Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
New York Times bestselling author Joel Rosenberg tied Jon Stewart to the shootings in Newtown, Conn., because Stewart is part of “the cultural war against Jesus and Christmas” that helps “drive [God] out of our society, our of our schools and courts.”
In a blog post, Rosenberg cites the ongoing so-called War on Christmas, and how “We are, in many respects, in a moral and spiritual freefall in our country, and we are paying a terrible price.”
Rosenberg, who has previously linked Hurricane Sandy to abortion rights, is an evangelical who writes about End Times, and wrote in his latest book, “The Tehran Initiative,” that “[m]illions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as ‘the Twelfth Imam’—has just arrived on earth.”
From Rosenberg’s blog post, called “Implosion update: The demons of violence are on the loose in America. But why? And where do we go from here?”:
The answer is as painful as it is simple: the further we turn away from God in our nation — the further we drive Him out of our society, our of our schools and courts, and out of our media and out of our homes, or the more we give mere lip service to religion, the more men are ”holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:5) — the worse things are getting. Consider just the cultural war against Jesus and Christmas that has been waged just in the last few days:
- Fox News headline: “Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a ‘myth’ on Times Square billboard”
- CNN column, “Have yourself a merry atheist Christmas“
- AP article about the “War on Christmas”
- Fox News story about a rapper singing about a “Gangbanger Jesus”
- KTVA-TV (Alaska) story: “Atheists Wage War on Christmas in Anchorage: Anti-religion signs on People Mover buses”
- Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart wages war on Christmas and mocks those who thinks he’s wrong [caution: obscene language]
“But what are we reaping as a result of a society that increasingly ignores God and hates or dismisses Jesus Christ?” Rosenberg writes. “We are witnessing a horrifying explosion of murder. We are witnessing a gruesome crime wave unprecedented in American history. And there appears to be no end in sight.”
Here’s the two-part “Daily Show” segment in question:
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More Jillian Rayfield.
"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.