Support Big Gay Fiction Podcast on PatreonJeff & Will talk about the K-drama Romance is a Bonus Book, and the coffee table book Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek.

The guys continue their deep dive on Dante’s Cove as they discuss Season 2, Episode 1, “Some Kind of Magic.”

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Show Notes

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Will: Coming up on this episode, we’re going to continue our recap of the gay supernatural soap opera, “Dante’s Cove.”

Jeff: Welcome to episode 368 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, the show for avid readers and passionate fans of gay romance fiction. I’m Jeff, and with me as always is my co-host and husband, Will.

Will: Hello, rainbow romance readers. We are so glad that you could join us for another episode.

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Will: Now, before we get into our discussion of “Dante’s Cove,” we wanted to tell you a little bit about some of the things that we’ve been reading and watching lately.

One show we both absolutely fell in love with is called “Romance is a Bonus Book.” And it was our first real foray into K-drama. And I got to tell you, this show is so sweet and funny and heartfelt and dramatic. Seriously. I loved it to pieces.

The story focuses on two lifelong friends, Dan-i and Eun-ho and in the first episode we see that a single decision leads the two of them down two very different paths. Eun-ho is a successful author, university lecturer, senior editor and founding member of a publishing company. And, oh yes. He happens to be one of the most beautiful men in all of Korea. Dan-i’s life on the other hand has completely fallen apart. She literally has nothing, and she’s really struggling when their paths cross again when she gets an entry level internship at his publishing company.

So, if you’re counting, that’s a slow burn, friends to lovers trope, mixed with workplace romance, and it’s all utterly, completely, wonderfully swoony. And as the series progresses, we learn the ins and outs of the publishing business in Korea, which is fascinating. And we get to know their weird and wonderful coworkers who also have their own complicated love stories to navigate.

I love the two leads so much. Like, oh God, you don’t even know how much. But I also really like the supporting cast. Each of them are so perfect and so compelling, equal parts hilarious and genuine and sincere. Not only is the series sweetly romantic, but there is a deep, abiding love for books present in so much of how the characters interact and they live their lives. It feels like the show was created, especially for me and my obsession for romance and books.

Jeff: And my obsession to. Oh my gosh. I swear this is like the most perfect scripted drama that I’ve seen in months. As you said, it’s absolutely swoony. And the love of books. I mean, the publishing company’s offices it’s like one ginormous library. It was never really clear if that’s all the books that they’ve put out or if they just stock a bunch of books for reference and things. But, oh my gosh.

And you’re right, the story of Eun-ho and Dan-i is really the core of the story and bringing them back together and giving them their second chance, which in and of itself is just amazing the way that it plays out in its slow burn-ness. And I believe there’s age gap there too, because Dan-i is at least, I want to say seven to eight years older than he is. So there is that element in there too.

But then you’ve got all these supporting characters and each and every one of them are so very complex. Even the person who I thought was essentially the villain of the show, who is the director of the publishing company, she was so mind-blowingly complex that by the end of the show, I wanted to know so much more about her and her journey.

Oh, and here’s my obsession with the show. I mean, it just looked gorgeous the way it was shot everything, but even the opening credits. Like, I frustrated Will so badly over the run of this 16 episodes because I made him play the credit sequence every single time. The one time he hit the Skip Intro button I’m like, wait, what? No. They’re gorgeous. The credits were gorgeous. The music was perfect. And I wanted to see that unless we happen to be watching two episodes in a single day, because it was so, oh….

I suspect that we’re going to watch this again at some point. We’ll digest it and maybe come back and watch it again in like six or nine months or whatever. It was so perfect. You’ve got to watch this show, everybody.

Will: “Romance is a Bonus Book” is available to watch on Netflix right now.

Jeff: And you should just go put it in your list immediately. You will not regret that.

One thing I want to talk quickly about is the coffee table book, “Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek” by Daniel Levy and Eugene Levy.

