Jeff & Will open the show talking about books they picked up at a recent library giveaway. That leads to a discussion about how they decide which books to have a physical copy of versus an electronic one.
The guys kick off a new, monthly feature where they recap episodes of the sexy, supernatural drama Dante’s Cove, which ran from 2005-2007 on Here TV. Of course, they start from the beginning with Season 1, Episode 1, an episode titled “In the Beginning.”
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at frolic.media/podcasts!
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- Lavender Library website
- Episode 142 – A Visit to Sacramento’s Lavender Library + Book & Movie Reviews on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Brotherhood by Guy Edenbridge on Goodreads
- John Preston on Goodreads
- Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open by Eric Arvin, Abigail Roux, TJ Klune, SJD Peterson, S.A. McAuley, Jason Huffman-Black on Amazon
- S04.20: The “Break In Case of Emergency” Romance Interstitial on Fated Mates podcast
- Dreamers series by Adriana Herrera on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Him series by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy on Amazon | Kobo
- The Extraordinaries series by TJ Klune on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Dante’s Cove Recap
- Dante’s Cove on Amazon Prime Video
- The Colbys on Amazon
- Dynasty on Amazon
- Dressed to Kill on Amazon Prime Video
- Queer as Folk (UK) on Amazon Prime Video
- Queer as Folk (US) on Amazon Prime Video
- Showgirls on Amazon
- Dark Shadows on Amazon Prime Video
- The L Word on Amazon Prime Video
- Melrose Place on Amazon Prime Video
- 90210 on Amazon Prime Video
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Amazon Prime Video
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Coming up on this episode, we kick off a new monthly feature as we recap the sexy, supernatural series “Dante’s Cove.”
Will: Welcome to episode 358 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast. The show for avid readers and passionate fans of gay romance fiction. I’m Will, and with me as always is my co-host and husband, Jeff.
Jeff: Hello, rainbow romance readers. It’s great to have you here with us.
Lavender Library Book Giveaway, and What Makes You Want to Own a Physical Copy of a Book
Before we get into our new feature, I want to take just a little bit to talk about what we did last weekend. For the first time in over a year, we actually made the trip 30 minutes south to Sacramento. Now what on earth could set off this little mini road trip that we did? Well, you know us, it all had to be about books.
The Lavender Library had a huge book giveaway. The library, which we featured back in episode 142 is a Sacramento LGBTQ-focused library. And as they’re preparing to renovate their space, they were giving away a lot of books. Some that they were taking out in the collection because maybe they no longer fit the mission, or because they had multiple copies, and others that they had never cataloged. Ooooooh, so many books. It was so wonderful.
Now, Will and I are extremely dangerous around used book sales and even more so for book giveaways. We filled up a shopping bag full of books with some really great, and often out of print, what I would call vintage stuff.
Now, one of the things I’m most excited about is that we got seven books from the long ago, long defunct publishing imprint called Idol. This was a UK imprint that was back in the late 90s, early 2000s. They put out some super steamy, hot, sexy books, featuring guys hooking up and falling in love, usually set in the UK, which meant there were, you know, you could just envision those accents. This was long before Audible and audio books, folks. We’ve had a few of these books that we bought when they first came out, but we got six novels and a story collection at the book giveaway.
Now I have to tell you, I’m particularly looking forward to reading a book called “Brotherhood” by Guy Edenbridge. Let me just share this blurb with you. Frank, an orphaned young nobleman in medieval Britain, abandons his hopeless love for woodcutter Rob and leaves home, becoming a squire to the handsome knight Vincent de la Tour. But no sooner as he thrown in his lot with the blonde knight that he finds himself being initiated into the secret brotherhood, the Brothers of the Tree of Life. As Frank explores further, he realizes that the brotherhood is actually a cover for a bizarre phallic cult. “Brotherhood” is a hot homoerotic fantasy tale, full of sex magic, sorcery, and extremely raunchy encounters.
Now, I don’t know why that this particularly spoke to me. I mean, I don’t normally read these kinds of books at my normal reading life, but I do have an “Excalibur” thing, like I really liked medieval movies. So, it spoke to me and it’s sitting here in my office waiting for me to just pick it up and start to read this beautifully old book that, you know, has that old book smell, which is never a bad thing.
