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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV previews

Author: Michael Idato
Date: 25/02/2002
Words: 582
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 16

Seven, 10.30pm

UP When TV shows spin-off, continuity becomes a dangerous game as the producers of Dallas discovered when they decided to bring Bobby Ewing back from the dead. Over in the spin-off series Knots Landing, his death had triggered a breakdown in brother Gary, and kicked a half-dozen other side-stories into top gear.

To suggest to the good people of Knots Landing that they had spent a year in Pam Ewing's dream was a little hard to bear, so the shows simply parted ways and stuck to their respective and inconsistent stories.

The point? It's refreshing to see stronger continuity between Angel and its parent show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

If you recall, Buffy died in last year's finale, and the impact on Angel is considerable: Buffy was the love of his (very long) life and he is having a difficult time grappling with the loss.

David Boreanaz is a solid actor, and the show, despite its prosthetic-heavy storylines, is actually a lot of fun. Enjoy it, but don't ask too many questions. The answers usually make you roll your eyes.

Reality Bites: DIY Law

ABC, 8pm

UP Challenging and informative, if slightly frustrating in parts, this program offers a fly-on-the-wall look at the normally unbreachable inner sanctum of the family court system, where litigants, burdened by trims to the budget of the public legal system, are increasingly appearing without legal representation.

The shift in legal emphasis makes the job of the judge that much harder, dependent now on drawing legal conclusions from some very un-legal arguments, usually from emotional participants. The minefield becomes that much more dangerous when you consider the judge cannot be seen to prejudice one side against the other, and yet when a nervous and uncertain single mother is pleading for custody of her daughter against a skilled barrister, the judge is left with little option but to lend a guiding hand, despite the (very correct) objection of the barrister.

The program format is clean, but privacy laws that protect the family court system leave many of the participants reduced to dislocated shoulders, pairs of legs and other disembodied angles. It's a strange way to film, but it does avoid unnecessary pixilation.

Australian Temptation Island

Seven, 9.30pm

DOWN Predictable, and fundamentally mean. Four couples who were clearly too stupid to watch the UK and US editions of the program, both of which have screened on Seven, or were simply lured by the promise of a free holiday, are dispatched to a tropical island where their relationships will be tested to see if they can withstand the affections of a busload of gorgeous people whose single purpose is to seduce them into betrayal.

The seducers all have very meaningful occupations business analysts, radio DJs and former Penthouse ``Pets" which seem to qualify them well for the task that lies ahead. But in the end, watching Cassie and Nick, Kynan and Liana, Alana and Warren and Clinton and Piaf walk into this trap set by reality TV isn't fun.

The concept of the show is unpleasant, unlike other formats such as Survivor, which is genuinely competitive and at times even aspirational, and straighter reality formats like Sylvania Waters, which are merely observational.

``No, you can have your island," says one participant, in a sneak preview of a later episode, when asked if he would return. They can have their show as well.

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