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Critics Give Thumbs Up To Caitlyn Jenner & Thumbs Down To The Kardashians In First Look At 'I Am Cait'

Caitlyn Jenner I Am Cait

Jul. 22 2015, Updated 10:04 a.m. ET

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The initial reviews of E!'s highly-anticipated I Am Cait had a common theme, as critics praised Caitlyn Jenner in her new turn, and panned the Kardashians.

Variety's Brian Lowry noted how "the series was produced with artier intentions in mind than what we have come to associate with the Kardashians, who have elevated the 'famous for being famous' career path to new and lucrative heights.

"Much of this difference can be seen in the way 'I Am Cait' is shot, including an inordinate number of close-ups on Jenner's hands."

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Lowry noted how the Malibu native's show focused on social issues rather than the vapid nature of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. He added that Kris Jenner's bunch "have turned sharing every aspect of their lives into a slick cottage industry."

The show's informative, serious tone was "mucked up to a degree" in "shoehorning" Kim Kardashian and Kanye West into a cameo on the debut, Lowry said, "as if E! and the producers needed a security blanket to make sure they catered to that audience too."

"The more the series keeps the spotlight trained squarely on its namesake -- and away, even at the periphery, from keeping up with the Kardashians -- the better."

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter  said that the show more resembled the 65-year-old reality star's "sensitive in-depth" interview with Diane Sawyer, than "Keeping Up with the Kardashians, in which the former Bruce was often used for comic relief."

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Music superstar West looked "more than a little uncomfortable," in being relegated to the role of mere background figure" on the show, Scheck said.

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner's debut was "an impressively nuanced effort that may well succeed in changing hearts and minds," Scheck said.

And Don Kaplan of the NY Daily News couldn't have been more direct in starting his review with the line, "This is not 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians.'

"As the patriarch of Hollywood's most visible family, the Kardashians, he came across as the henpecked husband of Kris Jenner and a doddering backdrop for the jet-setting lives of their kids," Kaplan said. "Caitlyn is none of that."

Kaplan said that the Olympian "comes across as powerful and sweet and far more comfortable in her new reality than she ever did as Bruce Jenner."

Viewers can come to their own conclusions when I Am Cait premieres on E! Sunday, July 26 at 9/8c.

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