Now, as you might guess from the very title of it, this is the book that is everything you would ever want to know about “Schitt’s Creek.” Eugene and Dan have the byline but everybody who was on the show plays a part in the stories that are told, the cast, the crew, even some of the guest stars get to have a moment within its pages.

It is jam packed with stories about practically every episode has some stories behind it. It talks about from the very beginning, how Eugene and Dan came up with the idea for the show. And then as it moved into production, the aesthetics that they were setting for their characters, how they looked, how they behaved, how the town of Schitt’s Creek looked. How they decided to have those turquoise tiles behind the bed in Moira and Johnny’s room. I mean, it’s down to that detail.

And the thing is, so chock full of amazing details. There are pages devoted to Moira’s wig collection. There are pages devoted to David’s knits, there are pages devoted to all the books that they were ever reading in the show lined up so you can read all their titles, And then some wonderful stories in there as well from the cast talking about how individual scenes or episodes affected them.

There’s a great story from Noah Reid, who did the arrangement to his version of “The Best” that he’s saying in one episode and how he’s stressed sending that over to Dan who took several hours to get back to him. It turns out because Dan was crying so much over what he heard on the demo.

There’s the story of how Dan learned how to lip sync “The Best,” which was an amazing story in and of itself. Oh, it was such a good book. I actually read it over honestly months because I would take it and I’d read a little bit of it in the evenings, getting through a few pages in between other things we were doing.

And it was really nice just taking the time to revisit the series kind of in that slow way. Just moving through the book. If you’re a “Schitt’s Creek” fan, you really need to get this coffee table book because it is such a wonderful time capsule of the wonderful thing that that show was.

Obviously, you could pick it up on Amazon or anywhere that you pick up books. I don’t believe there’s an ebook version. I think you are going to have to get the coffee table hardback, but it’s definitely worth it if you were a “Schitt’s Creek” fan, like we were.

Dante’s Cove: Season 2, Episode 1 – “Some Kind of Magic”

Will: All right. It’s that time. Let’s get down to business and talk some more about “Dante’s Cove.” There were some big changes on this season of the show.

I said it before. I’ll say it again. I love “Dante’s Cove” so hard. It’s been many years since I’ve watched the beginning of season two, and I just enjoy the crap out of it. It’s so much fun.

Jeff: I enjoyed so much of it, but also really looking, for the first time in a long time, how that series pivoted so hard, and yet not at all in season two. So many things changed and so many things stayed the same.

Will: So before we dive into our opinions of this particular episode, here is the IMDb synopsis of season two, episode one, “Some Kind of Magic.” Toby and Kevin struggled to build a relationship while contending with the ordinary obstacles of jobs, troublesome exes, and well-built hookups, as well as the extraordinary obstacles from evil sorcerer Ambrosius in his continuing mission to gain Kevin’s love. Meanwhile, Van decides to commit herself to studying the Tresum Order of Magic, which puts a strain on her relationship with her girlfriend Michelle. Aided with advice from the ghost children, who apparently, are named Stephen and Betty, I did not know that.

Jeff: Yeah, that was new news.

Will: Van and Toby, decided to team up to try and stop Ambrosius, but the final result has drastic consequences.

Jeff: Indeed it did. To be continued.

Will: So “Some Kind of Magic” kicks off with an extended preview. Or essentially a recap of what happened last season, explaining who all the characters are and all the trouble that they got into.

Jeff: Not only did you get the extended previously on, but then I also feel like you got, like, the longest credit sequence ever, which then gave you a whole bunch of more of kind of a look back and almost a look forward into season two. The whole episode is like 53 minutes, and I think we burned like 5 between previously on, and opening title sequence.

Will: Pretty, Yeah, you know, you’re right, pretty darn close.

Jeff: And the thing that I found most intriguing, in the previously on sequence, is if you recall from our previous discussions, Stephen Amell was recast in season two. And they needed to remind you of who Adam was. And they, actually, took the two minutes to reshoot a scene out of season one to put into the previously with the new actor giving us lines that we’d heard before. So I was kind of impressed that they even took the minute to do that to either, you know, ignore that piece and just reintroduce him within season two as who he was, or just use the old thing because this is a budget TV show. So that was my takeaway from the previously on sequence.

