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August 1, 2014

John From Cincinnati is not the most creative TV show of all-time

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 14th 2008 8:04AM
John From Cincinnati
Sometimes you come across a line in a column, an opinion, an observation, that is so mindblowingly wrong-headed that it leaves your mouth hanging open for a full 30 seconds. That's what happened to me when I read this list of the Shows That Died Too Young (great one season shows that shouldn't have been canceled) over at The New York Post. Talking about HBO's John From Cincinnati, the writer says this:

John [From Cincinnati] was not only the most creative program in the medium's sixty year history, but also some of the most mysterious.

Now, the second half of that quote is grammatically baffling, but we get the idea: JFC was the most creative show that has been on television in its 60 year history. Well, what do you think of that?

Even if you believe that JFC was a good show (and there are many people who would argue with you about that), was it really that good? Why is every show that is really weird seen as "creative," and the people who don't get it just aren't smart enough to understand the genius of its weirdness? Does "creative" mean "confusing?" Or "badly written?"

But there are some good choices on the list. I'm very impressed they picked Otherworld and Nichols, and any list like this that includes Freaks and Geeks, Cupid, and The Flash isn't all bad.

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Ray from Oklahoma

I think J from C was at its' best in the early episodes when things happened without a lot of drawn out explanation. As the episodes progressed I suppose somebody thought long, clumsy, overly formal speeches inserted at inappropriate moments were required to provide plot exposition.

They were wrong! For me it was all about images. Consider a surfer that floats on land. You don't need a lot of words to carry that. Discussion among the characters is mandatory. But if you never get around to providing a ludicrous explanation delivered sotto voice by John in a dream sequence, so much the better. His time would be better spent learning how to crap!

The cancellation does leave a lot of things hanging. J from C was about interesting characters caught up in a world that defied conventional reality. I miss the characters and the strange trip they were sharing with me.

October 09 2008 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Konrad

JFC was one of the best shows ever and definitely deserves to be on a list of the most creative/worst cancellations of all time.
I see many comments saying "there was nothing to get". That is obviously not true....there is alot to get and you obviously dont.
My father doesnt enjoy Family Guy, but he doesnt understand The Breakfast Club references and he hasnt seen Star Wars since 1977. It is a different show if you "dont get it".....whatever the show may be.

I like to think that I am fairly intelligent (enough to understand a TV show), but I have seen the full season 5 times and I keep noticing new things.

If you like "The Usual Suspects" and movies that make you think....check out John From Cincinnati.
If you like "Die Hard" and movies with little or no thought....stick to complaining that The Sopranos arent on anymore.

"We dont remember my Father's words"

September 18 2008 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Swann

I absolutely loved "John" and was extremely bitter that HBO cut it short and never allowed Milch the time he needed to complete his story arc. Watching after the fact that it had been cancelled and knowing there would NEVER be any sort of satisfying conclusion to the series ends up depressing me beyond measure. I will always have a place in my heart for the complex, wonderful characters on the show. Rock on, Milch and Co.

September 10 2008 at 6:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cameron

And we didn't get to finish 'Deadwood' because of this garbage??? Come on! I gave it a chance, I really did, but 'Deadwood'!!!

August 14 2008 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mb

The show was a pretentious piece of crap whose producers/writers were in love with the idea of their show but couldn't realize that it was crap as a final product.

Dexter? That's good. The Wire? That's good.

JFC? It was cancelled for a very good reason. Let it die already.

August 14 2008 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
X

I don't know Butchy instead....but I've always had a thing for Theresa Russell.

August 14 2008 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew

John really tried something that nobody else has ever attempted, and in that sense, I think it's important and an absolute shame it was canceled. I'll admit that there are certain narrative failings, but I loved the characters by the end of it, even if they were awful (generally with good reason to be).

Milch was making a show based on heavy philosophical concepts, from the obvious Leibniz to the obscure Deleuzian reading of Leibniz (Bill's spiral staircase!) to Kierkegaard and so on. On top of that, as a lot of people who feel the world needs saving always turn to religion or perhaps anti-capitalist socialism/marxism, he sees the tools to get people on the path within capitalism/mercantilism itself, which I think is a fascinating concept.

The show was about nothing less than saving the world and preventing genocide, which makes me wonder how the hell the second season was going to work.

August 14 2008 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dan2ktj

I sent HBO a bill to repay me for lost time watching JFC. It's pending approval in their legal department!

August 14 2008 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brainfish

Shaun will soon be gone.

LOL I thought it was one of the best headf**k series I've seen

August 14 2008 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cody

I liked JFC a lot! The Yost plots were hammy, but the side characters (Steady Freddie and Palaka anyone?) were spectacular!

August 14 2008 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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