John from Cincinnati

Season 1 Episode 1

His Visit: Day One

Aired Sunday 12:00 AM Jun 10, 2007 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • "Lord, there goes a Buick forty-nine. Black sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line. We think there is a soul, we don't know...That soul is hard to find." - Joe Strummer

    Indeed, soul is hard to find. Yet, from the mesmerizing opening sequence, a montage of mostly old surfing footage set to Joe Strummer's 'Johnny Appleseed', we are introduced to a show that has exactly that...soul.

    The pilot opens with Luke Perry's character, surfing promoter Linc Stark, driving up to the beach in the early hours of the morning to watch surfing legend Mitch Yost catch some waves. Mysteriously and out of nowhere, the title character, John, appears over Linc's shoulder. His message to Linc is simple, "The end is near." But for who, or for what? Of course, we don't really know, and there-in lies the draw. Much like other shows, such as Lost, John From Cincinnati uses mystery to keep the viewers interested and excited, but it never seems forced or cliche, and underneath it all lies a truly human story.

    Over the course of the episode, we are introduced to many dramatically different characters living in this small beach town of Imperial Beach, California. Most of them are portrayed brilliantly by their respective actors, but the overall standout is Ed O'Neill as Bill Jacks, the quirky, yet well-meaning ex-cop who is a neighbor and close friend of the Yost family. Rebecca DeMornay is also excellent as Cissy Yost, the queen-bee of the Yost clan, and Austin Nichols had me genuinely laughing with his portrayal of the humorously naive John.

    What makes these characters all so similar though, and indeed so interesting, are their flaws. This strange John From Cincinnati seems to have come to help these people overcome their flaws. But perhaps he's also come to show not just them, but the rest of us as well, that it's not too late. We can still make a change and have a positive impact in each other's lives.

    Because we all know, "that soul is hard to find", but this is a show that's full of it.
  • Very strange episode. I had very high expectations for this show, but the pilot episode is nowhere!

    Definitelly, it needs to be reshaped, and I hope the rest of the series gets better. The characters were so underdeveloped, and the whole episode was f**k after every other word, or references about religion and God but with bad connotation, which I didn´t appreciate very much, not that I am a prude or anything, it´s just that if you are going to say something say it with some meaninng, not just to throw it in the air to "try to seem cool".

    The main plot was also kind of weak, and there were some characters, like Luke Perry, who only showed up once and never showed up again until the end... what´s up with him?!?!

    and finally, we come down to the famous John, who I assume must be from Cincinnati, who nobody seems to realize something must be going on with him because he doesn´t act very normal.

    I´ll give this show another chance, but the first episode got me very dissapointed, I expected a lot more from the network that brought us Carnivale, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Rome, The Wire and Entourage... those are GREAT shows, this one is just a so-so
  • Strange show, weird even.

    The surfing is fun to watch. Bruce Greenwood is nice to watch. A lot of f-words in this show. Not used to that in american shows. A little too much for my taste. This is a weird strange world we get to watch. What is the goal, to save the Yost family for the boys sake, cause he is still unspoiled. Who is John and who are the watchers who said that Shaun was surfing. John seems like an alien who copies every word someone says, but has in his pockets everything you need at that moment, weird. I am not sure what this is all about and maybe something will happen that clearifies it soon. Or else this show will not last.
  • Ensemble, Weirdness, Dysfunction

    Wow, what a dysfunctional family. And the premise of the show is so strange, and strangely alluring. We have no idea what this John guy is there for. I suspect it's to put the family on the right track, but where's he from? I suppose that's the question of the day. I really enjoyed this pilot episode, even though at this point it didn't make much sense. Obviously we have some pretty patented situations, we have the 'Patriarch' whose word is law, the 'messed-up' kid, and then the young party who is the most normal of the bunch. I really enjoyed the fact that they're circling all of the drama around surfing. Austin Nichols is doing an absolutely fabulous job as the quirky and mysterious John. I am certainly looking forward to the plot opening up. This is a fascinating ensemble cast, and the weirdness of the storyline just keeps me wanting more!!!
  • It starts like it might become the next "Six Feet Under". But it's gonna take time.