Will: Yeah, that was, really, the only explanation we got was the nonexplanation of this casting change. In the audio commentary, of this particular episode on the DVD set, we sit down with actor Charlie David and director Sam Irvin. They explain that Stephen Amell wasn’t available for season two. He was actually off shooting a movie with Richard Attenborough.

Jeff: Fancy. I hope his acting was better in that movie than it was in season one of “Dante’s Cove.”

Will: Well, I think this is a much more egalitarian explanation than the sort of the internet supposition that Stephen was so bad that they had to recast him. That’s not true. And to reiterate, Jeff, and I love and adore Stephen Amell. He’s really, amazing. But “Dante’s Cove” wasn’t exactly a good fit for him.

Jeff: It was not.

Will: So he was replaced with Jon Fleming, and his perfectly sculpted Joan Crawford eyebrows. They are a thing to behold. He’s also actually quite gorgeous, which we’ll get into in just a minute. So we’ve got an extended previously on, then we launch into the extended credit sequence. And in the commentary, Sam Irvin mentions that when they were working on Season One, and they were coming up with a theme song, he had a particular track in mind. He was talking to this singer and she was perfectly willing to let them have it. But negotiations with the record label fell through. They wanted an astronomical amount of money for it. Something that a small show like “Dante’s Cove” just could not afford.

So director Sam Irvin went over to the music supervisor’s house and says this is the situation. And then he essentially sat down one weekend and came up with the main theme song “Dying To Be With You.” Sam wrote the lyrics. The guy kind of just, like, got on the keyboard and came up with the main theme, and they recorded a couple of different versions of it. There’s a harder rock version with the guitar riffs. Then they had a DJ come in later and kind of remix it into a dance mix, which is now the official version that you hear over the opening credits of season two. So that’s the story of the theme song, which is really great by the way.

Jeff: It’s a very effective theme song. I mean, for days after we watched these episodes, it sticks in my brain. It’s a great ear-warm.

Will: So as you’ll recall, at the end of season one, several of our main characters were in peril. Grace used her magic to escape the dungeon underneath The Hotel Dante. Toby was knocked out and then thrown off the end of a pier, and poor innocent belabored Kevin has been caught in Ambrosius’s horny clutches.

Jeff: One of the things of season two, and I won’t spoil too much the end. But I have to wonder why Ambrosius had to conk Toby on the head with some random rock, given the magic upgrades that we see that he’s had in season two? Did he unlock an achievement when he conked him on the head with a rock and got some more goodies? Or what the hell, there were much more effective ways to go than having to be like a caper in the dark and go conk and throw him off a pier?

Will: Sometimes it’s best just to keep it simple. Keep it old school. That’s what I say. So as episode one of season two opens, Kevin escapes Ambrosius, runs away, and he ends up finding Toby washed ashore on the beach. Grace finds a hunky, naked surfer and sucks the life out of him giving her a glamorous modern makeover.

Jeff: Indeed, not only did she lose her old lady hag sort of look, but she also got a fabulous red dress and some strappy shoes. And, you know, it was an entire makeover from that surfer dude.

Will: In the commentary, they explain that Tracy Scoggins is a real team player. And they knew they needed Grace, to look really, damn good. But because of the budget on this particular show, they really didn’t have any money to provide Tracy with any high-end looks. So essentially, Tracy Scoggins packed up her entire wardrobe and flew it across the ocean, and most of the costumes that you see Grace wear in season two belong to Tracy Scoggins herself.

Jeff: I can believe that because they look really good. I mean, she costumes herself really well. At least through this episode.

Will: Tracy looks amazing, due in no small part that during the filming of season two, Tracy was apparently preparing to run a marathon. So anytime that she had off, she was out running around Hawaii.

Jeff: Nice

Will: Doing some hardcore training. She looks flawless. It’s really good. Now as we mentioned before, season two was shot in Hawaii as opposed to season one, which was shot in the Caribbean. That means we’ve got a whole slew of new locations.

