"Family Matters" makes better use of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" than the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam" did. The recording accompanies a glowing credit sequence that introduces the Winslows of Chicago and the actors and actresses who play them. The sitcom, which premieres at 8:30 tonight on Channel 7, is remarkable for one reason only: It achieves levels of warmth that are rare for such shows. It may not make everybody laugh, but a decent human being would have a hard time not smiling. JoMarie Payton-France, who played elevator operator Harriette Winslow on "Perfect Strangers," continues and expands the role in this series, set in the very crowded Winslow household. The inhabitants include her husband, Carl (played by the huggable Reginald VelJohnson, Bruce Willis's phone pal in "Die Hard"), their three children, her sister Rachel (ebullient Telma Hopkins) and Rachel's baby boy, Richie. Then comes grandma -- Carl's mother, played by Rosetta LeNoire, a woman whose opinions have had a lifetime to harden into policies. "I'm going to get you on a diet," she tells Carl upon moving in. It was just what he feared. To grounded teenage son Edward (Darius McCrary) she promises, "Your grandma is going to fight for your right to party." Fortunately, the show -- a perfect complement to ABC's wholesome Friday sitcom lineup -- is not just about arguments and conflicts; it's more about avoiding or resolving them, about getting along in close quarters. Mother Winslow is more than a holy terror, and Harriette also transcends the kind of stereotype one might expect. In the last scene, the family gathers around a piano to sing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," and director Joel Zwick pulls the camera back for a faraway perspective. It's a bird's-eye view, and a bull's-eye view. "Family Matters" gets you where you live. 'Baywatch' If there has to be a show about guys and gals hanging around at the beach -- well, of course, there doesn't. Society would survive. Life would go on. Even television would go on, and with a vengeance. But there is such a show, NBC's "Baywatch," and really, honestly, actually, it isn't all that bad. It's sort of like "Flipper" without the dolphin. David Hasselhoff, who gets a new series about as often as some people get a new car -- and the resemblance doesn't end there -- stars with hazy-faced Parker Stevenson as a pair of true-blue lifeguards who try to keep things shipshape in their little corner of the California coastline. The flotsam hits the shore at 8 tonight on Channel 4. Essentially what the series does is cruise the beach. And when one cruises a beach, one sees lots of cuties. They zip past in sprightly profusion. Unfortunately, there's also a plot: Two reckless rascals commit a hit-and-run while zooming around on their Jet-Skis. A young woman dies as a result. Our heroes track down the culprits with the help of young Hobie, played by Brandon Call, a believable kid who's probably the best actor on the show. Meanwhile, there's a complex subplot involving a young lifeguard who can't afford an apartment and so -- hang on to your hats, now -- spends a night in his lifeguard's tower!!! We wouldn't want to ruin the suspense by telling you what happens next!!! But suffice it to say -- oh, never mind. It's too bad they had to include a death as part of the plot; the show is light enough to float and should be content with just bobbing in the water. In the cruel winter months ahead, if it lasts that long, "Baywatch" can serve as a place to find sun, sand, blue water and, of course, cuties, cuties, cuties -- cuties by the score. Hasselhoff is personable, but Shawn Weatherly needs more to do as Jill Riley. All she does now is share a loft with Stevenson, a guy who always looks like he's going to lay some Scientology literature on you. There's as much eye candy for guy watchers as for girl watchers, incidentally; "Baywatch" is an equal opportunity undresser. 'Snoops' "Snoops?" How about, "Simps"? The new CBS comedy-drama series, in which Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid play married amateur detectives, is one of the lamest excuses even for a lame excuse that has squirmed its way onto television in many a Nielsen moon. The premiere, at 8 tonight on Channel 9, mixes a feeble mystery plot with lots of cloyingly playful banal banter between the stars, who are married in real life as well as in this unreal simulation. And what original stuff writer Sam Egan has come up with. Hubbie jokes with wifee about how many cosmetics she uses at night. She jokes with him about how bad he is at repairing appliances that are on the fritz. She wants to go to a party; he wants to stay home and watch the fights. Oh gosh, what next? They cook together, and she hems his trousers for him, and all the while, they're chittering and chattering. Calling the cops in the climactic scene, he says into the phone, "and tell 'em to haul hindquarters." Ugh. Even Donna Reed would get nauseous. One could say the overall casting of the show is refreshingly colorblind, but the Reids, who seem to have been hideously homogenized since the lovely and lamented "Frank's Place," come across as barely opaque. When did they get so icky? They've got soul like Zamfir has funk. As seems to be something of a trend lately, "Snoops" is set in Washington, and at least includes more location shooting than did "Top of the Hill," which was filmed mostly in British Columbia. At one point tonight, the Reids and John Karlen, as a cop, walk out of a courthouse. It's actually the Treasury Building. Tee hee. The best part of the premiere is the opening, with the voice of Ray Charles singing "Curiosity." Unfortunately, you'd need more curiosity than Jacques Cousteau and Carl Sagan put together to work up any interest in the show that follows. 'Free Spirit' Is "Free Spirit" the worst new show of the season? For convenience sake, let's say so, since the matter certainly doesn't deserve much thought. Virtually none has gone into "Free Spirit," a criminally inane comedy about a magical housekeeping witch that ABC previews tonight at 9:30 on Channel 7. Eventually, the show will air on Sundays. But not for long. Corinne Bohrer, sort of a Goldie Hawn who's gone through the wringer once or twice, plays Winnie Witch, who falls out of the ceiling on a wish from a little boy. Soon she is wreaking all kinds of mawkish mischief in the Haggarty household, which consists of a divorced lawyer and his three tedious tots. We can tell he's a lawyer because once he says, "The whole question is moot." A clap of thunder. A swirl of smoke. Winnie twirls into the room and magically blows up a lamp. The canned laughter gurgles merrily. Hey wait a minute -- what decade is this???