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Winter 2006 Critics Poll: Critics: ABC Improves Over Rivals, Shows it’s No Fluke

Jan 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

For the third Critics Poll in a row, ABC was voted the most improved network while NBC-despite praise for “My Name Is Earl”-was deemed the least improved.

Critics cited the higher quality of this season’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Boston Legal,” along with the arrival of newcomers “Commander in Chief,” “Invasion” and last summer’s “Dancing With the Stars,” as factors in sustaining ABC’s popular and critical rebirth.

“Everybody thought ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ were flukes, but it turns out they were only the beginning,'” wrote Terry Morrow of The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel.

FX was a runner-up, despite the cancellation of its new drama “Over There” and one of its debut comedies, “Starved.”

“Every one of [FX’s] comedies and dramas has been stunningly original, whether viewers liked them or not,” wrote Glenn Garvin of The Miami Herald.

David Kronke of the Daily News of Los Angeles had a similar thought about FX: “Not everything works, but they’re uncorking genuinely original, provocative programming on a consistent basis.”

Though NBC was listed as least improved, the network managed to find some ardent defenders-something the network lacked in the past two polls.

“You might say that NBC improved the most because it finally has programmed a show that has some buzz and viewers, and might have a chance to plug the leak on Thursdays,” wrote Jonathan Storm of the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring to “My Name Is Earl.”

Added Chuck Barney of the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times: “In giving us ‘Earl’ and ‘The Office,’ NBC has given us its funniest one-two punch in years.”

But most critics agreed with Victor Balta of The Herald of Everett, Wash. “‘Earl’ and ‘The Office’ are great, but they aren’t enough to make up for the rest of the network’s follies,” he wrote.

Though “Rome” landed in the top 10, longtime critical favorite HBO received uncharacteristically mixed reviews.

“HBO has let us down,” Mr. Morrow wrote. “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ has run its course. New shows like ‘Extras’ and ‘Rome’ were not worthy successors to sturdy shows like ‘Six Feet Under’ or ‘Entourage.'”