    When the first episode of "John From Cincinnati" started, I was a little confused. Not because I had expected something different, but because it took a long time to understand the relationships between the main characters. In the typical HBO way, the show gave us little pieces, not the complete thing including rules on how to react. They gave us hints, as always on HBO, but left away the center piece. And that is something I really love about HBO. They don't tell you, someone just died, people are crying, so that's what you have to do as well. They say, someone just died, figure out what effect it has on everyone. The great thing about this pilot was that in the end it made sense. This show is not just about surfing, it's about this John, who seems to be from somewhere far, far away. This show is a major breakthrough for HBO. And even though I haven't started bounding with the characters yet, except for Ed O' Neill's character. But this one will be big.
  • (Long review =))Strange yet compelling! John comes to town, telling everyone "The End Is Near", but what does he mean??

    I watched this purely because i saw the banner ad on here yesterday, saying something like HBO's new hit drama, i was bored so decided to download it, as im from the UK it has not aired over here yet and probably wont for a long time, so why should i have to wait andmiss all the action right?? =)

    I got around 20 mins into the episode and at first i was thinking "What the hell", but at the same time i could not find myself to turn it off, as i was intrigued as to what is going on, from what i guess, there is a family, the family are all good surfers and were well renouned and were a famous family name for surfing called the Yost family.

    Mitch yost the father was the fist big family name, and from what i can tell and from what the story has given so far is that he was in a competition and he had an accident, and since has never surfed infront of anyone before, he always surfs alone on a evening when nobody is around,he thinks he has brain cancer as after he was surfing he washed himself down with water and he started to float a couple of inches off the ground and he thinks it is a tumour making him halucinate. also on the beach while he is surfing a guy comes upto him saying "The end is near" and that Mitch needs to start surfing again, all we know the guy as is "John" (Played by Luke Perry).

    Butchie Yost, Mitch's son followed on from his father from a young age, and then he got sponsered, and he got loads of cash, but his sponsor turned him into a junkie so he retired or has not surfed since as he doesnt have the money, bringing shame up-on the family name in the process and is currently squatting in an old run-down hotel room.

    John pays Viatnam Joe $50 dollars to give him a lift to where Butchie is living as he wants to speak to him, and he is constantly saying "The end is near" and when he gets asked a question all he reples to anyone is "Some things i know, and some things i dont", plus he always repeats what people say back to them and memorises what people have said. What he arrives at Butchies place, Butchie thinks that he is is dealer, and this person owes him $1200 dollars, and Butchie asks for it back and John pulls it out of his pocket and gives him it, Butchie calls his dealer and they say that they dont know John, so Butchie gets curious aout why Joh gave him the money and figures that he must be rich, so he asks Joh for I.D and he pulls a platinum cradit card out of his pocket. Butchie brings it to himself that Joh wants Butchie to learn him how to surf, but John never says this but he never says much to anyone and he doesnt say no.

    Butchie has a son called Shaun, people seem to call him shaunie, he is 13 years old and has also continued the family surfing career, he currently lives with his grandparents Mitch and Cissy Yost, they own a surf shop near the beach, Shaun is fast becoming a great surfer and the word is spreading, and the Yost name is becoming popular again, and he wants to get sponsored, but his gramps Mitch deosnt want him to get sponsored incase he ends up like Butchie and becomes a Junkie when he gets all the sponsor money. on the other hand his gran Cissy wants him to get sponsored as he has made his own sponsor video from his and his friends surfing footage and sh thinks it will be good for him, he wants to enter a surfing competition, but Gramps wont let him enter, but she says he can og behind her husbands back, but she cant take him so she gets Shaun to ask a family friend to rive him there. Shaun goes to the family friend called Bill (played by Ed O'Neill best known for his role as Al Bundy on "Married with Children"), he seems to be obsessed with birds and when Shaun gets there one of the birds have died, but Shaun touches it and it comes back to life (which makesme think the family has some sort of wierd abilities, like Mitch can float and Shaun can bring things back to life, but we know nothing of this yet), Bill drives Shaun to the competition, but his car gets a flat tire so he needs to find a place to pull over to change the tire.

    At this point Cissy Yost is buying groceries and is looking for a camera so they can film Shaun while he is surfing, and she asks a shop assistant if they sell instimatic cameras, and he tries to chat her up so she pushes some things off the shelf, and she ends up getting arrested at the checkout. Hers son Shaun and Bill see her passing by them in a police car.

