, and who are sent back in time to make sure they do not. The potential for such a series is enormous and the paradoxes inherent in the whole thing quite mind-boggling.

In this evening's opener, our hero Logan (T W King) is sent back to Victorian London to find out who is pretending to be Jack the Ripper.

But, hang on, was not the whole point about Jack the Ripper that no one knew who he was, even then? So how does the Time Enforcement Commission know which is the real and which the fake one? And what difference does it make to world history anyway?