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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate in elections due next year despite being under virtual house arrest in England and facing criminal charges in Sweden, the group said Saturday.
The 40-year-old Australian citizen is fighting extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted over sex crime allegations. Assange has taken his legal battle all the way to Britain’s Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on his case soon.
“We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run,” WikiLeaks announced on Twitter.
Assange has criticized Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s center-left government for not standing up for him against the potential threat of his extradition to the United States for prosecution over WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents.
Australian police have concluded that WikiLeaks and Assange have not broken any Australian laws by publishing the U.S. cables, although Gillard has condemned the action as “grossly irresponsible.”
John Wanna, an Australian National University political scientist, said it was possible for Assange to run for a Senate seat if he remains on the Australian electoral roll despite living overseas for several years.
“If he gets on the roll, then he can stand as long as he’s solvent and not in jail and not insane,” Wanna said.
Being convicted of a crime punishable under Australian law by 12 months or more in prison can disqualify a person from running for the Australian Parliament for the duration of the sentence, even if it is suspended.
Constitutional lawyer George Williams of the University of New South Wales said that provision of the constitution has never been tested in the courts in the 111-year history of the Australian federation and probably would not apply to a criminal conviction in a foreign country such as Sweden.
“I’m not aware of an impediment to him standing, even if he was convicted,” Williams said.
Any adult Australian citizen can run for the Australian Parliament, but few succeed without the backing of a major political party. Only one of Australia’s 76 current senators does not represent a party.
Every Australian election attracts candidates who have little hope of winning and use their campaigns to seek publicity for various political or commercial causes.
Wanna said the odds are against Assange winning a seat, but that he could receive more than 4 percent of the votes in his nominated state because of his high profile. At that threshold, candidates can claim more than $2 per vote from the government to offset their campaign expenses. Assange’s bill to the taxpayer could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The next Senate election cannot be called before July 2013 and is due around August. Candidates cannot officially register as candidates until the election is called at least a month before the poll date.
Assange’s mother, Christine Assange, a professional puppeteer from rural Queensland state, said Saturday she had yet to discuss her son’s political bid with him.
She criticized what she called the government’s willingness to put its defense treaty with the United States ahead of the rights of an Australian citizen.
“The No. 1 issue at the next election regardless of who you vote for is democracy in this country — whether or not we’re just a state of the U.S. and whether or not our citizens are going to be just handed over as a sacrifice to the U.S. alliance,” she said.
Associated Press writer Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.
"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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