Now Will you snagged quite a few books for your John Preston collection. And you were super excited about those because you’ve been looking for John Preston books on and off over the years anyway. What’s got you collecting those.
Will: Well, I really adored John Preston. Alex Cain series. And as you mentioned before, these are older titles, and they are out of print. In this particular case, these were first edition titles that came out from Alyson books about a million and a half years ago. So of course, I snapped those up.
Jeff: One other book I was super excited to find is a story collection called “Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open.” This was published back in 2013 and features shorts by a superstar lineup, Eric Arvin, Abigail Roux TJ Klune, SJD Peterson, S.A. McAuley, and Jason Huffman-Black. Now I’d heard about this book back in the day but had never picked one up. And by the time I actually wanted it, it wasn’t easily available anymore. Yet, there it was on the library table, free for the taking. These are some darker, unconventional stories that even within the blurb there’s this line that says that they “threaten to break your heart by cruel twists of fate.”
So clearly, I’m going to need to be in the right frame of mind for this collection, but I am super happy to have it. It was extra special to find when I got it home, I was flipping through it, that this happens to be an autographed copy as well with signatures from TJ, Eric, and Abi, along with another author who’s scribble I actually can’t identify. So, I don’t know who the fourth signature is.
Having just brought 35 books into the house, that’s how many, we were able to stuff into our shopping bag, and all of these books need to find a home somewhere on a shelf, a conversation that actually came up in this past week’s “Fated Mates” podcast, it’s their season 4, episode 20 show. Now in this co-host Sarah MacLean was talking about how she’s moving and actually dealing with packing up all the books that she’s got, which is a topic that we know well from our moves. Part of the discussion that they had in this episode was what do you decide to keep on your bookshelf as opposed to having it in an ebook or some electronic format. It’s a really fun conversation that they have on the podcast. And if you’re a book hoarder like we are, you should really have a listen to it because it’s a lot of fun.
But this got me wondering, especially, you know, bringing all these books into our house. How do we decide what to own as a physical copy that sits on a shelf versus what we’re keeping in that big, magical electronic cloud of e-books and audio books?
Now I don’t know about you, but for me it’s either a book that I just wildly loved, or it’s a book that inspires me, which of course is also something that I wildly love. But it also inspires me and kind of my writing and the writer that I want to be. What do you look for in a book that you want to actually physically own?
Will: Well in a lot of ways, I think it depends on the book itself. It also depends at what point in my life that I have acquired that book. Wanting the book in the first place, but then making the decision to hold onto it for an extended period, those are two different questions you need to ask yourself.
As you were saying earlier, books that you love and are inspired by, and you have a keeper shelf for. For some books, there are just times where you want that physical object that you can tangibly hold because you just love it so much. So, there’s the keeper shelf idea.
And I don’t know for those of you who are listening, there are times you just need to acquire books. I’m certainly not above ordering things online in order to make myself feel better. So, there are those books as well.
There were also titles that are part of a collection, whether it’s a particular series, or a particular author, or books on a certain theme. We all have stuff that we’d like to have and make us happy. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be books. It can be any number of things.
And as I mentioned earlier, there are also times when you acquire books and they mean something to you then, but over time that meaning can change. There was a point in time where I somehow got it into my head, that I needed to acquire all the queer books. That I needed to personally own my own queer library of Alexandria.
Jeff: I remember the day.
Will: I don’t know why I thought that. Well, actually, well if I want it to lie down on the proverbial couch and dig deep into my psyche, we can come up with a lot of reasons why I would want and do that. That’s a conversation for another time.
So, there were titles that I collected during that period that I eventually purged in one of our several moves because the meaning of those books and the reason that I acquired them in the first place had changed.
So, to the question, why we picked up the titles that we did at this Lavender Library giveaway. I really love the author John Preston, and while a lot of his books, aren’t exactly rare, they can be hard to come by. Many of them aren’t available in digital format. So, when I do come across a physical copy, I’ll usually snatch it up and then decide at a later date if it’s something I want to keep in my collection.
