John From Cincinnati

EntertainmentTelevisionFamilyHBO (tv network)24 (tv program)Entourage (tv program)Rebecca de Mornay

You've been seeing those commercials for "John From Cincinnati" for a while now, right? And no doubt you're frustrated by how, no matter how much HBO teases it, you still can't make heads or tails of what its actually about, right?

Well, you've been warned—unless you want to spend the next 10 Sunday nights with that exact same feeling, "John" may not be a summer viewing commitment you want to make.

Following a dysfunctional family of surfers, "John" is the story of the Yosts. Dad Mitch (Bruce Greenwood) was a SoCal surf legend until he blew out his knee; his son Butchie (Brian Van Holt) was off to an equally promising surfing career, until the temptations of fame (i.e. drugs), did him in; Butchie's phenom surfing son Shaun (Greyson Fletcher), in the custody of his grandparents, is the family's last hope; and Mitch's estranged wife/manager Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay) has now channeled all the energy and trust she had in her husband and son onto her grandchild. Nope, no pressure there.

And then, of course, there's the titular John (Austin Nichols). A naïve, child-like stranger, John is given to repeating what other people say, tossing off his own seemingly profound proclamations ("The end is near" seems to be a favorite) and making bizarre things happen—like Mitch's sudden ability to levitate—in his wake.

But here's the thing: It's summer, and we've just spent a whole TV season dissecting every last bit of minutiae in shows like "Lost," "Heroes," "24" and "The Sopranos" (not to mention those two-a-week viewings of "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars"). Frankly, at this time of the year, even "Big Brother" seems a little too emotionally taxing to jump into.

Not to say there aren't some compelling moments and deep, meaningful life lessons to be gleaned from the Yosts—the show is the creation of Emmy-winning storytelling genius and "Deadwood" creator David Milch, after all.

Still, is it really so shallow to prefer spending our summer nights hanging with Vinnie and the boys on "Entourage" instead? This might be more thought-provoking, but…well, that might be the problem. Don't judge us.

"John From Cincinnati" premieres Sunday, June 10, at 10:05 p.m. ET on HBO.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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EntertainmentTelevisionFamilyHBO (tv network)24 (tv program)Entourage (tv program)Rebecca de Mornay