Jeff: Not the least of which is the Dante itself.

Will: The new Hotel Dante is a beautiful estate that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Jeff: They picked up the headstone that was the marker for the Hotel Dante, moved it from the Caribbean, and plopped it down at the entryway to this estate that honestly looks like one of the B&B types of places one would find at a Hallmark film that some…which they had. It does not have any of the Gothicness that the original Dante had. And there is one throwaway line, about midway through the episode, from Tracy Scoggins, as Grace walks into the Dante going, it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do for a place…

Will: Exactly.

Jeff: Indeed.

Will: Exactly.

Jeff: It was a magic coat of paint.

Will: Rumour has it that apparently, this is where Elvis stayed while he was shooting “Blue Hawaii” several decades earlier. So that’s this place has, you know, one big claim to fame.

Jeff: Maybe it has its little own haunting going on?

Will: One thing that struck me, when we first see the Hotel Dante and have this sort of establishing shot of the entire building, the roofline is really steeply pitched. And the first thing I thought when I saw it is that it reminds me of a Howard Johnson’s,

Jeff: Oh, my God, it’s okay…

Will: It’s a very…

Jeff: …very orange. And there you go.

Will: It’s a very specific look. That look came from a very specific time. Anyway, that’s just what popped in my head when I first saw it. So next, we meet one of the many new characters in this particular season. It’s Michelle, Van’s long-suffering girlfriend played by actress Aaron Cummings.

Jeff: And where was she in season one? It’s like, are you just somewhere else on the island that we didn’t get to see you or…?

Will: Well, it’s interesting because Van and Michelle had this conversation about Van’s commitment issues, which sort of kind of explains who she was hooking up with at the party in season one. Anyway, the producers and the writers wanted to give Van a much more stable influence in this season, as she goes way out there and starts, you know, playing around with magic books, and like all the other stuff that she’s gonna be getting into in this season. They wanted to give her sort of, like, a grounding relationship.

Jeff: Toby has got Kevin. She could have Michelle.

Will: Yeah. I really love Erin Cummings. She’s really amazing.

Jeff: She managed to make the character somebody who you believe she was there. You just didn’t see her before? Because it had me second-guessing myself, like, was she in season one? Was she there? Did I miss it? I didn’t watch them that long ago. So I mean, kudos to her for, like, finding the right tone to strike to make us believe she was an off-screen presence somehow to Van earlier. I don’t think everybody could have pulled that off.

Will: So Grace meets Bro as they both just happened to be strolling along the same stretch of beach. And this scene sort of reestablishes the contentious relationship that they have.

Jeff: I love every time they’re together. They play off each other so well, between William Gregory Lee, and Tracy Scoggins. It’s just awesome to watch them chew up each other.

Will: And we hope you get comfortable with this particular stretch of sand.

Jeff: Indeed.

Will: As revealed in the commentary, this beautiful little piece of, like, this sort of Crescent Beach location, which is the beach location for the entire season

Jeff: The cove.

Will: They did not have the time or the money to, like, Scout various locations, and spend a lot of time doing that. So every beach scene is going to be taking place right there. They do their best to mix it up and like, shoot from different angles. But it was essentially this one location that they had for one or two days. And everyone that had a scene on the beach, that’s where they got it done.

Jeff: It’s the Cove.

Will: Yeah, when you’re shooting, like, 10 to 14 pages a day, you don’t have time to be precious about stuff. You know, go in and do the work. Get it done. Kevin and Michelle end up having a heart-to-heart about relationships. Kevin is primarily worried about how he’s perceived by other people at the Dante. Primarily, he doesn’t want to be seen as Toby’s, like, kept boy.

Jeff: It was nice to see that this was brought over from season one too because he talked about that a couple of times in the first season as being kind of a thing that he wanted to pay his own way and stuff. And it was nice that there’s consistency in that little story thread as well.

