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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV previews

Author: Sacha Molitorisz
Date: 02/02/2004
Words: 656
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 18

ABC, 8.30pm

This Scottish cop drama is not afraid to try a few risky manoeuvres. Or even risque manoeuvres. The opening scenes of tonight's episode, A Fistful of Chips, are distinctly soft-porn, as two women steam up the lens in a spa.

Though not explicit, the shots are deliberately erotic, lingering on rivulets of sweat and moans of pleasure. But don't get too excited, because one of Taggart's strengths is its ability to surprise, often by effecting a dramatic change in mood.

The first such change arrives tonight in the form of a corpse from the heavens. Hallelujah, it's raining men! Or women, more accurately. And here's something else: the cadaver's husband hardly flinches when he learns of his partner's demise. Identifying her body at the morgue, he is colder and more motionless than she.

Next we meet a lorry driver who fancies himself as a bit of a cowboy. Driving a van full of computer chips (hence the episode's cowboy-and-western-inspired title), he wants to organise an inside job.

As the body count rises, a diverting tale of espionage and brutality unfolds.

Home and Away

Seven, 7pm

For regular viewers, tonight's instalment of this Palm Beach/Summer Bay stayer will be keenly anticipated. Most notably, two weddings are looming. This is no surprise, given weddings are such a soapie staple: whether they're fairytale (Kylie and Jason on Neighbours) or nightmare (Liza Minnelli and David Gest in real life). Even so, plotting two concurrently is ambitious.

Eager to do the Brady Bunch thing, Rhys (Michael Beckley ) and Beth (Clarissa House ) hit upon the idea of a surprise ceremony. So they round up their clans on a boat skippered by Alf (``Flamin' galahs! Someone's tied me shoelaces in a reef knot!") and embark, ostensibly, on a picnic. But, after puttering into Broken Bay a name that can't bode well for their future together they arrive at an idyllic strand to exchange vows.

Unfortunately, Kirsty (Christie Hayes ) is missing. Forced to choose between her family and her beau (Sam Atwell ), she's opting to elope.

Meanwhile, just like Kirsty and her dad, Brodie (Susie Rugg ) and Hayley (Rebecca Cartwright ) are feuding in their case, it's about Alex. Naturally, it ends in tears, as does the episode itself, which comes to a sudden stop with a nasty accident another soapie staple.

Granted, in soap opera, the plot must move quickly: wedding must follow tantrum must follow death, etc. The problem is, simply piling one melodrama on top of another will not of itself make for good TV. The characters need to be explored, too. Otherwise the result will be superficial.

Tonight, the plot is pacy, but unengaging. What's more, the scenery is pretty but the performances and dialogue are patchy. And the music is painful.

For diehard fans only.

Two Guys and a Girl

Ten, 8pm

Last week, guest star Fred Willard provided a sparkling highlight to an already solid episode. Tonight, no such luck.

In And a tattoo, Berg and Sharon are eager to prise details from Pete about his new girlfriend, but Pete is resolutely reluctant. As he explains, every time he introduces a date to his two flatmates, they uncover a flaw which he subsequently finds impossible to ignore.

So this time he will keep his new flame to himself, in the hope she will not be prematurely extinguished.

The complication comes when Berg realises he has already made the acquaintance of Pete's new squeeze and rather intimately.


SBS, 8.30pm

Episode three of this 12-part BBC drama set in Brixton is as fast and involving as a good game of indoor soccer. In the opening minutes, you'll witness arguments in the boudoir, assault on the sportsfield and the accidental miscue of a love song dedication pursuant to a naughty bit of extramarital hanky-panky.

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