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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
NEW YORK (AP) — A tall, heavy spire was fully installed atop One World Trade Center on Friday, bringing the New York City structure to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet.
Loud applause and cries of joy erupted from construction workers assembled below as the huge, silver spire was gently lowered and secured into place.
“It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” Juan Estevez said from a temporary platform on the roof of the tower where he and other workers watched the milestone.
“It’s a culmination of a tremendous amount of team work … rebuilding the New York City skyline once again,” said Estevez, a project manager for Tishman Construction.
He said the workers around him were “utterly overjoyed.”
Installation of the 408-foot, 758-ton spire was completed after pieces of it had been transported to the roof of the building last week. It will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna and also as a beacon to ward off aircraft.
The building is at the northwest corner of the site where the twin World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 72-story 4 World Trade Center is under construction at the southeast corner of the site.
Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died after responding to the attacks, watched workers secure the spire from his office at the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center, which he co-founded.
“The building looks spectacular. … I’m looking forward to the day when the cranes come down and they light the spire at night,” he said. “It’s supposed to be a very moving experience.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, said the LED-powered light would be activated in the next few months.
“It’s going to have a light that you can see from tens of miles away,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler. “And that light will change colors and in the next few months we are going to be activating that light, and it will be a beacon of hope just like the Statue of Liberty.”
The addition of the spire, and its raising of the building’s height to 1,776 feet, makes One World Trade Center the tallest structure in the U.S. and third-tallest in the world, although building experts dispute whether the spire is actually an antenna — a crucial distinction in measuring the building’s height.
If it didn’t have the spire, One World Trade Center would be shorter than the Willis Tower in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 feet and currently has the title of tallest building in the U.S., not including its own antennas.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records, says an antenna is something simply added to the top of a tower that can be removed. By contrast, a spire is something that is part of the building’s architectural design.
The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.
Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government’s General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.
"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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