Will: Meanwhile, Ambrosius is at the local bar H2Eau, spelled E-A-U, to give it some class, I guess. And he’s commiserating with Adam about the whole Kevin debacle.

Jeff: Using his new little Jedi mind tricks that he’s picked up.

Will: Oh yeah, he does this thing where he, like, waves his hands.

Jeff: It’s very Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Will: Bro just doesn’t understand why Kevin keeps rejecting him. Adam suggests that his old-timey vibe…

Jeff: Looking like death…

Will: …Is a bit of a turnoff. So Ambrosius does the sensible thing. He goes and digs up his own grave as one does. And his mother apparently long ago hid a treasure chest there. So he uses those ancient gold pieces to finance a brand new look.

Jeff: Which looks remarkably similar because it’s all black. It’s just current designer black now.

Will: He gets a haircut. He ditches the wonky accent. It’s a brand new Bro for a brand new day.

Jeff: A few interesting things about that. He gets his currency exchanged with the same guy who collects the rent at The Dante, Kai, who we see a few times over the season. Kai doesn’t seem to blink an eye at getting these doubloons thrown at him. It’s like okay, whatever, I’ll get you some actual cash money for that. And it does bring to mind, what the hell did mom think was going on? Did she know that Ambrosius had been, you know, cross-graze one too many times and got boarded up and may one day need that money should he get set free? Or was it just my son’s gone. I’m gonna bury this instead of an actual body down there. It’s very strange.

Will: Once again, you’re overthinking it.

Jeff: One of those unexplained things on “Dante’s Cove.” It does let Ambrosius upgrade, however, from the lighthouse layer into a fancy new dig.

Will: Oh yeah, he’s got a nice place. Super nice place. Anyhow, Van still has the Book of Tresum that she took from the historical society in season one. She’s got it hidden under her bed.

Jeff: Yeah, because that’s the safe place to keep it. She doesn’t want her girlfriend to find it. So of course, you just put it right under the bed where it can just, you know, be seen at the moment’s notice.

Will: So since she experimented with the whole magic stuff in season one, she’s really itching to try it again. So she talks Toby into, like, casting a spell to help him remember who conked him over the head earlier because he has the merest whisper of amnesia. He doesn’t quite remember what Ambrosius and Corey did to him.

Jeff: And maybe a concussion. Never went to the hospital for that one. That’s me overthinking it again.

Will: So they start casting this spell, like, cue the wind and lightning. But Michelle interrupts them. She loves Van a whole lot. But she is not into this “voodoo stuff.”

Jeff: Yes. Can we point out too that the weather improved substantially when they went to Hawaii?

Will: So much better.

Jeff: I mean, you know, if it was dark, in season one, there was usually lightning and thunder and wind and stuff going on. The only wind, rain moment that happens here is when the magic is actually being, you know, done. And otherwise, it’s sunny, tropical. It’s Hawaii, folks. And interestingly, there’s not a lot of nighttime scenes, at least in this first episode, whereas previously, it was mostly shot in the dark when they were at Turk’s and Caicos. So, you know, I’m sure it was cheaper to shoot in the daylight than to shoot at night. But yeah, the weather is much more consistent here.

Will: So next up, Kevin stops by H2Eau. looking for Toby, and he runs into Ambrosius who in turn, uses his Jedi Mind Tricks and casts a forgiveness spell. So they’re like besties now or something.

Jeff: Ambrosius wants to be a bestie really bad. He’s just kind of making it up as he goes along.

Will: Incidentally, we get introduced to another character, a beautiful, mysterious, glamorous woman who walks into town…

Jeff: On the beach…

Will: We have no idea who she is. But she’s played by actress Thea Gill from “Queer as Folk.” We’ll talk more about her specific character in the next episode.

Jeff: Yeah, it was a really interesting moment because she walks by Van and Toby on the beach, on that one segment of beach. And that’s all you see of her. They don’t make an acknowledgment of her. She doesn’t acknowledge them. It’s just kind of there. You get more about her in the coming next with stuff at the end of the episode that you do, actually, within this particular 55 minutes of the episode. It’s kind of weird, but it was what it was.