And when it comes to those stories from the Idol series that you were just talking about as well, those books are very sexy and an awful lot of fun. But very few of those are available in ebook. So, grabbing those in my opinion was a no brainer.
Jeff: One of the other things I like to do with books that mean a lot to me is I will often get other versions of its cover. There’s a few books along the way that have come out that it’s like, oh, new edition, new covers. Adriana Herrera’s “Dreamer” series, for example, we’ve been rebuying those in paperback because we had them because we adore those books, but the brand new covers that Carina’s been putting on them are simply amazing. So, we have to have those.
There are other books when new additions come out, whether it’s a paperback edition or just a new covering that I’ll get it. Currently, I am having serious debate with myself. If I’m going to buy the brand new covers that Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have put on the “Him” and “Us” books, because frankly they are gorgeous. If I ever get the chance to get the UK editions of TJ Klune’s “Extraordinaries” series, I will snap those up because I find those covers to be gorgeous.
I’m kind of a cover hoarder in some ways, because something about covers and the ways that, you know, books will get new covers just really, really catches my eye occasionally.
So, there’s a little insight into our personal book collecting here. And we’re kind of curious, we would love to know what makes a book something that you need to own the physical copy for. So, if you want to tell us, leave us a comment on this episode’s show notes page.
Dante’s Cove: Season 1, Episode 1 – “In the Beginning”
Will: So, 2022 is obviously a brand new year. So, we thought we try a brand new segment here on the show.
Jeff and I thought it would be fun to set aside some time each month to talk about the series “Dante’s Cove.” Some of you listening are probably big fans of the show, but some of you may have no idea what the heck we’re talking about. “Dante’s Cove” is a paranormal gay soap opera that premiered a little over 16 years ago on the Here TV network.
Jeff: Sixteen years. Sometimes we date ourselves so much.
Will: So we’ve been fans for quite a long time, and we thought it would be fun to just revisit them and take a look back and see if we love it just as much now as we did back then. So without any further ado, let’s just dive right into Season 1, Episode 1, which is appropriately titled “In the Beginning.” Here is the Wikipedia description for Episode 1.
“In 1840, Ambrosius Vallin is engaged to marry Grace Neville on the island town of Dante’s Cove. When she discovers Ambrosius having sex with his valet, she uses her powers as the Avatar, or high priestess, of one sect of the mystical religion, called Tresum, to kill the valet. Grace imprisons Ambrosius in the sub-basement of her home, cursing him with advanced age. The only way he can win his freedom is through the kiss of a handsome young man.
“In the present day, Kevin moves to Dante’s Cove to be with his boyfriend Toby. After moving out of his home to get away from his abusive, homophobic stepfather, he moves in with Toby in Grace’s old house, now the Hotel Dante. Along with Toby’s lesbian artist friend Van and Toby’s childhood friend Adam, who’s a straight trust fund brat, Kevin begins seeing visions and hearing voices calling him by name. During a party, Kevin is drawn into the sub-basement and finds Ambrosius. Ambrosius kisses him, regaining his youth and freedom. Ambrosius uses his own Tresum powers, learned while he was in captivity, to force Kevin to cut his own wrist, landing Kevin in the hospital.”
Okay, so there’s a lot of stuff to unpack here. So let’s just go chronologically through the episode. As the description just mentioned, the show starts off with an extended prologue taking place over 150 years ago, in the town of Dante’s Cove. Something that’s never actually made quite clear is where Dante’s Cove is located. A couple of times, people refer to it as the island or going back to the island. So whether Dante’s Cove itself is the island or is located on an island is never completely explained. And whether it is somewhere in the Bahamas, or the South Pacific is never made 100% clear either. One of the characters, in throwaway line, mentions that he had to travel by plane, train, and bus in order to get there. So we can kind of assume that it is not in the continental US.
Jeff: Like you said, it’s not clear at all. Kevin’s throwaway line when he arrives at Dante’s Cove, makes it sound like it was a bit of a haul. But then, when Toby left where Kevin was to go there, Toby made it sound like, I need to go back to work. So I just need to simply take a jaunt over here.
Will: Okay, wait. You’re jumping way, way ahead.
Jeff: I know. I’m sorry.
