March 11, 2002 12:00 PM

UPN (Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Three guys in their 20s–aspiring music critic Alex (Will Friedle from Boy Meets World), cheeky layabout Todd (Sean Murray) and geeky dental assistant Wiseman (Joshua Ackerman)–share a Manhattan loft, look for chicks, etc. Small wonder that I approached this sitcom (premiering March 5) with low expectations, but The Random Years managed to exceed them. Well, slightly.

Friedle is likable and Murray delivers the wisecracks with lazy aplomb. Natalia Cigliuti should freshen up the frat-house atmosphere as Casey, the attractive new neighbor. On the down side, Ackerman pushes his oddball caricature too hard. If Wiseman’s hair gets any bigger, he may morph into Seinfeld‘s Kramer.

Bottom Line: Just gets by

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