HBO announced yesterday that it has canceled the dark surfer drama, John from Cincinnati. Prior to the first season finale on Sunday, creator David Milch talked to Tavis Smiley on his late night talk show on PBS, saying that whatever decision the network makes, he will continue working.
John from Cincinnati, which debuted in June, followed the story of dysfunctional surfer family and a mysterious stranger named John Monad. Often labeled by critics as “strange,” “weird” and “unlikable,” the series showcased many religious themes, due mainly to Milch’s interest in “faith as a regenerative and reorganizing principle for the community.”
Milch had long wanted to explore the genesis of faith, which he tried to do with his previous HBO series, Deadwood. However, rather than use the cross, one of the most ancient symbols of God, the series presented gold as the reorganizing force of a society.
“[John from Cincinnati] is a show in which I tried… to come back to the original idea,” Milch told Smiley.
Milch, who believes that the artist is “God’s surrogate,” chose to have ordinary characters go through a profound experience of faith in order to make it easier for viewers to understand the complexity of the show’s overall message.
“The idea [behind John from Cincinnati is] that the universe is a solid system but [also] a series of waves,” Milch explained. “And that man is not an individual creature, but that his essence is carried from seeming individual to seeming individual [and becomes] available to surfers if they aren’t loaded and selfish or if they don’t become addicted to the behavior of surfing itself. Doesn’t often happen.”
Amidst the profundity of his creative process, Milch said that he ultimately decided to focus on a surfing community because it was suggested to him.
“The suggestion was made to me, why don’t you do a show about surfers? Young, masculine, that’s the demographic. Can you do that and have it engage your own spirit? John From Cincinnati [was the result].”
Despite the great pains Milch took in making the series more relatable, it failed to secure a significant viewer count since its June premiere. Nevertheless, the show’s cancellation will not stop Milch from creating more stories that have a similar thematic content as John from Cincinnati.
“If God is anywhere, he’s everywhere… I said to a priest, as he was dying, ‘I’m grateful to have lived long enough to be able to say to you that the shadow in which I always believed I and my characters must move is cast by God’s sheltering hand.’ So any story can let you do that,” he said.
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: PBS, Yahoo News
(Image Courtesy of PBS)