Will: We’re talking about 150 years ago. Okay, first, let’s talk about the past. We’ve got Grace and Ambrosius, who are engaged to be married, and Grace catches Ambrosius fucking around with his valet. So she uses her black magic powers to kill this guy, and imprison Ambrosius in her basement. And as per the Wikipedia description, she robs him of his youth, and places a curse on him, sleeping beauty style, where only a hot young guy and a sexy kiss can free him.
Jeff: In fact, it’s never really clear that he’s actually sleeping down there. It’s his whole imprisonment is a little strange. And it’s part of the quirky fun of this thing that nothing is really fully explained. You just kinda got to roll with it. Totally suspend your disbelief and just let them do the shenanigans they’re doing and enjoy the ride.
Will: So it should go without saying that any critique that Jeff and I are about to espouse on is meant from a place of love and kindness.
Jeff: Oh, for sure. I love this series. Even revisiting it, I’m like, this was a whole bunch of fun.
Will: Yeah, this series is like sexed-up and completely wackadoodle. And I love it for all of those reasons and so many more. Let’s talk about the casting. Grace is played by none other than Tracy Scoggins, legendary late ’80s soap actress from “The Colbys” and “Dynasty.” I have always loved her to pieces, and she is a complete hoot on this show.
Jeff: She knows the show that she is on and she is playing that for everything that it’s worth. It is an absolute pitch-perfect performance in a role that could really get out of hand for some people on how they’re going to play it. I would say she has the perfect amount of badassery in her role because you don’t want to screw around with her.
Will: Her beloved Ambrosius is played by William Gregory Lee, who you may or may not recognize he’s been in the business for quite a long time. In this case, I think it’s perfect casting. He’s got this…He’s got the looks, the square jaw, the dark, shiny, bad boy hair. He’s kind of amazing.
Jeff: He looks every bit the part that he’s supposed to look both in the past sequences, and then as we move into the present day as well. It’s perfect.
Will: One last thing, before we flash forward to the present, is the adorable ridiculous accents both of them are using.
Jeff: Especially Tracy’s, it’s a little all over the place.
Will: Supposedly, I have no idea what they’re…I have no idea what their specific reasons for doing this is. But I guess because it’s taking place in ye olden times, they’re both using these sort of vague British accents. It’s an accent that Tracy uses throughout the rest of the series. But once Ambrosius moves forward in time, he ditches the accent. It’s really funny.
Jeff: Maybe it’s part of that witchcraft learning he did while he was all tied up that he ditched the accent at some point. Because how he learned anything tied up and shackled in 100 and whatever years, I don’t know.
Will: So flash forward to the present day, where our title card tells us that we are in Laguna Beach, though we are quite obviously still in the same location. This first season of “Dante’s Cove” was filmed in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which gives it a very sexy, tropical Gothic look that’s really, really interesting. And I personally prefer these locations to the ones that they use in seasons two and three when they actually moved production to Hawaii, which also confuses the genuine location of “Dante’s Cove.” But here we are in Laguna Beach, and our two main love interests Toby and Kevin meet up. And in soap opera parlance, we could probably consider Toby and Kevin are a super couple.
Jeff: That’s fair. I would kinda agree.
Will: Because their relationship and the drama surrounding that is really going to be the focus of the rest of the seasons of this series. Kevin the pretty blonde twink is played to perfection by Gregory Michael, and his older boyfriend Toby is played with charm and aplomb by Charlie David. Toby picks up Kevin in a cab. They’re going to be headed back to his place. And in the course of their drive there, they have sex in the backseat.
Their cab driver is played by director Sam Irvin. This scene is actually a playful reference to Brian De Palma’s “Dressed to Kill.” Sam Irvin worked as assistant to De Palma on that particular movie, and in the beginning of “Dressed to Kill,” Angie Dickinson has some anonymous sex with a stranger that she meets at the Met. And in their cab drive back to his place, they have some fun in the backseat. So that’s what this scene is referencing.
Jeff: I had no idea.
Will: So once they get back to Toby’s temporary digs, they proceed to have a whole lot of sex.
Jeff: What would you say the sex to other story ratio is in the pilot? Do you think it’s about 50/50?
