I must be the only one who didn't absolutely love the pilot; in fact, it is the only installment I don't even own, since I only had it on VHS taped from BRAVO, whereas the rest I have on DVD.
Mood is right but pace seems off, or perhaps the town's oddness is pointed up a bit much compared to the rest of the series.
Except for the 'james on road,' 'nadine/mike' and 'lil nicky' stuff, I don't think there are any plot threads in the whole series that I don't like to at least some degree. I don't have a problem with the second half of season 2, because the Annie stuff and the Earle stuff really work well for me.
The little speculation I have read about what was intended for season 3 suggests I would have liked that even more (assuming Lynch hadn't assumed a more hands-on position, which is possible, considering how much he messed with the last episode after being away for awhile.)
All things considered, CARNIVALE and TWIN PEAKS both could have had longer runs, but I am pretty damned happy with what we got from both (I find each equally rewatchable, too.) For those RonMooreers out there, he was a major player on CARNIVALE's first season.