I could never get past the appalling writing for Craig
Whereas Hogan Sheffer's Craig, as embodied by Hunt Block, was what drew me to ATWT and made me a fan. When Hunt Block left, so did I. Now granted, I had never seen original incarnation Craig (the extent of my knowledge was "Didn't he blow up a car or something?")and Block had a way with a snarky line** that I always got a kick out of (his Craig reminded me a great deal of Mason Capwell from SANTA BARBARA). However I will agree that Sheffer seems to be trying to replicate the "Craig" magic* on every show he goes to, with wildly varying results (sometimes it kinda sorta works, other times it just dismally fails).
As for Barbara, I'm deeply ambivalent about her character during Sheffer's tenure. Yes, she was cartoony and over the top, but Colleen Zenk Pinter carried it off well... and cartoony, over-the-top Barbara was able to become a mainstay on her show while many actresses in her age range got pushed to the back burner or off their shows completely. So for me it is definitely a double-edged sword.
Here's my UO: I hate, HATE, HATE
child custody battle storylines on soaps. I don't find them dramatic and I don't find them compelling, I find them sickening and revolting. I hated when Vicky was battling Grant for custody of their son on ANOTHER WORLD, I hated when Jennifer was battling Craig over same on AS THE WORLD TURNS... nothing is guaranteed to get me to turn off a soap quicker than if a story is launched where two characters snipe and backstab and feud over a helpless child. With extra bonus Hate Points if they include a scene where one character triumphantly rips said child out of the other's arms and marches off holding it like it was fucking trophy. Those types of stories were all over soaps a few years back, and I am convinced they were instrumental in killing off the daytime drama.
* - Or lack thereof, as the case may be.
** - One of my all time favorite Hunt Block-as-Craig lines of dialgue was this:
(A female character is trying to sex up Craig to get information out of him)
FEMALE: "Oooooh, you have SUCH big hands.... and you know what they say, big hands..."
CRAIG (completely deadpan): "Big gloves?"