R.E.M. on 'SNL': reason to lose sleep

It looks like the best offering on TV tonight is "Saturday Night Live" -- and how long has it been since that happened? It's partly because R.E.M. is on "SNL," and partly because it's such a slow night.

* "Sweet Justice" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 2) -- NBC is doing everything it can to dress up this two-hour episode of "Sweet Justice." It's given it a new title -- "Love Kills" -- a lot of promotion, and then quickly referring to it as a "special 'Sweet Justice' movie." A series episode, by any other name, is just that, even during the November sweeps. NBC.


* "The Shaggy Dog" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 13) -- I don't get it. There's no point I can see in remaking a bad movie, and not much more point to remaking a good one. For me, the "old" version of "The Shaggy Dog," with Tommy Kirk as the kid-turned-canine and Fred MacMurray as the dogged dad, was just fine. But that was 1959. For 1994, we have an official Disney TV remake, starring Scott Weinger of "Full House" and Ed Begley Jr. in the MacMurray role. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think the new "Dog" has the old tricks -- though, predictably, the "morphing" scenes are better. ABC.

* "Ice Wars: The U.S.A. vs. the World" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Part 2 of 2. Like the first leg of this competition, tonight's "Ice Wars" is broadcast live. The idea is that the U.S. skaters compete as a team against a "dream team" from other countries. The best reason to watch is it's still, uh, interesting to watch Nancy Kerrigan. After making a few mistakes in her solo program last Wednesday, Ms. Kerrigan sat sulking at her bench, looked into the CBS camera and sneered something along the lines of, "You probably loved that." What's your next move, Nancy? Going to Disney World? CBS.


* "The Commish" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- The Commish tTC Michael Chiklis) is always committed when he's working on a case, but this time it's literal: He gets himself institutionalized at a mental hospital to investigate a possible murder there. There's no Jack Nicholson there, but there is Barbara Mandrell, in a less sympathetic role than usual. ABC.

* "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Channel 2) -- Sarah Jessica Parker is host. R.E.M. performs. Good enough for me. NBC.


* "Whitney Houston: Concert for a New South Africa" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., HBO) -- From Johannesburg, it's Ms. Houston in concert, doing her pop standards as well as gospel songs backed by a South African choir.

* "Brett Butler: Sold Out" (9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., SHO) -- If you like Brett Butler on "Grace Under Fire," you'll love her here: She acts twice as smart, three times as funny and at least five times as uninhibited.