DANTE'S COVE SECOND SEASON
Reviewed by: JimmyO
William Gregory Lee
What's it about
Grace and Ambrosius, a witch and a warlock that have some past issues, I’m talking like 165 years in the past. They find themselves in modern times as their precious home has turned into a place where naked dudes run rampant when they are not having sex with each other, and something about the solstice has all the supernatural folks in a tizzy. Welcome to Dante’s Cove.
Is it good movie?
WARNING… this following feature contains explicit man on man action, full frontal male nudity and cheesy special effects.
If the previous warning freaks you out, there is no reason on earth to continue reading. Imagine if a daytime soap opera merged with Queer as Folk then found its way onto Cinemax Late Night, then you would have Dante’s Cove. A gay themed soap with supernatural elements… you see, in the 18th Century, a witch named Grace Neville (Tracy Scoggins) falls madly in love with warlock boy, Ambrosius Vallin (William Gregory Lee), who looks and sounds more like a hairstylist. One day, in Season one, Grace found Ambrosius taking it in the ass from the butler. In a rage of jealousy she kills the butler by changing his aura, and imprisons “Bro”, as he is later called, until he is kissed by a young man. Well, the two are now back in present time, for some reason, and their home, Dante’s Cove is now the hot spot for gay male models, with a couple of lesbians to keep things even.
Season two (as did Season one) revolves around Kevin and Toby, played with absolutely no testosterone, at all, by Gregory Michael and Charlie David. Both are so weak and sad that it is hard to feel any real sympathy for either of them. I don’t think they are necessarily bad actors, the roles are written with so much saccharine that when “Bro” comes around in his attempt to make Kevin his bitch, that it makes it hard to root for the young lovers. Speaking of “Bro”, him and fellow witch Grace are the antagonists yet they both chew the scenery so much that little is left once they are done. Ms. Scoggins fairs better of the two; after all, she had a chance to play with the big boys in her Dynasty years. And the writing really doesn’t help matters much; it is often obvious and melodramatic that it turns into “camp”, which may actually be their intention. I hope so.
Speaking of “camp”, I can see why this might be an alternative lifestyle favorite. How many television shows offer a gay sex club and show more dick than a West Hollywood locker room? Very few my friends… very few. And the gay aspect does not consist of AIDS, dying of AIDS, living with someone who has AIDS or sheep-herding. The gay aspect is just that, it’s the characters lifestyle and Dante’s Cove is unapologetic about that. But with that in mind, there is a very limited audience for this type of show. I would be very surprised to see a straight dude or even a straight woman gathering around to check out the latest episode of Dante’s Cove. Unless of course straight women are into watching men pound each other in a purely sexual way. How many of you are out there that would call this a turn on? Seriously… I’m curious.
And as for the actors, there are a few diamonds in the rough, including the lovely and charming Nadine Heimann and Erin Cummings who play a lesbian couple that seem to be borrowed from a much better television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Willow and Tara storyline is a little too identical to think that it was not at least talked about at some meeting somewhere. Yet the two are very capable and have a much more realistic relationship than the screaming queens Toby and Kevin. Speaking of Toby, his best buddy Adam (Jon Fleming) and token “straight” dude is also very likeable. His “trapped in the closet”, drug addicted, in love with his best friend character is way over the top writing wise, but he still gives a very charismatic performance. But by far, the standout here is Thea Gill who I recently loved in the Masters of Horror: Homecoming episode. She gives the most grounded and very real performance of all. What a great actress, someone give this lady a script she deserves. I’m just sayin’.
Video / Audio
Video: This is a very good Widescreen transfer that offers the viewer a whole lotta dick… and some beautiful shots of Hawaii. The ocean and the sky look incredible.
Audio: The SDH Dolby Digital sounds fine but it did seem to be a bit out of sync. They should call Lance Bass for the next season to put it back… Okay, that was bad, sorry Lance.
The extras are fairly well endowed and they include Commentary from series director Sam Irvin and actor Charlie David on the episodes “Some Kind of Magic”, “Spring Forward” and “The Solstice”. Both are openly gay and they have a very positive vibe regarding the series. Although not the most exciting commentary, they seem like nice enough guys who are trying to give their audience an entertaining guilty pleasure. They also talk about how the final episode was actually two episodes which they had to trim due to budget. Sadly it feels like it, more happens in only five episodes than most episodic television which usually runs 21-22 episodes. There is a reason much of this “season” felt rushed.
There are several “featurette’s” including The Men of Dante’s Cove (3:18) and The Ladies of Dante’s Cove (3:26) and they are pretty self explanatory. Introductions to the characters wrapped up in a nice little package.
Next up come a handful of Deleted Scenes with Directors Commentary (16:42). Most are unnecessary and thus were edited out. They including a little love scene between Thea Gill and Nadine Heimann.
Out on Set (3:32) is a look at three of the openly gay actors on the show including Charlie David, Michelle Wolff and Gabriel Romero. They talk about working on a gay themed show and the challenges of being open about their sexuality as actors.
And finally, we get Backlot (20:08) which is your basic behind the scenes with the actors talking about their work. I am really surprised at how unlike her character Tracy Scoggins seems to be. She comes across as much sweeter and frankly a whole lot prettier than her character Grace. And we also find that Charlie David is happy that Jon Fleming never wears a shirt. But the biggest problem with this feature, much of it seems to be recycled from the other featurettes.
Don’t forget about the Trailers. They include “The Lair”, “Dante’s Cove Season 2”, “Shock to the System”, “The DL Chronicles”, “Race You to the Bottom” and a promo for HERE!.
Dante’s Cove is not for everybody. It is full of fairly explicit gay sex and full frontal nudity. That may turn off many of you out there. But if this is your type of thing, you might find some fun with this “adult soap opera” loaded with witchcraft, possession and naked dudes. It’s pure camp but offers a few surprises with some winning performances from Nadine Heimann, Erin Cummings, Jon Fleming and especially Thea Gill. But the scripts are not really all that good and many of the actors can’t carry the dialogue very well… I won’t even bring up the awful special effects. But it is not a show that is meant to be taken seriously, kind of like The Love Boat with gay sex. Yes, this may not be your kind of entertainment, but for its core audience, it may well be the “guilty pleasure” that it claims to be on the DVD box, which may satisfy without being straight out porn.