Confirmed cable cruisers probably have been captured in their ceaseless channel changing by the program "Beyond 2000." On the basic-cable Discovery Channel numerous times during the week (including 6 p.m. weekdays), the show is a fascinating exploration of new and future technology, oddly enhanced by the obviously Australian accents of its hosts.
Beginning tonight, however, an intriguing new domestic series of somewhat similar intent joins the Down Under import (which officials of the Maryland-based Discovery Channel say is one of its most popular programs). "Invention," hosted by NBC correspondent Lucky Severson, premieres on Discovery at 9:30 p.m. and repeats at 11:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
A co-production with the Smithsonian Institution, the series intends to show that the age of invention is hardly over, says executive producer Tim Cowling.
In tonight's premiere, for example, we meet Paul Moller, a California engineer who has invented a flying car that might just replace congested freeways with "skyways." (Shades of George Jetson!)
In contrast to "Beyond 2000," which is mostly captivated by technology, "Invention" looks more at the people behind their creations, such as author Gore Vidal. As a boy, he helped his inventive father test an earlier attempt at a flying car, the Pitcairn autogiro.
Also scheduled tonight is a look at the computer graphics behind the movie "The Abyss," which -- probably no coincidence -- is currently being seen on premium cable channels.
MORE CABLE CONNECTIONS:
* Fans of rocker Phil Collins have the opportunity tonight to catch the performer's final concert of his current North American tour with a live, pay-per-view telecast from New York's Madison Square Garden, beginning at 8 o'clock. Check your local carrier for availability.
* Tennis anyone? Local access Cable Channel 17 tonight premieres a six-week instructional course in the net game. "Denis on Tennis" begins at 8:30 on the Essex Community College's station, located at Channel 17 on Comcast Cablevision in Baltimore County.
It features local pro Denis Rende with Maurice Schwartzman a 77-year-old pro who taught some TV tennis in the early 1950s in Baltimore.The show repeats at 5:30 p.m. Sundays on Comcast Channel 15 on Tuesdays (4:30 p.m)and Thursdays (4 P.M.) Call 522-1404 for more information