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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s influential Buddhist monks on Thursday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to withdraw an impeachment motion that accuses the country’s chief justice of misusing power and having unexplained wealth.
A letter signed by monks heading the four organizations that cover all the Buddhist monks in the country urged the government to safeguard judicial independence, saying the majority of the public think the impeachment motion “will lead to disenchantment about all branches of the judiciary.”
The motion filed by lawmakers of Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition levels 14 charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Opposition parties and independent analysts say the impeachment attempt is aimed at stifling judiciary independence and concentrating power with Rajapaksa.
The monks’ letter, which was given to The Associated Press and published in local newspapers, said it is not proper “to resort to actions which will generate an apprehension with regard to the judiciary and the judges.” It said such conduct would do more harm than good.
Buddhism is the state religion of Sri Lanka and monks are influential over the public and government. About 74 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists.
The impeachment motion was submitted a month ago calling for a Parliament Select Committee to investigate 14 charges and remove Bandaranayake. Parliamentary Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, who is the president’s brother, announced the setting up of the committee last week.
The motion alleges that Bandaranayake’s actions had “plunged the Supreme Court and the office of chief justice into disrepute.” Bandarananyake has said she “can easily refute” the allegations.
The United Nations, the United States and rights groups have expressed concerns about the motion, which follows months of conflict between Parliament and the judiciary.
Bandaranayake came under strong government criticism after she ruled that legislation giving more power to Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, another brother of the president, violated the constitution.
The Court of Appeal, which is immediately below the Supreme Court, has ordered Speaker Rajapaksa and the 11 lawmakers in the parliament committee probing the motion to appear before the court, in response to several petitions filed against the committee.
Chamal Rajapaksa rejected the Court of Appeal notices Thursday, saying they “constitute an unwarranted interference with the powers and procedures of Parliament, and are invalid.”
The complaint alleges Bandaranayake did not disclose how she obtained 19 million rupees ($146,000) to pay for a house purchased under power of attorney for another person. It also alleges that she took control of several cases filed against the company that sold the property after removing the judges who originally heard them.
It also accuses Bandaranayake of not declaring the contents of 20 bank accounts, including four foreign currency accounts containing the equivalent of 34 million rupees ($260,000), and alleges that she misused her position to harass other judges.
If the committee determines that the complaint has merit, an impeachment motion will be voted on and forwarded to President Rajapaksa for further action. With his ruling coalition controlling more than two-thirds of Parliament’s seats, such a motion is expected to be carried easily.
"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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