Will: If we had to put a number on it, most likely.
Jeff: And this is not a bad thing I want to say, particularly very pretty people.
Will: 50/50 is actually being pretty generous. The plot in episode 1 is actually very, very thin. Most of it is just a setup for some of the action that’s going to take place in episode 2. But let’s take a second to talk about all of the sex that these people are going to be having for the rest of the episode. And I think the high erotic content of this particular series is actually part of a product of its time. Sixteen or 17 years ago, we did have gay characters on television and some gay storylines.
But there wasn’t really much that network television was doing other than the gay best friend trope. It was on other cable series like “Queer as Folk” and “The L Word” where we were able to explore a lot of different stuff, and of that stuff was gay sex. They could show a whole lot more of that on pay cable channels of which Here TV was.
So there’s a lot of really pretty actors having a lot of softcore sex in this first season of “Dante’s Cove,” so much so that it kind of reminds me of some of the erotic content that channels like Cinemax was doing. People of a certain age, meaning us, certainly remember the olden days were late-night Cinemax was known as Skinemax. That’s where they put on all of their sexy original programming. And that’s what these first couple of episodes of “Dante’s Cove” kind of remind me of.
Jeff: That’s a nice analogy.
Will: So in between all of their sexing, Toby and Kevin have a fight about the future of their relationship. Toby’s visit is almost over. He’s gonna have to go back home to Dante’s Cove, but he makes sure Kevin knows that if he ever wants a real commitment, he’s there waiting. Kevin goes home. He’s living with his mom and his stepdad. They have a really big fight. He decides that sex with his irresistible boyfriend is preferable so off to Dante Cove he goes.
Jeff: For that whole planes, trains, and automobiles affair to get there.
Will: And when Kevin arrives at the Hotel Dante, Toby isn’t home, he’s out at work. So it’s up to one of the other residents, a guy named Cory, to greet him and show him around. And of all the people that Kevin meets, only a few of them are of consequence, meaning that they’re going to be characters that are going to be making a difference to the plotline later in the series. I think that production sort of stacked the deck with pretty people so that they would have a couple of different directions if they were moving forward with more episodes.
Jeff: From a casting point of view, it definitely could have come from the WB or the CW. I don’t remember exactly which network was happening at the time, but it’s definitely in that line of very pretty people casting.
Will: Speaking of CW, we’ll get to that in just a moment. The first character of consequence is Cory himself. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do in this episode other than walk around in his underwear…
Jeff: …and a chainmail shirt, or a chainmail looking sort of shirt.
Will: But he is going to have more to do in episode 2. Cory played by Josh Berresford. The role of Cory as written, you could probably politely refer to it like in the biz as thin. There’s not a lot of stuff for him to do, but I think he’s charming enough to pull off his part. So as I said, he takes Kevin around to the other inhabitants of the Hotel Dante. Instead of having him organically meet people and interact with them through a plot, they just go from room to room and introduce everybody. It’s rather clunky and awkward. But what are you gonna do?
Jeff: Well, even on the tour, they go, “And here’s the basement,” just so that we all know that we’re in the same place.
Will: Well, the basement is important. We have to know it’s there.
Jeff: It’s where the beer is.
Will: One of the people we meet is Adam. And through some expository dialogue, we learned that he is a longtime friend of Toby’s. And here, in the first season, he is played by none other than Green Arrow himself, Stephen Amell.
Jeff: It is about what would you say? 10 years before he dons…
Will: Almost, pretty close.
Jeff: …the green arrow mantle. And ooh, boy, I don’t know if it was the material or what, but Stephen is a little wooden in this episode.
Will: Wooden. That’s actually being quite generous.
Jeff: It’s like, dude, you act better than this. I know you do.
Will: He’s fresh-faced and adorable. And this is obviously one of his very first on-screen credits. Of all the nudity that happens during season 1, we do get to see Stephen’s butt, and that is immortalized in the opening credits of the show. But here, like I said, there’s not a lot to the character of Adam, but Steven is obviously very green. He looks really uncomfortable and is quite terrible throughout the first episode.
