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September 4, 2015

HBO says buh-bye to John

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 14th 2007 10:31AM

The surf is out for HBO's John from CincinnatiI don't think anyone will be too surprised by the following news. One day after the finale of John from Cincinnati aired on HBO the pay-cable network decided to pull the plug on the quirky surfer drama co-created by David Milch.

Unlike Milch's other creation for HBO, the critical and fan favorite Deadwood, John never clicked with viewers, despite a strong cast that featured Bruce Greenwood and Rebecca De Mornay. If you doubt me take a look at some of the comments made by your fellow TV Squad readers on the show. While many of them were fascinated by the concept, and gave Milch the benefit of the doubt, they also expressed confusion and boredom about the show.

Cancellation of John will not be the end of the relationship between HBO and Milch. In fact, he is in the process of extending his development deal with the network (which ends next August) while working on several new projects. Hopefully, one is a return to the adored, salty-languaged Old West.

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The only thing wrong with this show was it was too smart for this society. This was probably the most intelligently written show ever produced. Without the explosions, the sex, the violence, this generation of viewers show their true intelligence. Try listening to the the script instead of waiting to see who is naked next and you might, just possibly, understand what the message is here. This is a sad day for the future of entertainment.

August 18 2007 at 10:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff rogers

The show was cooking up on the strange level but then again so what ? The project had the hardass Milch at its head with the mysto captain of surf noir Kem Nunn whispering sweet havoc into his inner ear canal at just the right moments to almost create greatness in sitcom form.It was"Tapping The Source ' to borrow the title of Nunn's 1st novel as a creedo for the venture.Living south of the Mason Dixon line landlocked makes ones gut hanker for some 10 foot swells and high drama in a west coast town.The project was doomed by its one percenter mentality which is a balm to very few and most certainly a misfire in the brain pan to the rest of the drones residing in our whacked out Republic.

August 18 2007 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think people didn't get it, because, well let's be honest folks, nobody got killed, fucked, anal raped, or beaten to a pulp. That's what people understand.

They don't understand the concept of spiritual redemption and/or positiveness.

The last 5 weeks of this show, I was sitting in my living room along with my wife literally at the edge of my seat. The start of episode 10 (I recognized Series of Dreams immediately), seeing the clouds fading into the water was the best and most exhilirating piece of film entertainment I've ever seen. Made this atheist think a little bit more.

August 17 2007 at 5:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

look, it was strange, it was weird, it was a challenge to watch, but it had a certain something. I think this guy is a genius of sorts. sometimes it was boring, yes, sometimes it was great. we need shows like this. yes, cissy was annoying, but why is this so important?, HBO, whoever is responsible for these cancellations of ROME, JFC, Deadwood, as Klinger in MASH said. "may the flies from a thousand camels nest in your armpits"

August 16 2007 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is what is happening in the world today. To bad as it was a good show and on many different levels. Sorry it was over many of your heads.

August 15 2007 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GC in CA

Rumor is that Milch's negotiations with HBO to do the "Deadwood" movies were dependent upon the performance of "John From Cincinnati." Since "John" didn't perform to expectation, HBO has pretty much told him that they won't pony up the money for what were shaping up to be expensive movies, and any future projects he does with them will have severely curtailed budgets.

August 15 2007 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mike, I think your issues are exactly what I’m talking about – you and I have very different perspectives on this.

Where you see no direction and no momentum, I see plenty. The show very clearly set up its direction from the get go: surfers catch a new sort of wave that they have no idea how to ride. It upends their entire routine, and the routine of all the hangers-on, company men, webmasters, and family that revolve around them. It realigns their entire universe - and it is definitely mystical by nature.

Where you see no one doing anything that helped the plot or enriched a character, I saw a constant stream of teeny character details being fed to us nonstop (in a very similar fashion to Deadwood). I saw plenty of plot – but it’s so blended seamlessly with poetry, metaphor, dreamstate, and surrealism, that it can be quite tricky to piece together. As I said above – linear narrative obviously has become boring to Milch after 20+ years working the one-hour-drama format. He’s moved on. Those of us who are also bored with the format, SALUTE HIM.

In my viewing, John is a vessel of God. Why Mitch floats is an unimportant detail...pretty much a McGuffin. Cissy’s reason for her infamous ball-buster-ness is clearly explained: she is actively pushing everyone away because she is so guilt-ridden over what she did to tween-year-old Butchie, oh so long ago.

Why have a parade? Because Linc is a very, very savvy marketing man. And he has just signed a 3-generation surfing dynasty. What corporation wouldn’t want a parade?

Sorry but it all made sense to me. *shrugs again*

Peace back.

August 15 2007 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cincinnati Mike

What I'll miss the most is the weekly verbal masturbation over at that other site (the one Without Pity.)
"JfC is magical, mystical, lyrical, spiritual, divine, life-affirming and holy. And I get it because I am smarter than you!"

August 15 2007 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bye J from C.

August 14 2007 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan Webb

I have watched the show religiously. It is fantastic and one of the most ballsy shows on TV. I promise, if you watch it, and watch them all, you will see that special TV magic that makes it all worth it. It just clicks, and I can't quantify it. TV and acting and depth like this have put HBO on the map. This show was launched in the shadow of a Monster (that very easily could have been cut itself after its first season.) The Sopranos easily could have turned out like the bad Billy Crystal movie. But it didn't. It worked. It worked with a great cast, great writers, and the right people trusting their judgment and giving it a chance. I've been an HBO fan (and subscriber) for over 20 years. When I devote time to watch television I trust HBO with that experience better than any other network on TV. And it's off-kilter, gutsy, art like John from Cincinnati, Taxi Cab confessions, Entourage, and Chevy Chase movies (for no other reason than they're funny as hell) that keeps that check coming in from me. My point being: Don't let "bloggers" destroy the house that Rodney Dangerfield and Eddie Murphy built for you. Stick to your guns and keep this show on the air.

August 14 2007 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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