Will: So Ambrosius is back at his brand new place. And he’s basically getting down with his bad self as he fantasizes about Kevin?

Jeff: In the mirror, which of course will come into play many more times over the course of what’s left of this series.

Will: Cory interrupts him.

Jeff: Poor Cory.

Will: And now remember, he’s still in like, full-on Renfield mode. So he decides to service Ambrosius In the very first sex scene of this new season?

Jeff: There’s still a lot of skin in this, but there’s much less sex happening, at least in this first episode.

Will: Well, you’re right. In this first episode, there has been a lot of incidental nudity, but no real like bump and grind Skinemax sex scenes just yet. This is the first and it’s kind of intense as Ambrosius is doing Cory. He’s essentially looking in the mirror and imagining what it would be like to be with Kevin again. So it’s like a twofer. At the same time, Toby and Kevin are making out. But Kevin puts brakes on things because he’s still feeling awkward about the perceived power imbalance between the two of them. Toby’s a few years older. He’s essentially paying for everything right now. Kevin is the, like, the pretty young twink, the new guy in town. He doesn’t really have any job prospects just yet. And that brings us to the finale of this first episode of season two. Now, when Van was trying to cast her spell earlier, Grace could like feel that specific energy…

Jeff: There is a disturbance to the force.

Will: …So she went out searching for her. So she drops by Van’s place and Van is like doing, you know, her painting and like her thing. And they get to talking and they’re reminiscing about the past of the Hotel Dante, because Van has courses, like, into the history of the place. But Van suddenly realizes that Grace is a witch, and she’s there to get the book of the moon.

Jeff: It was very interesting because Grace, you know, wigged out seeing a painting that to eye depicted what had happened years before with Ambrosius and his lover. I don’t know how she got that from that painting. I certainly didn’t see that in that painting. But you know, everybody has their artistic eye.

Will: So let’s dig just slightly just a little bit deeper on this. Season one kicks off with an extended prologue kind of detailing Grace’s and Ambrosius’s history. How they were supposed to get married, but he was hooking up with his Butler. It was like a whole thing. Now Van being a history buff and loving the weird dark, Gothicness of the hotel Dante, apparently read about this particular incident in Grace’s and Ambrosius’s life. And she used that story to create a painting/collage. It’s a really odd art piece. It’s got like a pentagram and two eyes and two blobby forms that are supposed to represent Grace and Ambrosius, I guess?

Jeff: Maybe?

Will: In the commentary director Sam Irvin mentioned that that was one of the few paintings that they were able to find After season one and reuse, the eyeball painting that Grace freaks out about. Everything else had to kind of be redone because they just got lost. They don’t know where they ended up.

Jeff: Somebody in Turks and Caicos has a little collection maybe…?

Will: I guess so of “Dante’s Cove” art. So yeah, Grace freaks out and she’s mad at Van about painting this very intimate moment in her life. Van realizes that grace is the witch in question. And there’s a wonderfully amusing Wizard of Oz Reference. Grace reaches down to grab the book of the moon, but just like the “Wicked Witch of the West,” sparks shoot out from the book as she reaches for it. Just like in “The Wizard of Oz,” when the Wicked Witch of the West is trying to grab the ruby slippers, that was a very specific reference that they put in there on purpose.

Jeff: And it was brilliant.

Will: So Grace is all pissed off, and she’s about to use all of her Tresum magic, cue the wind machine and the lightning. But Van uses the book as a shield protecting her. Grace realizes that this is probably not the best situation. So she takes herself out of the equation, she goes, poof, and she disappears.

Jeff: These people can walk up when they want to, but they can also just go, poof. It’s kind of amusing. Here’s something I wanted to ask because I didn’t ask this when we were watching it. There’s a moment where we find out that Grace owns The Dante. Has that always been the case? Is this supposed to be like the home where she discovered Ambrosius, or is this her family home or just something that she happens to own? Or is this one of those things that they just threw in for season two?

