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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
SAN DIEGO (AP) — An American yacht destroyed while racing from California to Mexico ended up on the rocky shore of an island just past the border, according to a website that tracks boats by GPS, potentially undercutting the theory that it was crushed by a large ship.
Coast Guard investigators have not recovered the GPS device but will consider the coordinates as they try to determine what caused the crash of the 37-foot Aegean that killed three sailors and left one missing, agency spokesman Lt. Bill Burwell said Tuesday.
Investigators are also scrutinizing the sailboat’s debris, interviewing race participants and seeking records of any large ships in the area, Burwell said.
The GPS tracking information shows the boat landed on Mexico’s Coronado Islands at 1:36 a.m. PDT Saturday at a speed of about 6 knots. The coordinates were the last posted by the ship a day after it left from Newport Beach, where the 124-mile race to Ensenada, Mexico, began.
The maker of the device was Spot LLC, a unit of Globalstar Inc. Its palm-sized gadgets track movements of sailors and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Michael Patton, a spokesman for the yacht owner’s family, noted the tracking shows the GPS device landed on the rocks but not necessarily the boat. He dismissed the theory that the boat hit rocks because debris found just offshore was too small.
“Look at the destruction of it all,” Patton said. “You’re talking about it being squished.”
Eric Lamb, who found the wreckage Saturday while on safety patrol, said debris strewn over 2 square miles looked as if the boat had “gone through a blender,” with some of it a quarter-mile from the shore.
The San Diego County medical examiner has said Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance; and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla., all died in the crash. The boat’s skipper, Theo Mavromatis, 49, was missing.
The coroner’s report listed all three deaths as accidents but did not say what could have caused the wreck.
Troy Sears, an experienced sailor who owns the San Diego-based charter company Next Level Sailing, said the GPS chart “gives an important clue if not verification of what happened to the vessel.”
“It looked like they plotted a course for Ensenada and North Coronado Island was directly in the way.”
Sears, who visited the part of the island where the GPS tracking ended, said it was unlikely that the device fell off the boat because the chart shows a steady speed and straight course.
“That section of North Coronado Island is near vertical and it would be like hitting a wall. There’s no beach to stop or slow a vessel, so a vessel would make contact with a near-vertical wall,” he said.
The deaths were the race’s first fatalities in its 65 years and came two weeks after five sailors were killed in the waters off Northern California when their 38-foot yacht was hit by powerful waves and ran aground on a rocky island.
By ocean racing standards, the number of casualties in the two races is startling. Previous major ocean racing disasters have been caused by freak storms, including the one that killed 15 sailors in the Irish Sea in the 1979 Fastnet Race and one that killed six in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race.
Gary Jobson, president of the U.S. Sailing Association, said the group would look at the GPS coordinates as part of its investigation.
GPS devices are increasingly popular among sailors, said Jobson, who attaches one to the rail of his boat.
Mavromatis was a sailor his entire life and did not appear to have ever faced scrutiny about safety, Conrad Thieme, manager of Marina Sailing, a company that rented the boat on his behalf.
Mavromatis twice won the Newport-to-Ensenada race in his category and also placed second and third, said Patton, the family spokesman. The Greek immigrant told friends that he once tried out for the Greek Olympic sailing team.
Patton was supposed to be the fifth crew member but canceled when his mother was hospitalized with symptoms of heart trouble in Illinois. Her health scare did not turn out to be serious.
“I feel lucky, but it’s not like I’m going to go out and buy a lottery ticket,” he said. “I’m not the story.”
Spot LLC’s GPS track of the destroyed yacht:
"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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