    Meanwhile Mitch and Butchie argue on the phone and both get angry and say they are going to kick each others asses, juit before this, the old run-down hotel what Butchie is squatting in has been baught so he has to leave the hotel, the new owner arrives called Matt cunningham, and we find out he won the lottery and he always carries a gun now, as he feels safe because if people find out he is a lottery winner they will probably mug him.

    After he arrives, Butchie arrives and Matt recognises him from his class at school, and apparantly Butchie bullied him in school, then Mitch arrives, and he starts fighting with Butchie, while they are fighting Bill pulls over his car to fix the flat tire and as circumstances arrive, he pulls over at the old hotel where Shauns Dad and Grampa are fighting. so everyone is together, Matt the new owner of the hotel fires his gun into the air and everyone stops, and he starts babling on about society and other random things that make no sense and is just about ot shoot himself in the mouth but Bill stops him and takes his gun away.

    Shaun tells his gramps Mitch and Butchie that his gran has been arrested, so they go to the police station to get her. Butchie and Mitch tell each other they are sorry for being angry and Mitch tells him that he thinks he has a brain Tumour, and tells Butchie that he is halucinating and thinks he is floating sometimes, and then suddenly Mitch starts floating a couple of inches off the ground and Butchie see's it with his own eyes, now Mitch realises that it is not cancer after all but something else (But we still dont know how or why it is happening).

    Shaun becomes friends with the who seems to be slow in the head John, and everyone decides to get wet aka go surfing together which has not happened as a family in a long time. Butchie gets John prepared to surf, and tells him that if he doesnt want to be in the water for long then to fake a leg cramp so he can leave the water. Shaun, Butchie and John all get in the water, Shaun starts to surf first, and John with him being alittle slow in the head or if he is pretending we dont know but he fakes the leg cramp, bu Butchie tells him to stop it, Joh watches Shaun surf, and suddenly gets up onto this board and starts surfing exactly like Shaun, Butchie is bewildered and they all surf together while Mitch and Sissy watch from the beach, and Mitch tells his wife that he doesnt think it is cancer, but makes up another exuse that it is just a case of surfers ear.

    All in all i think this was a great episode, very strange in parts but still very good, and even though nothing much happens in the episode it still keeps you watching, which is god and hopefully viewers will get hooked like me and start watching it.

    A few things i noticed is that although this is a drama, it has slight sci-fi/supernatural sides to it, like Mitch can float, Shaun seems to be able to bring things back to life, and John seems to be able to copy people's actions perfectly just by watching them and also he seems to have the power to have whatever somebody wants from him in his pockets, e.g. Vietnam Joe asks him for $50 to take him to where Butchie lives and asks him to empty his pockets, he empties them and $50 falls out, in another scene, Butchie asks him for his £1200 back, and he get it out of his pocket, the exact amount, and alos Butchie thinks John has got alot of money and asks him for I.D. and tells him to empty his pockets, he empties them and a Platinum credit card falls out with his name on it, meaning that Butchie got what he wanted the I.D. and also to believe that John is infact rich so he gets 2 thins at the same time. so i think there s definatly something going on with these characters, but it is strange because as you watch the show, it just looks like a typical surf drama but you got the hidden abilities of som of the characters. this is why i like the show, as it is not like a typical drama, there i something more there, but i need to keep watching the show to figure out what they mean.

    Give it a try, you might like it, hell i didnt think i was going to so there must be more people thinking the same as what i did.

    Hope this review helps people with the story, please let me know if you agree or disagree with anything i wrote, as this took along time to write lol =)
  • I'm still having a hard time pin pointing what this show is about...

    It's really unfair to judge a pilot because you really have no idea really where the writers are going.

    I know the show is somewhat about surfing, which I could really couldn't care about, even if my life depended on it. The scene at the end where John surfed it was shot excellently, and it was actually good to see him shut up and not repeating whatever anybody said to him, which was quickly getting somewhat annoying.

    This big question is of course...Who is John?...At this point, nobody knows, one guy thought he was a drug dealer, but he came there to just surf with him.

    I really don't have any theories about what's going to happen on this show, or what's going to happen...It's just far too early to think about that.
  • A stranger, John, comes into town.

    So many new characters, so many points of view, so many issues, in other words: A typical pilot episode.

