Now here's a surprise. Who would have thought a Korean costume drama about healthy cooking and eating would become the daily staple for millions of Hong Kong viewers since January? I thought only hardcore 'K-drama' addicts like myself (I sat through 20 to 30 series last year) would have the patience and, indeed, stamina to endure some of the most testing tear-jerkers and melodramas in television history - which, let's face it, most Korean dramas are. But thanks to smart editing by TVB Jade, Jewel in the Palace, starring the increasinly popular Lee Young-ae and Ji Jin-hee, is relatively fast-moving and, most of all, refreshing. This is nothing like last year's depressing Stairway to Heaven. For a start, nobody's dying of a terminal illness, there are no deadly car crashes/accidents (this being the 16th century) and no loss of memory or love affairs between siblings unaware they are related. Based on the historical figure of Jang Geum, Jewel in the Palace is a poignant story of an ordinary and good-natured girl who becomes, against all odds, the first female royal court physician. The series is a mix of inner court politics - which local audiences have developed a taste for after last year's smash hit War and Beauty - and practical tips on healthy cooking and eating, which are based on genuine recipes. With a gripping storyline and some great acting thrown in for good measure, Jewel in the Palace is likely to sustain its popularity to the end. Talking about endings, ATV Home's The Legendary Policewoman, another successful costume drama to come out of Korea last year, is into its final week. If you have not been following this one, you have missed something great. Starring Ha Ji-won (who was recently in the romantic comedy Love, So Divine opposite Kwon Sang-woo), Lee Seo-jin and Kim Min-joon, this action-packed martial-art series features some stunning cinematography and spectacular special effects. Though a costume drama, the way it is filmed is slick and stylish. But let's face it, broadcast by TVB, the impact of Jewel in the Palace is guaranteed to be far greater than The Legendary Policewoman. From one hot TV show to another. The controversy that surrounded TVB's Minutes to Fame appears to have died down a little. It has finally dawned on people that, for what it's worth, this programme is just light entertainment. To all those who believe it promotes, to our teens, the message that money is more important than self-respect, puleeeeeze! Give me a break! If I wanted to learn about self-respect (or the lack of it), I would not be tuning into a prime-time TV show on a Saturday night. I would watch a live broadcast of Mr Tung meeting the press. Still, controversy is good before we all die of boredom. The real appeal of this TVB show is that it taps into what modern Hong Kong people love most: singing (a la karaoke/sing-in-the-shower style) and, of course, money. For every second you stay on that stage you pocket $100. Not bad going if you think you have to answer at least four questions correctly on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to make going on the show worthwhile. And you have got to, like, use your head and think. Minutes to Fame (right) is good entertainment and should be viewed as such. It is all about whether contestants are thick-skinned enough to be publicly ridiculed. So don't expect to find your next Jacky Cheung on this show. The contestants - aged from six to over 50 - make William Hung sound like Elvis. But hey, if they walk away with pockets full of money and the audience/viewers have a good laugh in the process, who really cares?