We open the WILL & GRACE revival series with a game of guess-the-celebrity. The titular characters are as in sync as they’ve ever were during the show’s original run. So much of the original magic of the series is alive in the revival, even if the characters are set in the present day.
The show’s original ending — that Will and Grace grew apart and then rediscovered each other many years later when their children met at college — has been cast aside entirely. It’s almost comical how easy that entire series finale is done away with. Instead, we’re back in familiar territory — Will and Grace are living together, Jack is across the hall, and Karen is still filthy rich.
The show doesn’t shy away from present day topics. Jack talks about finding love on Grindr and Karen name-drops her friend Melania Trump a dozen times in the premiere. There are times when these modern-day references feel a bit forced, even if they are necessary. And, frankly, it’s better that no one pretends the show is still stuck in the last decade.
Trump jokes aside, there’s still a lot of joy to be found in this show, back in the day and now. The TV landscape is full of intelligent comedies these days, but WILL & GRACE is and always will be a proper sitcom. And that’s a good thing, because the show lives and dies on the strength of its four main stars and their interactions with one another. Fortunately, that old cast magic is still there and each actor is still playing to their strengths. Grace is still a helpless, hilarious designer who finds herself in over her head. Will tries hard to be the responsible one, to amusing results. Jack is his usual, slap-stick, fame-seeking self. And Karen….Karen is simply a national treasure.
If you loved the original WILL & GRACE you should tune in because you will not be disappointed. The premiere isn’t the strongest of the three episodes made available to critics, but by the time next week rolls around you won’t be disappointed with this show.
WILL & GRACE premieres Thursday, September 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.