If you are a devotee of time travel...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Some Thoughts on John (from Cincinnati)

Maybe it was the wrong time ... I saw the first episode just a few hours after that sudden cut to black at the end of The Sopranos, and my mind was still reeling from shock (in a good way, and it still is)...

So maybe that wasn't the best time to see the premiere of a brand new series, which promised to be highly original and edgy....

Everything in the package seemed to be right. I love Rebecca De Mornay. Bruce Greenwood never disappoints. I'm also a big Beach Boys fan - they're easily in my top 5 favorite groups - and of course I'm not only an avid watcher and reader of the fantastic in fantasy and science fiction, but I write the stuff.

Indeed, I've never met a science fiction story I wasn't prepared to be crazy about, and though I don't feel quite the same about fantasy and supernatural themes, I'm pretty easy to please on those scores, too.

And the premiere of John from Cincinnati did not.

It seemed a lot of talk about almost nothing. The payoff at the end - that Greenwood's character knows he is really levitating - was way too little to support an entire episode.

Now, I'm actually very modest (a rarity for me) in my initial judgments about greatness in popular culture. I remember when I heard the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper for the very first time in June 1967 - I was hoping for more Rubber Soul and Revolver, and thought that the Beatles had gone off the deep end. But I stepped back and said, look, if I'm not liking an album by the Beatles, maybe it's me and not the Beatles who are off-key. I gave the Beatles the presumption of genius, listened a few more times, started to love "A Little Help from my Friends," and then "Lucy in the Sky," and pretty soon I thought Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the masterpiece it is. (I wrote an essay called "Sgt. Pepper and the Presumption of Genius" about this back in the 1980s ... it's on another computer ... I'll see if I can post it here in the next few days.)

Well, much as I admire David Milch and his great work in television - beginning with Hill Street Blues - I'm not quite willing to give him and John from Cincinnati the presumption of genius I gave to Sgt. Pepper.

But I will at least watch the next episode, and report back here soon...

See also reviews of other episodes Episode Two ... Episode Three ... Episode Four ... Episode 5 ... Episode 6 ... Episode 7 ... Episode 8 ... Episode 9 ... Episode 10

See also John from Cincinnati: The Meaning in a Sentence or Two

6 comments:

dawn said...

I did not watch John but Sgt. Peppers has always been a favorite would love to see what you wrote

Is it sync'd yet? said...

Butchy is going to make that series.

Guy cracked me up. Maybe I liked the show because I have surfed all my life and noticed that they where spot on with the the little stuff.

Matt to wash off on outside the car.

Gallon of water for feet.

2 towels, calling the boards by the right name, etc..etc..


Gnat.
.

Paul Levinson said...

gnat - all right, you got me psyched - I'm going to watch the next episode On Demand later tonight...

dawn - nothing like Sgt. Pepper's ... I've got that little essay (comes from my Electronic Chronicles book) on a computer in my office, so I probably won't be able to get it and upload it here until early July...

Paul Levinson said...

ps to gnat - I see you work in blown glass ... very nice ... I have an audio collection of some of my science fiction stories - will be released by Conquer the World Records as soon as I have a chance to finish the recordings - called Spun Dreams (my original title was Blown Dreams, and I'll probably eventually use that for something else)...

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement with you about JFC, Paul..I am not impressed. A little too wierd for me.

I did like the surfing scenes and music and especially the V Dub bus (I had one), becuase they were all part of my youth growing up in the 60's watching all the great surfers on the LA beaches where we hung out every single day from morning and into the night.

I did wonder how they would handle the drug scene that went along with it, and Milch included it, he really had to. It was the black mark on the surfing world back then. Ruined a lot of lives.

Paul Levinson said...

Hey MOB - welcome to Infinite Regress ... (always glad to get a visitor from Rome...)

I saw the second episode - it was a little better than the first ... I'll post something about it soon...

InfiniteRegress.tv