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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Georgia said Wednesday that the country has closed two of its bases in Afghanistan after 10 of its soldiers were killed by militant attacks within the last four weeks, but it will not reduce the number of troops serving there.
The announcement by Defense Minister Irakli Alasania came five days after he visited Afghanistan to meet with his country’s contingent in the U.S-led coalition in the aftermath of the attacks. A massive truck bomb killed seven Georgians at their base in Helmand province’s Now-e-Zad district on June 6, while three other Georgian soldiers died May 13 in a bomb attack on another base in Helmand’s Musa Qala district.
The bombings were part of a wave of militant attacks in recent weeks, pushing violence to some of the highest levels of the 12-year war as Afghan forces take over most security responsibility from international troops set to withdraw next year.
Alasania said on television station Rustavi-2 that Georgia will maintain its current level of troops in Afghanistan but did not say where they would work from. Georgia, a former Soviet republic with aspirations of joining NATO, has 1,545 troops serving in Afghanistan.
“It’s a contribution made by Georgia to the international mission that is fighting terrorism and ensuring global security,” he said.
He did not say where the closed bases specifically were, and it wasn’t immediately clear how many bases Georgia maintains in Afghanistan.
Violence continues to escalate this month in Afghanistan, with the Taliban and other insurgents targeting NATO troops, government forces, politicians and civilians. On Tuesday, 17 people died in Kabul when a Taliban car bomber hit buses carrying employees of the Supreme Court, the deadliest attack in the capital in a year and a half.
Wednesday morning, a motorcycle bomb killed an Afghan soldier and civilian in the south of the country, officials said.
The blast was near a market in Helmand province’s heavily contested Sangin district, local police chief Ghulam Ali said. Three soldiers, one local police officer and 11 civilians were wounded.
Helmand government spokesman Omar Zwak said the explosives in a parked motorcycle were remotely detonated as an army and police patrol passed by.
In eastern Afghanistan, militants attacked a NATO convoy carrying supplies on Tuesday night, killing two Afghan police officers and two truck drivers, provincial deputy police chief Asadullah Insafi said.
Three insurgents were also killed in the attack in the eastern province of Ghazni, Insafi said.
Associated Press writer Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili in Tbilisi contributed to this report.
"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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