The tagline on the packaging for Dante’s Cove: The Complete Second Season reads: “The Ultimate Guilty Pleasure.” And you know what, that is 100% true. Basically an R-rated soap opera for the gay community, this television series is obviously the spawn of decades of soap operas and fantasy series. The best way to describe it would be a mix of Queer As Folk and Charmed. That may not be the best description for it, and may be seen as an insult to Queer As Folk, but that is what immediately popped into my head as the series unfolded.
Dante’s Cove is set in a small coastal town in Southern California, focusing on a group of friend and co-workers living in an apartment complex on the beach called the Hotel Dante. The good-looking young residents are gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, at a point in their lives where they are full of hopes and dreams. However, they also must struggle against the harsh realities of daily survival. Things get a little bit weird, however, when mysticism and witchcraft gets thrown into the mix in the form of a couple of supernatural beings whose lives are directly linked to a select few at the Cove. The residents of the Hotel Dante will deal with addiction and insanity, love and infidelity, coming out and breaking up. And as the mystical solstice approaches and magical forces gather strength, they’ll have to make hard choices and ultimate sacrifices.
It’s . . .an interesting show. No doubt, you’ll despise it right away. Yet, out of either sympathy or curiosity, you’ll watch the second episode. Then, somehow, you’ll get hooked. That’s what happened to me, and that is what will surely happen to you. It has that addictive quality that so many soap operas had before it. It has the absurd plotlines, the over-the-top characters and situations, and conversations and reactions that would never happen in real life. But I guess that’s why this show is so popular, because it is nothing life real-life. But that is what makes this suck a guilty pleasure. You know it’s bad and farfetched, but it’s also so addictive. Make no mistake, this show isn’t art. In fact, it’s pretty bad. But it knows it’s bad and campy, so it works.
And this is definitely a show for adults. Not only is there some coarse language, but plenty of nudity from both genders. In fact, there’s plenty of nudity all around in here, something that I know will be of interest to some potential viewers. I had no idea a cable channel such as Here!TV had such loose standards for coarse language and nudity, on par with HBO and such. But in the show, it’s obviously just part of the game. It’s a fun series, incredibly addictive, and all the actors are in on it. They know they’re making a guilty pleasure and are having a great time doing it. And that shows here. Not only is the cast great looking, save for a scary looking scuba instructor, but they’re having an absolute blast.
Be warned, though: The second season starts immediately after the cliffhanger from the first season. There’s a brief recap, about two minutes, of the first season, followed by the longest opening credits sequence I have ever seen for a show. You’ll be a bit confused at first, if you haven’t seen season one, but everything is recapped so many times, making it easy to figure out what’s going on.
The two-disc DVD set comes in a standard Amaray case, featuring an insert with chapter listings and promo material. The show itself is presented in widescreen with a crisp video and audio transfer. The extra materials include deleted scenes, assorted featurettes and trailers. The featurettes are pretty fluffy stuff, with some of the same material repeated throughout the assorted extras, and the deleted scenes neither add nor take away from the overall storyline.
In one of the featurettes, one of the actors says this show is best enjoyed with a drink and a bunch of friends. And for that, I agree. This seems like the kind of show you gather all your buddies around, pour some drinks, and just have a ball. It’s a guilty pleasure in every sense of the word, an addictive one, and for that I’d have to Recommend this release. I realize this show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in the right circumstances, Dante’s Cove: The Complete Second Season is a fun one to base an evening around. It’s over the top, chock full of coarse language and nudity, campy, and just plain ridiculous. It’s just goofy fun, and something that a lot of people will surely get a kick out of.
Dante’s Cove: The Complete Second Season is now available on DVD.