I've always loved both TLS and HL. The only complaint I can think of is the characters lacked real development (outside of Lucy, Vivian, and Gale), and the overall cohesiveness from episode to episode.
IMO, what's missing from TLS and HL wasn't Desi leaving in the first season, or Madelyn and Bob leaving in season three (though they were obviously integral). I think the major missing component was Jess Oppenheimer. Madelyn and the three Bobs wrote the majority of the ILL scripts, but I think the magic was in Jess tightening up the scripts, making them each cohesive, and his hand in guiding the overall direction of the show each season.
The story of the Ricardos and the Mertzes progressed and evolved each season (whether that be because the writers decided to so, or they had to accommodate a pregnant Lucille Ball). You grew to love and care about the characters outside of Lucy's genius as a performer. You can see the difference in the overall quality of the shows after he left.
Having said that, I usually prefer to watch Lucy in TLS over the other shows (though I LOVE watching Lucille Ball in just about anything lol). Not just because I've see every ILL episode many times before, but because Lucy was literally BRILLIANT in TLS (IMO). Even more so than she was on ILL because she had perfected the character. She never slacked in her work. Some performers grow tired of performing the same character and you really see it after a number of years, but you never got the sense with Lucille Ball. ILL had better scripts, but as far as watching the master perform.. TLS is where it's at, IMO.
That brilliance could still be seen on HL too... though Lucy was fighting against scripts that weren't up always up to par. She's always incredible to watch.
Just my two cents. lol