Jeff: I’m interested to see because I don’t remember well if he matures in these season 1 episodes. Or if maybe that’s why he exited the show, and they recast this role in seasons two and three.
Will: So the character of Adam will become more important in the future. Another character that also proves to be important is Van, the artistic lesbian.
Jeff: She is one of my very favorite characters in this series. She’s a little clunky in this first episode, as so many are kind of laying some of this groundwork. But she is really important and she really proves to be one of the more memorable characters in “Dante’s Cove” for me.
Will: Yeah. Van the character played by Nadine Heimann sort of fills Kevin in on the backstory of the Hotel Dante and the spooky nature of the island, that whole sort of thing. She’s an artist, and she paints these weird modern abstract pieces of art that detail some of the nefarious goings-on. She’s also a really close friend to Toby. And as the relationship between Toby and Kevin is tested over and over again, she proves to be a good friend and a solid ally.
Jeff: Absolutely. And I think that’s what makes her obviously one of the more memorable characters just because she’s on their side all the time.
Will: Toby does eventually get home from work and when he does, he immediately joins Kevin in the shower and they have lots of hot sweaty sex.
Jeff: Can we just say that everybody on “Dante’s Cove” is sweaty when they’re around the hotel? Everyone is slick, oiled, sweaty, something…They all have a glisten and glow, male and female. There’s a glistening glow that says, we’re hot and we’re bothered but we also need air conditioning.
Jeff: Even when we get to the hospital later, the doctors are sweaty and there are fans blowing. It’s spend some money. Have some air conditioning.
Will: Yeah. The body butter was definitely part of the costume and production design of this particular shoot. It’s kind of amusing how everyone is constantly glowing.
Jeff: And my point to that was, why the hot, steamy shower? I would more go for a temperate shower to have sex in because it’s hot everywhere else.
Will: So his first few days at the Dante, Kevin is having a little bit of angst. He’s young, and he’s pretty, and he’s trying to figure out, like, you know, what direction his life is going to take.
Jeff: If he only knew.
Will: So what better solution than to throw a house party? So we have a big party with all of the residents and a bunch of extras in the courtyard of the Dante. And it’s here during this particular segment of the episode that several of the secondary characters end up hooking up. The only one worth noting here is that Van hooks up with a girl named Tina, and she is played by none other than Rena Riffel. Who is that? you might ask. She played the character of Penny, one of the dancers at the Cheetah in the legendary “Showgirls.” And that makes her a big deal in my book.
Jeff: I did not know that little tidbit of information. Do we see her more? I don’t remember if Tina is just a recurring secondary, or is she just gonna kind of float away after the pilot?
Will: She essentially floats away…
Will: …and she is not of any consequence. But Rena Riffel, if you’re out there, we love you. So it’s during this house party that Toby and Kevin decide to sneak away and go to the beach where they proceed to have sex in the sand. And afterwards, under the pretense of going to get them a couple of beers, Kevin goes back to the house and into the basement.
Jeff: Because he’s being called.
Will: He opens up this trapped door and finds Ambrosius all chained up, all wizened and wrinkly. Ambrosius tricks Kevin into kissing him, which restores his youth and frees him from his captivity. Kevin is mildly freaked out by this. So he grabs something, I’m not sure what it is. It’s like a…
Jeff: Like a shard of something.
Will: …a shard of glass or something. He tries to attack Ambrosius, but he ends up using his magical mystical powers against Kevin. And Kevin cuts himself and goes stumbling out of the basement and through the courtyard into the street in front of the hotel where Toby eventually finds him.
Jeff: The partying folks don’t really care that he’s stumbling out. Van is like…
Will: They’re all oiled up and horny. They’re busy.
Jeff: She’s like, he’s left potentially some blood on the sign. That’s interesting. And so instead of maybe going to help him, she goes backwards into the house to go find out the source of the blood. I might have gone the other direction and tried to help him first, but you know, that’s just me. He at least is intercepted by Toby before he can, like, bleed everywhere.
Will: And being the responsible, nice guy that he is, Toby takes him to the hospital, where he’s looked after. But Kevin’s acting kind of strange. He refuses really to see Toby and tells him to get out. So he sulks back to the Dante and cries on Van’s shoulder.
