Friday, October 1, 2004
Rest assured, the new British drama "Rockface" (6 p.m., BBC America) is not about heavy metal artists applying their makeup. It's a smart, good-looking drama with an attractive cast and breathtaking scenery. Set in the fictitious town of Glentannoch in the Scottish Highlands, "Rockface" follows a mountain rescue crew as they save amateur hikers and professional mountain climbers from dumb mistakes and nature's calamities. And along the way, we can follow the soap opera of the crew's lives.
But unlike, say, "The Mountain"-- the WB series that places emphasis on cheekbones, moody characters and MTV-influenced musical gimmickry -- "Rockface" puts tense scenes of high-altitude rescues in the foreground where they belong. The hourlong pilot is fraught with nail-biting moments and pathos, as the overworked team saves an injured child, a lost and bewildered diabetic, an experienced hiker suffering from internal injuries and one of their own team who loses some epidermis while showing off for an attractive novice.
The most challenging, and potentially off-putting. aspects of "Rockface" are some of the thick accents that may be a wee bit incomprehensible to some. Next to a good bottle of single malt, "Rockface" just may be my favorite Scotch import.
Tonight's other highlights
• Stacy London and Clinton Kelly are hosts of "What Not to Wear" (8 p.m., TLC), entering its third season in a new time slot.
• A medical cover-up may land a boxer a fatal knockout on "dr. vegas" (9 p.m., CBS).
• A rare disease afflicts young residents of a small town on "Medical Investigation" (9 p.m., NBC).
• Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): A profile of Yusaf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens); an interview with Sharon Bush.
Richard Gere and Jason Randal appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno greets Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Hawk and Interpol on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Wanda Sykes appears on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC).