What does actor Ed O'Neill—who played the slovenly Al Bundy on Married With Children—have in common with former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Luke Perry? That's easy—they've both been cast in a HBO drama about surfers.
At first glance that may sound bad, but consider this: HBO's track record for producing award-winning and edgy television is stellar. The Sopranos, the recipient of multiple Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes, and the hilariously dark series Six Feet Under, also a Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner, are just two examples of the boundary-pushing capabilities of the network. And now they've decided a show about drug abusing wave riders will provide comparable entertainment.
Filming for the pilot of John from Cincinnati—a drama that follows a family of talented surfers who've fallen from grace—began this November in Imperial Beach, California. David Milch, a former English literature lecturer at Yale, and multiple Emmy Award winning writer and producer, who co-created NYPD Blue and spearheaded the acclaimed HBO series Deadwood, has signed on as the executive producer. Slated for a 12 episode run on HBO in the summer of 2007, John from Cincinnati was described by an article in the New York Times as "surf noir," a genre that's the polar opposite of the beach blanket cheese and upbeat surf pop typically found in most Hollywood portrayals of the sport. Adding to the darker than usual themes, will be supernatural forces, which also will play a role in the plot.
At this point, however, HBO remains tightlipped on the exact course of the show as well as the specifics of the personnel involved; partly because Milch is a proponent of allowing his audience to approach his work with an unsullied perspective, and partly because the project's details are still being fine-tuned by the network.
But if you're worried about characters like Al Bundy and Dylan McCabe spoiling the broth, descriptions of the roles O'Neill and Perry will likely assume, as well mini-profiles on some of the other key players involved, have been listed below: