Some critics have scolded the WB's new father-son drama Everwood — which debuted last night following the season premiere of 7th Heaven — of pouring on the sugar a little too thick. Monday's mostly positive TV Guide Online review accused the series of being a "bit excessive and sentimental," but USA Today went a step further, saying it features "every sappy TV clich&#233" under the sun (read: ghosts, narrators, eccentric townsfolk — oh my!)

Not surprisingly, Everwood's leading man Treat Williams, who plays a big-time doc trying to reconnect with his son, scoffs at the namby-pamby charge. "I've seen some shows on TV that I think are impossible to watch," he tells TV Guide Online. "On the contrary, Everwood allows itself to be emotional — not sentimental.

"What saves it from being schmaltzy is that the rage and the anger [the father and son] have towards each other is very real," adds the real-life father of two. "This is an extremely imperfect relationship, and more real than I've seen."

Of course, Williams — who admits to being a bit maudlin himself — may not be the best judge of what qualifies as Mush-See TV. "I'm a big Frank Capra fan, so your definition of schmaltzy might be different than mine," he says. "I like It's a Wonderful Life. I like films that really celebrate the goodness in people. I hope that's what Everwood will do."