This show was COMPLETELY underappreciated in its time. The show started strong, but too many people were looking for it to be exactly like Friends. By its very nature, it could not be. When the show finally found its middle ground, it had a solid 8 million viewers, give or take from week to week. But the Powers That Be weren't satisfied with this, expecting it to have been higher. When they pulled the show from the line up for retooling, it was off the air for a long time. It lost momentum, and when it came back it was too late. The show had been fatally wounded. It then averaged 4 million, was pulled from the line up again, and then sank to 2 million. The show was cancelled, and that was that. Out of sight, out of mind was never more true.
Joey was filled with solid laughs, and anyone who liked Joey would find that Matt LeBlanc continued to breathe the EXACT likeness into the character. As the show progressed into the first season, the characters grew more and more and really started to soar. After that, even despite the removal from airing, it just got better each episode. Some of the best episodes, during the last half of the second season, were involving the character Jimmy played by Adam Goldberg. These episodes never aired in America.
Bottom line, there are a lot of naysayers out there. But there are also plenty who liked the show, and plenty more who liked Joey and would like it but didn't watch because people said it sucked. If you were a Friends fan, and particularly a Joey fan, give this show a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.