TVB Pearl's latest documentaries, Secret Weapons and Code 3, are anything but a hike in the countryside. Instead, these American series represent tabloid TV at its finest - moderately informative and utterly shameless. Secret Weapons reads like an advertisement for the US military-industrial complex. Through 13 instalments, history's greatest innovations of mass destruction - or ''brilliant children of necessity'' as host John Palmer puts it - are showcased in nothing less than celebratory terms. The highlights are here: from the Gatling gun to the A-bomb to the radar-defying Stealth fighter. And the highest praise, of course, is reserved for Yankee ingenuity. Ever wondered why the Cold War was such a fun time, for example? Palmer says: ''Fearful of terrifyingly fast Soviet strides in jet design, the United States took a nerve-racking gamble with a plane that proved both a miserable flop and a blazing success . . . an attack plane with intercontinental bombing responsibilities.'' And what a solemn responsibility it is. ''Increasingly, even if other nations have the money to pursue new jet secrets, they certainly can't afford to produce the aircraft on America's hurry-up schedules. So, their jet technology threatens to be obsolescent before their new planes can even getinto the air. The American dollar - now there's a secret weapon.'' American jingoism aside, there is interesting footage in Secret Weapons. Vintage stock from World War II, for instance, illustrates how clever the Nazis were. And who can forget the night-bombing of Baghdad? It may not have succeeded entirely, but it was a hell of a show. CODE 3 is purportedly about ''the men and women who risk their lives every day to save the lives of others'', but is really a festival of morbid curiosity. Hosted by actor Gil Gerard, Code 3 tags along with paramedics, firemen and assorted rescue squads as they try to save the United States from itself. It is grand stuff, a chance for Republicans and members of the National Rifle Association to feel good about their country. In one particularly poignant segment, a teenage runaway has spent the night getting drunk on a California hillside and needs to be airlifted out in case she is suffering from hypothermia or dehydration. The camera scans the proceedings sympathetically, the helicopter draft casts her clothing slightly askew and Gerard, with a super-serious voice, congratulates all on a job well done. People on ledges also figure prominently. At the scene of a high-rise fire, an old woman balances precariously on the ledge outside her burning apartment. And as the firemen battle the blaze, almost knocking her off with jets of water, the crowd gathers below as if expecting a death plunge. Secret Weapons and Code 3 begin airing on TVB Pearl on Tuesday, between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm.