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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
NEW DELHI (AP) — Police arrested an Indian journalist in connection with last month’s bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi, authorities said Wednesday, the first apparent breakthrough in an attack that Israel accused Iran of orchestrating.
The Press Trust of India said the suspect had claimed to work for an Iranian news organization, a fact Indian police declined to confirm.
Though Indian authorities have not implicated Iran in the bombing, any leads that point in that direction could complicate India’s delicate efforts to ward off growing Western pressure and maintain its strong economic ties with Tehran.
Energy-starved India remains a large market for Iranian oil, and those purchases could blunt the effect of intensified sanctions being imposed by the United States and European Union to force Iran to roll back its nuclear ambitions.
“India finds itself between a rock and a hard place over Iran,” said Arundhati Ghose, a retired Indian diplomat. “It’s a tough call for the government, but one that New Delhi will have to confront eventually.”
Police arrested Syed Mohammed Kazmi on Tuesday after investigations showed he had been in touch with a suspect they believe may have stuck a magnetic bomb on an Israeli diplomat’s car, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.
Police said they searched Kazmi’s house over the past two days to gather evidence that might link him to the Feb. 13 attack, which wounded the diplomat’s wife, her driver and two other people in a nearby car. Police did not say what evidence they found.
Kazmi, 50, was being questioned and was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday before being handed over to officials of the investigating agencies for further questioning, Bhagat said.
The New Delhi blast came the same day a bomb was discovered on an Israeli diplomat’s car in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The next day, three Iranians accidentally blew up their house in Thailand, and Israeli authorities said the similarity between their explosives and the two earlier bombs linked Iran to all three incidents.
Indian officials have refused to assign blame while the investigation continues.
Israel has accused Iran of waging a covert campaign of state terrorism and has threatened military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.
If Kazmi’s arrest and interrogation leads to evidence of Iran’s involvement — either directly or through its proxies — in the New Delhi attack, the fallout could put India in a diplomatic quandary.
Iran is one of India’s major suppliers of oil, accounting for 12 percent of its energy needs.
So far, India has fended off criticism for its growing economic ties with Iran by saying it does not heed unilateral sanctions, such as those being imposed by the United States and European Union.
“We have accepted sanctions that are made by the United Nations,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters in Washington at a recent press briefing. “Other sanctions do not apply to us.”
Western sanctions have made it harder for Indian companies to pay for Iranian oil, with international banks unwilling to handle transactions from Tehran without breaching the new American sanctions on Iran’s financial earnings from oil.
Last month, India and Iran agreed to an arrangement for 45 percent of the $11 billion in annual oil payments to be made in Indian rupees, with the rest to be paid in a barter system.
Tehran is looking to trade oil for Indian-made machinery, iron and steel, minerals and automobiles, while Indian companies plan to invest in infrastructure projects in Iran including developing oil and gas fields, roads and railways.
India brushed off the international outrage over the blasts and said it would go ahead with a visit to Tehran this weekend by an Indian trade delegation headed by the commerce secretary.
“India needs the Iranian crude. It would be very difficult to find alternative sources of oil that would be acceptable to Indian refineries,” a commerce ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Many of India’s aging oil refineries are configured to use Iranian crude oil. Retrofitting these refineries would be costly, the official said.
India is also looking after its strategic interests in Iran’s neighbor Afghanistan, which India hopes to prevent from falling under the sway of its archrival, Pakistan, after the 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops.
India uses Iranian ports to send goods to Afghanistan as it scrambles to maintain influence there.
“India is now in a panic over what lies ahead in Afghanistan. The Americans are leaving Afghanistan; they are talking to the Taliban. India will find itself scrambling for access in Afghanistan,” says K.C. Singh, a former Indian ambassador to Iran.
To this end, India is helping develop the southern Iranian port of Chabahar and a rail link that will offer it direct access to Afghanistan.
New Delhi has not remained completely immune to sanction pressures and is slowly easing its dependence on Iranian oil.
Trends show a gradual decline in Iranian oil imports, with a temporary spike in January due to the bunching of earlier supplies that were delayed due to payment hurdles.
India has also developed close ties with Israel after diplomatic relations were established in 1992, and Tel Aviv has emerged as an important arms supplier.
