October 24, 2005 12:00 PM

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

As a doctor would say, first the good news…Practice is constructed with great felicity. The plot is a clever farcical setup. It’s a family of doctors (including one therapist). The parents are recently divorced, the father’s already with a younger, dumber girlfriend, and the youngest son just got dumped. They all have advanced certificates in repartee, the light stinging kind that makes for a classic sitcom. They know how to prick with a syringe, but they’re too kind to draw blood. And the cast couldn’t have been picked with a finer hand: Stockard Channing as the mother? Jennifer Tilly as the girlfriend? They can get laughs as predictably as a tin sheet produces thunder.

Now the bad…In the first few episodes, nothing’s happening. No pulse. Doctor, what’s wrong? That’s the thing about a sick sitcom. We don’t have a sure diagnostic tool.


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