Jeff: The first of many times that will happen.
Will: Meanwhile, Ambrosius has found himself some modern clothes. He took them from someone, I guess. I don’t know.
Jeff: I think he raided Adam’s closet.
Jeff: It looks very much like Adam clothes.
Will: Possibly. So dressed to the nines, Ambrosius goes strutting out of the Dante and into the night, presumably to cause a whole bunch of trouble.
Jeff: To be continued…
Will: And that brings us to the end of episode 1 of “Dante’s Cove.”
Jeff: And just to be clear is a 90-minute episode. It’s essentially movie length, which is why there was so much to cover there. But yeah, I enjoyed coming back to it even with all of its ridiculousness. It doesn’t really read 2006 other than some of the flip phones. The flip phone is always a good giveaway when you’re looking at somebody’s cell phone, what’s going on there in terms of the year. But yeah, I enjoyed it just as much now as I did then because it’s just kooky fun.
Will: Yeah, looking back, I really do love it just as much now as I did, then, despite some of the, you know, clunky narrative elements. I mean, that’s really not the most important thing when you’re talking about a supernatural gay soap opera. I really love this cast. They’re all incredibly good-looking. Each of them brings their own take to the characters, despite not having a whole lot to work within this very first episode. There’s a lot of personality and a little bit of humor. I really love everyone and I think they do an excellent job.
Jeff: Yeah, I think when you look at, especially your four principals: Charlie, David, and Gregory Michael, and William Gregory Lee and Tracy Scoggins, those principal four, who will carry a lot of the heavy lifting throughout the series, these four know what they’re doing. They know that…I think, you know, even regardless of script, they know what they need to bring to the role. I mean, Charlie’s really great with this nice guy going kind of, “What the hell is going on here?”
Will: He’s very earnest and sincere. He’s sort of the everyman, the rock on which all the craziness sort of revolves around.
Jeff: And for Gregory as Kevin, I mean, because he has to whip back and forth between being sort of kinda maybe possessed and sort of dreamily in love with Toby. And just kind of he spends the entire three seasons kind of having to bounce around with all the crap that, you know, kind of happens through and around him. Yeah. The principal four really help hang this whole thing together.
And, you know, for a pilot, I mean, you look at any pilot almost any show, and a pilot has to do a lot of heavy lifting to kind of introduce the world and what’s going on, and here it all is. And I think this does as well as so many other shows. 15, 16 years ago, were doing when they were trying to put out there a grand thing that was about to happen over the course of multiple episodes. We own the DVDs to the series because that’s the kind of fans that we were. And we watched the behind-the-scenes of season 1.
And they were looking to build a show that was reminiscent of, how many shows do they list? Like, maybe a dozen. But some of the principal takeaways I took were like “Dark Shadows,” “Melrose Place,” you know, a little “90210,” a little “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and pulling in all these different things and trying to smash it into one program, which, you know, I was satisfied with their outcome.
Will: Yeah. As we wrap things up here, let’s talk about how you can view “Dante’s Cove.” As Jeff mentioned, the entire series was available on DVD, is currently out of print. For any hardcore fan, those discs should be relatively easy to hunt down, though prices are bound to be rather exorbitant. You can also watch the entire series streaming on Amazon. You can either purchase each episode individually or as part of your subscription to Here TV on Amazon Prime.
Will: Now, this episode’s transcript is brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, simply head on over to the show notes page for this episode at biggayfictionpodcast.com.
Jeff: So, have you watched “Dante’s Cove?” Do you have fond memories of it like we do? Or are you going to check it out now because we’ve just told you all about this fun first episode? Let us know by leaving a comment on that very same show notes page for this episode, which is number 358.
Will: All right, I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up next on Thursday in episode 359, it’s time for our January Big Gay Fiction Book Club pick.
Jeff: Make sure to join us for our discussion of the super sexy, bad boy meets virgin romance, appropriately titled, “Bad Boy” by Emma Alcott. We love this book, which features one of our very favorite tropes. It’s all about forced proximity.
Will: On behalf of Jeff and myself, we want to thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kind of stories that we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Production assistance by Tyson Greenan. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.