Dante's Cove

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Dante's Cove
DanteLogo.jpg
GenreSoap opera
Horror
LGBT
Created byMichael Costanza
StarringWilliam Gregory Lee
Tracy Scoggins
Charlie David
Gregory Michael
Nadine Heimann
Josh Berresford
Zara Taylor
Rena Riffel
Erin Cummings
Jill Bennett
Stephen Amell
Jon Fleming
Michelle Wolff
Gabriel Romero
Thea Gill
German Santiago
Jensen Atwood
Reichen Lehmkuhl
Jenny Shimizu
Opening theme"Dying to Be with You"
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes12 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time47-52 minutes per episode
Broadcast
Original channelhere!
Original runOctober 7, 2005 (2005-10-07) – December 21, 2007 (2007-12-21)
Chronology
Related showsThe Lair
External links
Website
 
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Dante's Cove
DanteLogo.jpg
GenreSoap opera
Horror
LGBT
Created byMichael Costanza
StarringWilliam Gregory Lee
Tracy Scoggins
Charlie David
Gregory Michael
Nadine Heimann
Josh Berresford
Zara Taylor
Rena Riffel
Erin Cummings
Jill Bennett
Stephen Amell
Jon Fleming
Michelle Wolff
Gabriel Romero
Thea Gill
German Santiago
Jensen Atwood
Reichen Lehmkuhl
Jenny Shimizu
Opening theme"Dying to Be with You"
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes12 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time47-52 minutes per episode
Broadcast
Original channelhere!
Original runOctober 7, 2005 (2005-10-07) – December 21, 2007 (2007-12-21)
Chronology
Related showsThe Lair
External links
Website

Dante's Cove is an American LGBT-oriented supernatural soap opera which aired on the American LGBT-oriented network here! from October 7, 2005 through December 21, 2007. Created by Michael Costanza and directed by Sam Irvin, the series combines elements of the horror and soap opera genres in telling the story of Kevin (Gregory Michael) and Toby (Charlie David), a young couple seeking to be together and to overcome the dark mystical forces that conspire to separate them. The show debuted to a mixed critical reception. Although an announcement was made regarding a fourth season, no fourth season was produced.

Production[edit]

The first season was shot in the Turks and Caicos Islands[1] on 35 mm film.[2] Initially intended to be three episodes, the footage was re-edited and packaged as an 84-minute first episode and a 106-minute second episode. These originally aired in the fall of 2005.

The second season was shot on the north side of Oahu in Hawaii in the spring of 2006. Shooting took place near the filming location of Lost; the cast and crew of the two shows socialized during the shoot.[3] The change in locale and obvious change in sets was for the most part ignored within the series, though actress Tracy Scoggins was given a line about "what a fresh coat of paint can really do."[4] Behind the scenes, however, the change led to shifts in the shooting schedule, notably changes in the number of night scenes filmed because of curfew issues and restrictions imposed. The season was shot entirely on high definition videotape. It was originally intended to be six one-hour episodes, but episodes five and six were condensed into a single one. The season aired in the fall of 2006.[2]

A third season of five one-hour episodes, again filmed in Hawaii,[5] aired in the fall of 2007.

Plot summary[edit]

Young couple Kevin and Toby arrive in Dante's Cove, home to a sect dedicated to the supernatural religion Tresum. By freeing the charismatic Ambrosius from his magical imprisonment, Kevin reignites a rivalry between Ambrosius and the Tresum Avatar Grace that has simmered for over 150 years. Ambrosius's obsession with claiming Kevin and Grace's own obsession with revenging herself on Ambrosius threaten to tear Kevin and Toby apart forever, with unforeseen collateral damage.