    There is definitely potential there, with some interesting characters that I hope we will get to know better and will be given a chance to develop. After one episode it's still very hard to say what is going on. Who is John? Did he cause the levitation ??

    A dysfunctional family with lots of room for improvement, both personal and inter-personal. I like the premise even though this first episode was slightly confusing, but that is to be expected. Let's hope the storylines will be developed further and we get to know the characters a bit better.
  • OK but needs some work on!

    The pilot was ok to begin with and even though it has some work to work on. But with pilots that are starting out and the scripts that they are given, there is still time and work for improvement IMHO. The acting helped saved it a little thanks to underrated Bruce Underwood as the head of the Yost clan. Hopefully this will be a start of the improvement if it is going to replace the Sopranos.
  • Disfunctional family who has the typical mixed bag of flawed characters who live and breathe everything there is about surfing. Mix in a non-descript drifter....and the supporting characters...who really cares after having to sit through the episode.

    This show might be interesting for a very small subset of viewers. It's pretty unfortunate but the show has really next to no broad based appeal. The only thing slightly interesting is the drifter John and what he may bring to the storyline and I'm not too convinced so far that his character can follow through on that.

    What makes this show very difficult to watch is that it purportedly replaced Deadwood. If that is actually the case then this show is absolutely horrible. HBO really wiffed with this one. You cannot compare this to their previous run of good quality programming like the Sopranos, Deadwood, Carnivale, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm or even Sex in the City. Whomever greenlighted this should be fired. Poor story arcs and plot, poor casting, and average acting at best. I can't believe the head of programming at HBO would think that this show was better than Deadwood and/or Carnivale. Don't waste your time, this show is worthless.
  • Review of the premiere episode of "John from Cincinnati"

    I really enjoyed the "John from Cincinnati" premiere. It was very well written and put together. There was alot going on in the episode, and there were alot of characters introduced, but i came away understanding everything that went on. It is hard to classify what the genre of the show was, and it can honestly range from comedy to sports drama, or even as far as sci fi. The medium of the show, or the setting of the show is the sport of surfing. It acts as the symbol for the story. It is widely accepted that surfing can connect people, because there is no standard for the sport. Meaning that a wide spectrum of people enjoy to surf. This is shown in the last five minutes of the episode where the three very different members of the Yost family and John go out and surf together. The fights from the episode seem to disapear when they paddle out. Also, seeing John surf like a pro reinforces his mysterious existance. This show is not just about surfing, which was the reason that i watched it in the first place. Also for any other surfing fans out there, notice that Keala Kennelly plays the girl that works in the surf shop. Keala is one of the most famous woman surfers in the world at the moment. If you havent watched this show yet i highly recomend it.
  • This show in unlike anything I've ever seen.

    The potential for this show, based solely on this premiere episode, is tremendous. I don't even know what kind of 'genre' to label it. So many could fit - 'Comedy,' 'Drama,' 'Mystery,' 'Suspense,' 'Science Fiction,' etc.

    The episode begins with a very cool (albeit confusing) sequence. We see the character of John and Linc watching Mitch Yost surf. The first line of dialogue comes from John, who comes out with, 'The end is near.' Linc responds, 'Amen, my brother.' This episode focused on introducing the main characters. And what a wonderful collection of characters they are! One has the power to bring dead creatures back to life (in this episode, the example is a bird); one is a very strange lottery winner who buys a hotel on Imperial Beach; The 'Yost' family could not be more eclectic - a famous Surfing family; and finally, John, who, in this episode, appears to just essentially 'copy' what any other character says and proceeds to 'say' it himself. Picture 'Rain Man' meets 'Little Miss Sunshine' crossed in with a bit of 'The Endless Summer.' I definitely cannot wait to see what happens next...
  • The end is near !

    It starts with Mitch surfing; Linc and John watching, and John says Mitch should get back in the game. It seems John could only say some words, and copies the ones he hears. The scenes with John made me laugh, but it also makes me wonder who he really is. I thought the surfing sequences were remarkable, it feels like you were really surfing with them. Two times this episode you'll see Mitch float in the air. The first time he thinks he has a brain tumor, and the second time is in the police station, where his son Butchie witness's him floating. I thought it was really cool that if you asked John if he had something it would show up in his pockets. They swear a ton of times in this episode, but it didn't really bother me. I love the series, and I'll be a loyal viewer of this show every week.
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