WHEN it comes to TV drama that gets things wrong, there's so-wrong-it's-only-right-to-watch-aghast-and-snicker and there's so-wrong-you'll-not-bother-watching-again-after-episode one. In

the latter category, this

week we had Metropolis (ITV), while in the former there was Fish (BBC1).

Metropolis is a glossy, vapid eight-part attempt to leech some of the cool, late-twentysomething yuppie life-blood out of This Life and Friends. It was undermined from the kick-off by being branded with clumsy ads promoting its sponsor, a new spray-on product called Refresh From Comfort.

And what is Refresh From Comfort? It's a fabric-freshener - Shake'n'Vac for clothes. Of course, as everyone knows, if it's the cool, late-twentysomething yuppie market you're chasing, the one sponsor you'd really need would be some brand of Semillon Chardonnay. Either that, or something truly cool and yuppie - like Curly Wurly Squirlies.

As it is, by having choosen to align their show with Refresh From Comfort, ITV's programmers might just as well have given it the tag-line: ''Metropolis! It sure stinks!'' It's certainly hard to watch without a clothes peg on your nose.

Peopled entirely by feistily photogenic stereotypes, Metro-polis offers a surly northern Noel Gallagher clone wearing an unkempt, highly obvious Britpop wig; a crinkly-haired comic Celtic fall guy who's kinda like the Welsh bloke in Notting Hill and also kinda like the Irish bloke in Cold Feet; a blonde Tory power-bint who vaguely evokes Jennifer Aniston; and a Patsy Kensit lookalike.

Most ludicrously, there's Milton Friedkin, Elderly Silver Fox, portrayed by James of that grey-haired veteran ilk. Foxy's a sonorous City big-wig who woodenly seduces the Patsy Kensit lookalike with brittle chat-up lines which strive so hard to sound elegant and sophisticated that they could either have been lifted straight from a porno film - ''Since yesterday, I have thought of nothing but you . . . show me where

to touch you'' - or yon legendarily silly ad for Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

With Metropolis, though, it's not so much ''Ambassador, you are spoiling us'' as ''Aw naw, you cannae be expecting us to spoil our nicht by sitting through this.'' However, Metropolis did have one fleeting bright spot: a cameo appearance by perennial Edinburgh Fringe musical comedy favourite Jonathan Kydd.

As a harassed A&E medic, the shaven-headed Kydders was unable to save Metropolis from dying a slow death, but I can give you advance warning that he'll soon be seen breathing new life into the sitcom genre as one of the stars of BBC1's forthcoming Chambers.

Set in a lawyers' office and co-starring the ever-wondrous John Bird and the increasingly unmissable Sarah Lancashire, Chambers has already

established itself as a Radio

4 hit. Chambers is intelligent, likeable, and pleasingly

Yes Minister-ish.

None of which can truthfully be said of this week's other law-derived newcomer, a drama series that's so-wrong-it's-only-right-to-watch-aghast-and-snicker. Neither fish nor fowl, Fish (BBC1) is a bizarre,

overly-complex TV hybrid which somewhat improbably blends elements of Morse, Cracker, and the Father Brown novels of GK Chesterton.

Like Morse, Fish's eponymous hero drives a stylish vintage car, a Citroen DS. Like Cracker, he spouts intuitive psychobabble. And like Father Brown, he provides guidance through life's moral maze. Thereafter, things get very complicated - although as Jonathan ''Fish'' Vishnevski, a quixotic defence barrister specialising in employment law, Paul McGann does his best to keep it simple and suitably piscine by evincing the facial expression of a constipated haddock.

For Fish has a most chaotic private life. He has a

problematic-but-cute six-year-old son, looked after by a couthy Mary McPoppins figure (Katy Murphy). Fish's wife is in Goa, finding herself, although she stays in touch with him - how else! - via a telephonic chess game which she conducts in a disguised voice.

MORE far-fetched still is Fish's chum, Trevor, a tow-headed anarcho-Zen Manchester City fan with a penchant for deconstructing popular film classics, and who runs a roadside greasy spoon. In court, Fish is prone to preventing his clients snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Out of court, Fish is prone to being wooed - wouldn't you just know it? - by the same female prosecutors who constitute his opposition. Fish: it's too artfully manicured. Fish: it rhymes with an earthy Scottish colloquialism for ''piffle''.

Nothing rhymes with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Celebrity Special (ITV), but it was synonymously piffling, too. A Bank Holiday charity one-off featuring the tabloids' top telly totty, Carol Vorderman and Kirsty Young, it provoked gutter-press outpourings of witless droolery and catty sneerage.

I'll opt for a more high-minded broadsheet tone in disingenuously marvelling at the fact that wur ain husky-voiced blonde bampot Kirsty knew enough geography to ignore the overwhelming majority of Monday's studio-audience and place the Gobi Desert in Asia, not Africa. But it's a bit much

when an alleged journalist

doesn't know that ''scrivener'' means ''writer''.

Anyway, that wasn't the big question to arise in the wake of Milly Celeb Spesh. The big question was: ''What in heck weird kinda poop is goin' down with Carol Vorderman?''

Once matronly and sedate, Countdown's thirtysomething maths brainbox is mutating strangely into an unseemly raunch-vixen. Wearing little more than a ribbed, black rubber dinner-table place-mat. Coming on all kittenish! With the tousled hair of a bedroom Olympian! And a crazed post-coital glaze to her fizzog!

Or is that merely my sad

sixtysomething's fantasy? Vordermaniacs: scriven me a note

if you agree.