There's a tendency in the criticism business towards extreme opinions. A new show is either a potential masterpiece or a steaming pile of something. A show that critics were falling over each other to praise in year one is routinely trashed in year three. Howie Mandel is history's worst monster. That sort of thing.
"Desperate Housewives" lived and died with that hyperbole in its first two seasons. Season one: It's new! It's different! It's funny! It's mysterious! We love you, Marc Cherry! Season two: Who are these new neighbors, the Applewhites, and why should we care? Why don't we ever see the four women together? I'm bored! Damn you, Marc Cherry!
The truth, as it usually is in these situations, lies somewhere in the middle. "Housewives" was neither as brilliant as everyone insisted in year one, nor as horrid as everyone claimed in year two. Season two did have certain obvious flaws (again, the Applewhites and the lack of scenes featuring all four leads), but its biggest problem is what it didn't -- what it couldn't -- have:Novelty.
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