Picks and Pans Review: Will & Grace

updated 09/28/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/28/1998 01:00AM

NBC (Mondays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

We swore we wouldn't forgive the title characters in this series for starting the Sept. 21 premiere with a chat about NBC's ER. Gratuitous plugola should not go unpunished. But we must admit they're a likable pair. Will (Eric McCormack) is a gay lawyer. Grace (Debra Messing, Prey) is a straight interior designer. Not only are they best friends and soulmates, they're also roommates by the end of the second episode. (Grace quits her ex-lover's Manhattan apartment. Will, also unattached after a breakup, can't bear to see her move to the wilds of Brooklyn.... Why go on? It's a sitcom.) McCormack and Messing convey the warmth and fun in their characters' relationship, and Sean Hayes (Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss) is razor sharp as Will's snit-prone friend Jack. But the show needs to guard against the cutesies (twice already we've heard Will say, "Good night, Gracie") and allow both principals to do more than talk about their sex lives.

Bottom Line: A comedy you can live with

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