What's on TV

Listings are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All timesEastern, check local listings.

SATURDY 3/20 NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS, 3-8 p.m.): The road to the Final Four. They call it the Sweet Sixteen, but it could be a minefield in the regional championship games.

Earthly Possessions (HBO, 8-9:45 p.m.): After a lively start this movie turns into a lightweight itinerary of a kidnapper and his hostage. Susan Sarandon plays a sheltered and unhappy housewife, who as the "accidental tourist" bonds with her abductor. Stephen Dorff plays the misfit, a self-described "victim of impulse." (TV-MA)

Independent Spirit Awards (Bravo, 9-11 p.m.): Billed as more hip and less predictable than the Oscars, the 14th annual awards show is a hot ticket. Among this year's nominees: Sean Penn ("Hurlyburly"), Christina Ricci ("The Opposite of Sex"), and Ally Sheedy ("High Art"). (TV-PG)

SUNDAY 3/21 71st Annual Academy Awards (ABC, 8-11:30 p.m.): Hollywood's biggest night begins with a new half-hour preshow hosted by Geena Davis. Joined by CNN anchor Jim Moret, Ms. Davis will interview arriving stars on the red carpet. The awards presentation, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, begins at 8:30 p.m. "Shakespeare in Love" and "Saving Private Ryan" lead with the most nominations: the former has 13 , the latter 11.

MONDAY 3/22 The Ultimate Guide: Crocodiles (Discovery, 9-10 p.m.): They resemble lizards but are closer to geese. They can leap six feet out of water and even gallop on dry ground. Discovery tells a more fascinating story about the beasts than Dundee ever did. (TV-G)

TUESDAY 3/23 Beyond Black and White: Affirmative Action (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): Fertile opinions from both sides of the affirmative- action divide make this a thought-provoking hour. Enough moments of comic relief keep the dialogue format at a lively tempo.

WEDNESDAY 3/24 It's Like, You Know ... (ABC, 8:30-9 p.m.): Never have so many tried so hard to do so little. And failed so miserably. This "Seinfeld" rip-off by "Seinfeld" veteran Peter Mehlman is meant to satirize the Los Angeles lifestyle. The first episode concerns a group of self-involved ne'er-do-wells watching a freeway chase on the telly. Twenty-two minutes in prime time can feel like an eternity, as this show aptly proves. (TV-PG, D)

The Norm Show (ABC, 9:30-10 p.m.): Former "Saturday Night Live" vet Norm McDonald returns to TV on a different network, in an earlier time slot. In the premire, McDonald plays a former hockey player who is sentenced to community service in social work. (TV-14)

THURSDAY 3/25 Mystery! 'The Wench Is Dead' (PBS, 9-10:15 p.m.): When Inspector Morse (John Thaw) is admitted to the hospital, he tries to take his mind off his illness by reading a book about the famous Oxford Canal Murder of 1859. Morse reopens the case and soon puts together his own theory. An involving and unusual "Mystery!" the clever plot is sure to capture your attention. Part 2 airs April 8 at the same time.

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