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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
LONDON (AP) — A man accused of killing a British soldier in London appeared in court Thursday to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Michael Adebowale, 22, was handcuffed during the brief appearance. He was allowed to sit down while giving information because he is still recovering from being shot by police.
He is one of two men suspected of attacking Lee Rigby near military barracks in southeast London last week. The other, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, remains hospitalized and has not been charged.
The daylight attack on Rigby by two men wielding knives and meat cleavers has raised tensions in Britain. It is being seen as a possible terror attack by Muslim extremists.
Security was extremely tight for Adebowale’s first court appearance. He is scheduled to be back in court Monday for another hearing and remains in custody.
Adebowale was charged late Wednesday night, two days after he was released from hospital.
He was also charged with a firearms offense related to possessing a 9.4 mm revolver with the intent “to cause persons to believe that unlawful violence would be used,” police said in a statement announcing the charges.
Autopsy results made public Wednesday indicated that Rigby, 25, was first struck by a car and then attacked. He died of multiple stab wounds, the report said.
Witnesses reported seeing the soldier struck by a car, then set upon by two men wielding long knives and cleavers. Adebolajo, bloodied and clutching a cleaver, was seen in a video boasting about the attack and railing against the government.
Both prime suspects were shot by police who arrived on the scene roughly 14 minutes after the soldier’s death. Video showed two suspects rushing a police car that arrived on the scene, then being shot by police and given first aid on the ground.
Britain’s Home Office confirmed Thursday that the Greenwich area, which includes the attack site in Woolwich, was deemed in a 2011 governmental review to be at a low risk of extremist activity and so did not receive anti-terror funding under a government program, called Prevent.
This designation was reversed a year later, meaning anti-terror projects there could again be funded, but no proposals for that area were approved in that time frame. Before 2011, the funding was used to bring young people into contact with Muslim soldiers and other veterans. Other funded programs encouraged sports, art and discussion programs.
The Prevent plan, part of a broader anti-terror strategy run by the Home Office, depends in part on the belief that “radicalization and recruitment can be identified and then provided with support” that keeps vulnerable individuals from embracing militant viewpoints, its website states.
The goal is to intervene and halt the radicalization process before a crime is committed and police become involved.
British officials said the two main suspects had been known to them for some time as part of previous investigations. The attack has raised questions about whether Britain’s intelligence services could have done more to prevent Rigby’s murder.
"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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