Will: No, Grace has always owned the Hotel Dante. Remember, in season one, there’s the dungeon where she kept Ambrosius chained up for presumably hundreds of years as because it was Grace’s house. It was part of her…

Jeff: The family property holdings or something?

Will: Yeah,

Jeff: That makes sense. It’s just maybe it was never overtly said that she owned The Dante until now.

Will: Grace has money from her property, Ambrosius has gold doubloons. That’s how they acquired their wealth in the modern-day era. Anyway, back to our discussion. Speaking of Ambrosius, Toby follows Cory to Bro’s place and he watches as he kills Cory, and Toby tries his best to rescue Cory, but he is at Ambrosius’s mercy. And as the episode fades to black, Bro is going to kill him once and for all with a red hot ball of digital magic.

Jeff: Which leads me back to what I asked originally, where you can have a red hot ball of digital magic. Why do you conk somebody on the head with a rock? And like I said, maybe the conk in him, you know, unlocked a little something. Now he has the red hot ball of digital magic to be able to use going forward.

Will: So once again, Toby is in peril. What will happen?

Jeff: Come back next month. We’ll tell you all about it.

I really like this. They’re doubling down in the paranormal. And being a little less sexy, at least in this episode. Although there is lots of gratuitous nudity about.

Will: Yeah, like, I said earlier, it’s been so many years since I’ve seen this particular episode. And I know I’ve stated previously that I preferred the Gothic tone of season one. But I really like the look and the vibe of this new direction that they’re taking. I know that we’ve spoken about the limited budget that this show has. But these locations look like a million bucks. The estate that they were filming on has a back lawn that overlooks the ocean. It’s beautiful, fantastic, views. They’re definitely getting their money’s worth out of what little that they had to work with.

Jeff: Yeah, this season actually looks richer and less cheap than season one did. Season one looks like they were really on a shoestring budget to get those couple of episodes done. This looks like they got more money for season two. And they’re using it wisely. I mean, they’re not trying to maybe use it to find more beach. They’re using it on stuff like the house and things like that to have these nice locations. Because the new beach bar also looks really nice and Ambrosius’s house also is really nice. So everybody got an upgrade that they just don’t talk about.

Will: Yeah, I really, like the direction this new season is taking. I really like the new characters that we’ve been introduced to so far.

Jeff: Mm-hmm. Michelle’s awesome. Thea Gill’s character will become awesome as we’ll learn even starting in the next episode.

Will: Jon Fleming, who doesn’t have a whole lot to do as Adam in this first episode, although his scenes with Ambrosius are actually pretty, pretty amusing. I learned listening to the commentary that onset Jon Fleming’s nickname was ab fab.

Jeff: I can appreciate that

Will: Because he is so damn ripped. The director also briefly mentioned in the commentary that as they were going into production, the costume designer kept showing him different outfits, different shirt choices for the character of Adam. And he was like, “What are you doing? He doesn’t need to wear a shirt. Look at the guy” and Adam basically walks around shirtless for most of season two, for a very good reason.

Jeff: Yeah.

Will: Jon Fleming is very easy on the eyes?

Jeff: Indeed.

Will: So friends and family that is what we thought of episode one of season two, “Some Kind of Magic.”


Will: If you’d like to check out “Dante’s Cove” for the first time, or maybe revisit it like we’ve been doing here, the episodes can be found streaming on Amazon Prime and are available for rent or purchase.

The transcript for this episode has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read our conversation for yourself, head on over to the show notes page for this episode at

Jeff: And if you’ve watched “Dante’s Cove” in the past or are maybe checking it out for the first time because we’re talking about it, we would love to know what you think. Let us know by leaving a comment on that very same show notes page.

Will: All right. I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up next in episode 369, (chuckles) 69, it’s time to preview the books that we’re going to be looking forward to in the month of April.

Jeff: We’ll also review some of the books we’ve been reading lately and, get ready, we’ll announce the spring, Big Gay Fiction Book Club selection.

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 Production assistance by Tyson Greenan. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.