14 August 2007

Deadwood v.s. John From Cincinnati

Posted by Dirk under: television .

Television executives baffle me.

David Milch created a show called Deadwood. It was a gnarly western. It got lots of great reviews and lots of people watched it. Almost everybody I know was watching it. HBO cancelled it after 3 seasons. Well, they didn’t cancel it, but they “opted not to pick up the options of the actors”. Which means they cancelled it.

And David Milch went on to create a new show for HBO called John From Cincinnati. This show has many of the same actors that were in Deadwood (I’m not sure how that jibes with what HBO did with Deadwood…) and I think it’s pretty good also.

It’s totally different than Deadwood, mostly. Instead of being a western, it’s set in a southern California city and is about a family of surfers and the surreal entry into their lives of an odd fellow named John Monad.

Despite my liking it, I don’t think many people that constitute the general public would get into it. Deadwood had a much broader appeal. It had violence and cussing (and some more cussing) and sex and pretty obvious bad guys and pretty obvious good guys and some not so obvious of both types. There was a fun surface layer to Deadwood that was easy to enjoy and there was a deeper stream to it that could also be enjoyed.

John From Cincinnati is pretty much all sub-stream stuff. If you watch it you’ll spend a lot of time wondering what the heck is going on. I know I do, but I like it anyway.

There is no way that JFC will ever get close to the same size audience that Deadwood had, so I’m really confused as to why HBO did this.

I assume that JFC was much cheaper to film than Deadwood since it wasn’t a western period piece. But still.

Anyway…One day after the first-season finale aired, HBO officially canceled the show. So, there ya go. HBO doesn’t know what they want either.

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