"Californication" (seven seasons)
"Entourage" (eight seasons)
Much like “Californication,” this man-centric show started strong and buzzy -- a perpetual nominee at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and a perceived gender-swapped “Sex and the City.” Then it ground on and on, and what might once have been read as a sophisticated satire of Hollywood materialism became a grinding conveyor belt of self-congratulatory guest-star appearances.
"Will & Grace" (eight seasons)
Hey, did someone say “self-congratulatory guest-star appearances?” Look -- it’s Jennifer Lopez, and Cher, and Janet Jackson, and Madonna! The latter seasons of “Will & Grace” effectively ruined the fun of watching the show in syndication now -- will it be a fun and jaunty early episode, or a later episode in which title characters enact an Ibsen play about having a baby together (really) while Jack and Karen meet one pop star or another? The fact that the show hastened a widespread acceptance of gay people that, then, made the show something of a throwback by the time it ended is one thing; the fact that the show itself seemed uninterested in relying on its actors’ sharp comic timing is quite another.
"The King of Queens" (nine seasons)
This CBS stalwart just kind of kept going, exactly as long as was needed to launch Kevin James’ film career. In the show’s final minutes, a formulaic sitcom became a mile-a-minute soap, with the central characters considering divorce and then having two children.
"Frasier" (11 seasons)
Though it ended strong, "Frasier" had something of the opposite problem as “The King of Queens”: While the CBS comedy chucked a whole bunch of plot at viewers toward the end, NBC’s Emmy magnet stayed stuck in familiar ruts, with Frasier questing endlessly for love and Daphne and Niles in fairly unthrilling domestic bliss. The jokes stayed good, but this maybe could have gone one or two years shorter.
"Weeds" (eight seasons)
As “Homeland” viewers may be learning, Showtime isn’t particularly good at keeping its shows coherent over time. (Maybe this is “Californication”’s issue -- we wouldn’t know!) This show changed settings and, effectively, organizing conceits so many times that by the end, it had few earnest defenders.
"Nip/Tuck" (six seasons)
This FX series, too, changed settings midway through, moving from Miami to Los Angeles four seasons in for no compelling reason. The show’s most gripping subplots had a way of petering out (remember the anticlimactic solution to the mystery of the Carver?), and its bizarre tendencies overtook any sense of fun.
"Glee" (five seasons and counting)
The series has, like its sibling show “Nip/Tuck” (Ryan Murphy created them both), switched locations, moving in large part to New York once its core cast graduated high school. But what’s the point of a high school series when the stars graduate? Despite some lovely moments, the show’s heat seems gone, and attempts to get back into the conversation (the school shooting episode, for instance) have been more desperate and tone-deaf than effective.
"Grey's Anatomy" (10 seasons and counting)
Here’s the thing: By all accounts, “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a creative failure. And it’s still widely watched. But when you begin your life as a world-beating hit, anything else seems somewhat marginal. “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed more regular viewers than many shows will ever hope to get in the first place (same’s true of “Survivor” and latter-day “ER,” to name just a few). Those who stopped watching once the Golden Globe nominations petered out may wonder why the show is still on; loyal viewers know better.
"The Simpsons" (25 seasons and counting)
Like the “Grey’s” doctors, the Springfield clan and their neighbors still draw a crowd. But “The Simpsons” is so omnipresent in syndication and in pop culture that the first-run series seems besides the point (not least because, though there are good episodes here and there, the show’s best days are universally agreed to be behind it -- like way behind it, in the 1990s).
"The Office" (nine seasons)
There was a natural break for this show, where it ought to have ended -- with the departure of lead actor Steve Carell in Season 7. The latter years were a creative fugue state, and as NBC’s Thursday night lineup continued to flatline in the ratings, one-time fans could be forgiven at their surprise that the adventures of Jim and Pam kept on unfolding.
"The X-Files" (nine seasons)
Once one of the show’s leads departs and has to be replaced -- as Steve Carell did on “The Office,” or David Duchovny did here -- the show faces a reckoning; if the lead is so central to the show’s plot as to make people wonder how the show could possibly go on, maybe the show shouldn’t. And even “X-Files” superfans might have been happier with fewer seasons of drawing out the conspiracy string toward a famously unsatisfying ending.
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