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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental groups hailed President Barack Obama’s warning Monday about climate change, but said the president’s words will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Obama pledged in his inaugural speech to respond to what he called the threat of climate change, saying, “Failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
By singling out climate change, Obama indicated a willingness to take on an issue that he acknowledges was often overlooked during his first term. He also was setting up a likely confrontation with congressional Republicans who have opposed legislative efforts to curb global warming.
Environmental groups said the president’s first test on climate change could come early this year as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas. The State Department has federal jurisdiction because the $7 billion pipeline begins in Canada.
Obama blocked the pipeline last year, citing uncertainty over the project’s route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska. But on Tuesday, the state’s Republican governor, Dave Heineman, gave his approval to a revised route for the pipeline, a widely anticipated move that nonetheless added to the political pressure for the Obama administration to approve or reject the new route without delay.
Republicans and many business groups say the project would help achieve energy independence for North America and create thousands of jobs.
But environmental groups say the pipeline would transport “dirty oil” and produce heat-trapping gases that contribute to global warming. They also worry about a possible spill.
“Starting with rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, the president must make fighting global warming a central priority,” said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called Obama’s comments on climate change “exactly right.”
Andrew Hoffman, director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, said Obama’s focus on climate showed political backbone.
“He finally had the courage to acknowledge the words ‘climate change,’” Hoffman said, adding that Obama and other administration officials have frequently used words such as green jobs or clean energy to describe energy policy, instead of the more politically charged term.
“I find it very interesting that in this second term he’s just coming right out and saying that climate change is exactly what we’re dealing with,” Hoffman said.
But on Tuesday, the first full day of Obama’s second term, the White House disputed the notion that the president had waited until his second term to tackle climate issues, pointing to first-term accomplishments such as historic fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.
“It’s an important issue. It’s a priority. But it is not a singular priority. It is one of a host of priorities he believes we can act on,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Obama, in his address, said some people “may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science” that global warming exists and has human causes, “but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”
The president has pledged to boost renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, along with more traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.
“The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it,” Obama said.
He said developing new energy technologies will lead to jobs and new industries. “That is how we will preserve our planet,” he said.
Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said Obama’s “clarion call to action” on climate change “leaves no doubt this will be a priority in his second term.”
After Hurricane Sandy and other extreme weather events, there has been more political momentum than ever to address climate change, Meyer said.
“With presidential leadership, that shift will continue and deepen over the next four years, and meaningful progress on climate change will become an important part of Barack Obama’s legacy as president,” he said.
Alt and other environmental leaders said they are counting on Obama to set tough limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and to continue federal investments in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
Obama tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress. Some Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists have pushed for a tax on carbon pollution, but White House officials say they have no plan to propose one.
Scott Segal, an energy lobbyist who represents utilities and natural gas drillers, said Obama “missed the opportunity to remind listeners that climate change is an international phenomenon” that will require international solutions.
By imposing “inflexible” national policies to curb climate change, Obama could restrain the U.S. economy without delivering promised solutions, Segal said.
Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.
Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDaly
"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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