'L.A. Law' has new episode tonight

Wow! There's finally some new stuff on The Weekend Watch!

THE SWEEPS SCENE -- With tonight's early beginning of the important May ratings sweeps period, series that have been stuck in repeats (sometimes from previous seasons) finally offer new fare. To cite just one example, perhaps the most interesting tonight is NBC's "L.A. Law," which promises to resolve the future of the law firm of McKenzie and Brackman. If you haven't been paying attention, Kuzak (Harry Hamlin) is leading a revolt to persuade other partners, including Grace (Susan Dey) to form a new firm.


A SERIES PREMIERE -- The sweeps timing is hardly coincidental to the premiere tomorrow of the ABC series "Dinosaurs" (at 8:30 p.m., Channel 13, and reviewed elsewhere today). The show is set in the year 60-million B.C., with live-action dinosaurs from the special effects shop of the late Jim Henson and, believe it or not, a family sitcom plot.

A SERIOUS SPECIAL -- Also on Friday, do you doubt the sweeps have something to do with an NBC special on the troubles of former child stars of TV series? It's "Lost Youth" (at 8 p.m., Channel 2), with Bryant Gumbel and Katherine Couric, who just happen to be co-hosts of "Today," which just happens to have slipped behind "Good Morning America" in the ratings. The thinking seems to be if you like them at night, you'll try them at breakfast.


A WELCOME REPEAT -- It is a rerun, but you can't argue with the sentiment (nor the ratings sensitivity) behind showing it again. It is Saturday's edition of "Empty Nest" (at 10 p.m., Channel 2), the one from February in which Danny Thomas guest stars as a cranky physician. It was to be his last TV appearance, for Thomas died just days after the episode aired.

A WEE HOURS REPEAT -- The arrival of the baseball season is once again affecting non-fans, as Orioles games bump network fare from Channel 2. Lovers of "Matlock," for instance, will find this week's pre-empted episode airing for their VCR taping purposes at 1:30 a.m. Sunday (that is, after midnight Saturday).

THE MOVIE MARQUEE -- In the history of American movie-making, one film that spawned a series of sequels has come to represent a whole genre: the witty romantic comedy. It is "The Thin Man," of course, from 1934 with William Powell and Myrna Loy. And Maryland Public Television is airing it at 10:30 p.m. tomorrow (channels 22 and 67).

THE SPORTS SCENE -- The National Basketball Association is into first-round play of its season-ending playoffs, and NBC has the weekend action, at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (On cable, the TNT service also has weekday coverage beginning at 8 p.m. tonight.) Also of interest is a special Sunday edition of "ABC's Wide World of Sports" (at 4 p.m., Channel 13), celebrating the original sports anthology show's 30th anniversary. Jim McKay and Frank Gifford are the hosts.