A recent MetaFilter comment of mine, reproduced for fanciful/archival reasons:
Milch has been working on Luck in one form or another for a long time, and I'm so glad to see he's found a way to work it final form. I read the pilot script a while back (thanks T. --wa.) and it's both (1) very Milch and (2) not Deadwood, so the usual complaints will apply from the usual folks.
John from Cincinnati was an astonishing piece of work but hard to categorize, predict, or map onto other contemporary TV shows. For one thing, it's an extremely optimistic show; its plot is 'God figures 9/11 is just the beginning of these idiots destroying themselves, so he sends an autistic Jesus to visit some junkies and washouts in a surfing town to give them helpful don't-destroy-yourself advice.' Its story, meanwhile, involves said washouts and junkies accommodating divine experience and discovering their own interdependence and inseparability. It's a generational story, closely observed in interpersonal terms, yet (this is the hardest part) its strategies of representation are in no small part iconic and evocative.
Which is to say the entire show has the hallucinatory intensity and spiritual focus of the Season One Deadwood finale - in which Cochran prays for God's pity and forgiveness and (for reasons both biographical and metaphorical) Swearengen bestows it - but without the generic reassurances and archaism-tolerance settings of that earlier show. It helps to see JfromC as a companion piece to Deadwood, clarifying and expanding on its 'metaphysical' themes. It's a Gospel, more John(!) than Mark, but it's also a Revelation story - and (here's the tough bit) the symbolic and (let's say) 'characterological' or realistic dimensions of the show exist in unfamiliar proportions. Without the assortment of conditioning signals and prefatory gestures that Westerns and cop shows provide, you've gotta take everything about the show on faith.
Which is (surprise!) one of the main points of the show itself anyhow.
If you're interested in Milch, you should unquestionably listen to his Writers Guild lectures from a couple of years back - during the writers' strike - found here. Scroll down to the PODCAST entries and the videos below them. After a couple of listens you start to get a sense for how comprehensive and serious the man's thought is - in six hours of lectures he doesn't say anything, not a word, by accident. They're fucking great.