Having now seen all 13 episodes in high quality, I've reevaluated my opinion of the show. I feel the way many nowadays do: it needed work, but it was hardly a disaster.
True, the premise could've been better constructed, and some of the roles given stronger personalities, but there was plenty of room to work with what they had. The last four episodes shot were considerably stronger than many that preceded them, and that growth would've likely continued.
I see a show that had a good heart and was genuinely eager to please. It may not have consistently succeeded, but it did often enough to bestow it with significant charm. For the first time, I was genuinely disappointed there weren't more episodes to enjoy. I'm already looking forward to re-watching them all.
The series can only be considered lacking compared to Ball's past TV outings (although personally, I think the weakest LWL episodes are still stronger than a number of Here's Lucy offerings). Since 1986, there have been countless sitcoms that have come and gone which were genuinely lousy, far worse than anything this show provided, and had there been more "bad" shows to compare it to at the time, people might've reacted differently. LWL may have been considered a dud when newly minted, but I think time has been kind to it, and I truly feel it deserved more of a chance (and a better time slot).
At least we'll always have these 13 as the cherry on top of her preceding episodes.