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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
MONTREAL (AP) — Hoping to turn around the fortunes of Canada’s once-dominant Liberal Party, the eldest son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announced Tuesday evening he was following his father’s footsteps and launching his bid to obtain the party’s leadership.
Justin Trudeau, 40, a charismatic member of Parliament since 2008, made the announcement in front of hundreds of supporters packing a community center in his Montreal district, ending days of speculation and adding sizzle to the political contest which officially begins next month and ends in April 2013.
Many Liberals hoped Trudeau would run for the leadership of a party that ruled Canada for much of the last century but was regulated to third-party status in the last election.
“I am in love with Canada. I want to dedicate my life to serve it,” Trudeau said in French.
Pierre Trudeau, who died at age 80 in 2000, was prime minister for almost all of a 16-year stretch from 1968-84. Sweeping to power on a wave of support nicknamed “Trudeaumania,” Trudeau had a charisma reminiscent of another young, dashing politician who had captivated the U.S. eight years earlier — former President John F. Kennedy. Trudeau’s sophisticated, sometimes irreverent style fascinated and captivated his country.
Justin Trudeau was born while his father was prime minister, on Christmas Day, 1971.
Justin gave a moving eulogy at his father’s state funeral which fed early speculation he would one day seek office, years before he eventually joined the ranks of his father’s party.
He said Tuesday he’s determined to breathe new life into a party he says has lost touch with middle-class Canadians. He said Canadian families have seen their incomes stagnant, their costs go up and their debts explode. He said the opposition New Democrats have stoked regional resentment and blamed the successful while the ruling Conservatives have chosen to favor western Canada’s oil sector and promised that wealth will trickle down eventually.
“Both are tidy ideological answers to complex and difficult questions. The only thing they have in common is that they are both, equally, wrong,” Trudeau said.
He said solutions can come from both the right and left and said he will create policies based on facts.
Analysts say Trudeau will have to make it clear his candidacy is more than just about his youthful charm and familiar name.
Trudeau is a big draw at Liberal fundraisers and polls have shown the former teacher to be a party favorite reaching rock-star like status.
Some observers fear Trudeau’s leadership bid packs such punch it may turn into a coronation of the party’s next leader, scaring away potential contenders. But critics have called him a political lightweight, saying little about major policy issues in his roles overseeing youth, amateur sport and immigration.
“The impression this leaves an outside observer is if he wasn’t called Trudeau, no one would be talking about any political ambition,” University of Montreal political scientist Pierre Martin said. “We have someone here with a thin CV.”
His name and recognition will put him in the spotlight but as a whole he has yet to articulate a clear vision in public, Martin said
Trudeau only jumped into politics four years ago, but turned down offers to represent a usually safe riding to take on a stronghold of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which he won. He increased his margin of victory in last year’s election. But the Liberal Party fared poorly in the 2011 election, finishing in third for the first time in Canadian history and seeing the latest in a succession of party leaders fail to inspire electors amid non-stop attack TV ads by the ruling Conservatives.
It remains to be seen what kind of attack ads the Conservatives will run against a popular Trudeau should he become Liberal leader.
Former colleagues of current Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper say his long-term goals are to shatter the image of the Liberals — the party of former Prime Ministers Trudeau, Jean Chretien and Lester Pearson — as the natural party of government in Canada, and to redefine what it means to be Canadian.
Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto 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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