Tresum[edit]

Tresum is a supernatural religion within the Dante's Cove universe, specifically linked to witchcraft in the basest sense although practitioners do not generally refer to themselves as "witches." A new student to the art of Tresum is an Aspirant, while someone who oversees an entire sect is an Avatar. Tresum is divided into three Houses: Moon, Sun, and Sky. The Moon house is female energy and its symbol is water. The Sun house is male energy and its symbol is fire. The Sky house is the prophesied combined essence of both energies.[6]

Thea Gill as Diana casts a spell

The beliefs of Tresum are contained within a "Book of Tresum." Each House has its own version of the Book and each House interprets its teachings differently. At least one copy of the Moon version (formerly possessed by Van) and the Sun version (owned by Ambrosius[5][7]) are known to be in Dante's Cove. A Book of the Sky also exists but nothing is known of its whereabouts or contents. To non-practitioners and to those unready to understand them, the pages appear to be written in a language that has been compared to hieroglyphics.[8] As a Tresum practitioner increases his or her strength, or in some instances through interaction with the drug known as Saint,[9] more of the book becomes readable. There are some pages within each book that remain unreadable to members of both Houses. It is believed that only a Sky Avatar will be able to read them. In the season three finale, "Naked in the Dark", the Sun and Moon books in Dante's Cove merge into a single volume readable by both Sun and Moon practitioners thus becomes the Sky Version.[10]

There does not seem to be much difference in the powers of Tresum themselves, as far as it relates to the Moon House or the Sun House. Practitioners are able to manipulate energy to alter reality on a number of levels. Tresum witches have been shown performing a variety of feats, including teleporting themselves and others, engaging in mind control,[1][11] scrying,[9] causing the moon to appear to turn blue[7] and, most sinister, killing with a look.[1]

Tresum is ruled over by a Council. Representatives of the Council are called "Emissaries", although it is as yet unclear whether the title refers to members of the Council or only to those who act on its behalf. The Council can make decrees regarding the practice of Tresum and Emissaries can call upon both the power of the Sun and the Moon to enforce them.[5] The Tresum Council considers the practitioners in Dante's Cove to be "rogue"[12] while Grace derides the Council for being timid.[13] The makeup of the Council is unknown, as is how or if the Council is affiliated with the Houses of Tresum.

A previously unknown House, the House of Shadows, emerged as a threat in the show's third season. The House is described as an "ancient evil" that was "imprisoned" centuries ago by Tresum practitioners.[12]

Saint[edit]

Within the mythology of Dante's Cove, Saint is an entheogenic drug local to the Dante's Cove area, though it may be more widespread in the world of the show. It is a mossy substance that can be eaten[7] or smoked.[13] In non-practitioners it produces a euphoric high, the feeling that one can accomplish anything and is untouchable.[7] It can also sometimes impart prophetic sight to non-practitioners.[12] For Tresum witches, Saint is a sacrament called "star flower."[9] When burned, it induces visions of the past and future and advances a Tresum practitioner's ability, for example, allowing them to read the Book of Tresum.

Main cast[edit]

Cast of Season 1

Episode list[edit]

NumberTitle
1.1"The Beginning"
1.2"Then There Was Darkness"
2.1"Some Kind of Magic"
2.2"Playing with Fire"
2.3"Come Together"
2.4"Spring Forward"
2.5"The Solstice"
3.1"Sex and Death (And Rock and Roll)"
3.2"Blood Sugar Sex Magik"
3.3"Sexual Healing"
3.4"Like a Virgin"
3.5"Naked in the Dark"

Connections to The Lair[edit]

Dante's Cove takes place in the same fictional universe as another here! original production, the vampire series The Lair. Characters from The Lair refer to Saint as "the new drug all the kids are doing," being banished by an "Avatar" and covens of witches centered around a spring. These are all components of Tresum, although Tresum has not been mentioned specifically within the series.

Dylan Vox plays a character named Colin in The Lair and in three episodes in season 2 of Dante's Cove. Dialogue in The Lair indicates that his character from that series has been a vampire for a long time, perhaps centuries.

Director Sam Irvin and Charlie David refer to the Cove's sex club as "The Lair" and call the series The Lair "sort of like a spin-off."[14] According to The Lair's Peter Stickles, The Lair was originally intended to be a direct spin-off of Dante's Cove and was originally entitled "Dante's Lair". Early in production the name was changed but the show was intended to be set in the town of Dante's Cove, but eventually the connection was dropped.[15]

The Lair's David Moretti reported on The Lair podcast that he would appear as his Lair character Thom in season three of Dante's Cove (episodes 3 and 4), running the island's sex club in Colin's absence, but did not elaborate on how that will come about.[16] Moretti appeared in the third episode, "Sexual Healing", and the fourth episode, "Like a Virgin", and the Cove's sex club was finally identified by name as "The Lair".[12] Whether this establishes that the two series are indeed set in the same location remains unclear. Thom appears in the second season of The Lair, unaffiliated with the club. He begins season three living in The Lair as the lover of the club's leader Damian.

Podcast[edit]

A Dante's Cove podcast was launched through the show's official site and through iTunes on October 6, 2006. The podcast is hosted by New York DJ Ben Harvey and includes episode recaps and discussion and interviews with the cast.[17] There have been no podcasts released since the airing of the third episode of season three.

Critical response[edit]

Formal reviews for Dante's Cove have been light and the series has failed to attract enough reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes to date to garner a rating.[18] One outlet that has reviewed each of the complete seasons is the lesbian-themed website AfterEllen.com. Season one was deemed "campy, gothic, mysterious, homoerotic, and a bit silly" with the reviewer noting the series' apparent debt to such earlier fare as Dark Shadows and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[19] These sentiments were echoed by the gay-interest Instinct magazine, which called the series a "guilty pleasure TV hit...with...camp goodness and sexy soap appeal."[20] In looking at season two, AfterEllen's reviewer noted the improved acting and production values and (in keeping with the lesbian focus of the website) expressed appreciation of the central position of the lesbian characters and storyline.[21] Thea Gill in particular has been singled out by reviewers for praise for her performance as Diana Childs.[19][22]

Series director Sam Irvin has relayed that the fan base is expanding beyond the niche of the LGBT community. "There are gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight people on this show, and certainly maybe more gay and lesbian characters than most shows, but it seems to appeal to a mainstream heterosexual audience, too."[23] At least one straight reviewer disagreed, not because of the sexuality but instead finding the show too "over-the-top."[24]

DVD releases[edit]

DVD NameEpisodesRelease DateSpecial features - Region 1
The Complete First Season2Region 1: August 8, 2006
Region 4: November 24, 2006 (Season 1 Part 1)
March 29, 2007 (Season 1 Part 2)
Region 2: January 1, 2008
  • "Backlot" featurette
The Complete Second Season5Region 1: June 5, 2007
Region 4: September 14, 2007
Region 2: February 25, 2008
  • Deleted scenes
  • "On the set" featurette
  • "Men of Dante's Cove" featurette
  • "Women of Dante's Cove" featurette
  • "Out Actors" featurette
  • "Backlot" featurette
The Guilty Pleasures Collection7Region 1: December 4, 2007
  • Unaired pilot
The Complete Third Season5Region 4: April 10, 2008
Region 1: June 3, 2008
Region 2: August 28, 2008
  • Production commentaries
  • Backlot featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Bloopers and deleted scenes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Beginning". Dante's Cove. Season 1. Episode 1.
  2. ^ a b Irvin, Sam (director), David, Charlie (actor). Commentary, The Solstice. 
  3. ^ Harvey, Ben (December 8, 2006). "The Dante's Cove podcast #12" (Podcast). Retrieved March 11, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Some Kind of Magic". Dante's Cove. Season 2. Episode 1.
  5. ^ a b c "Sex and Death: and Rock and Roll". Dante's Cove. Season 3. Episode 1.
  6. ^ "The Magic of Tresum". here!. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Come Together". Dante's Cove. Season 2. Episode 3.
  8. ^ "Playing with Fire". Dante's Cove. Season 2. Episode 2.
  9. ^ a b c "Spring Forward". Dante's Cove. Season 2. Episode 2.
  10. ^ "Naked in the Dark". Dante's Cove. Season 3. Episode 5.
  11. ^ "The Solstice". Dante's Cove. Season 2. Episode 5.
  12. ^ a b c d "Sexual Healing". Dante's Cove. Season 3. Episode 3.
  13. ^ a b "Blood Sugar Sex Magik". Dante's Cove. Season 3. Episode 2.
  14. ^ Irvin, Sam (director), David, Charlie (actor). Commentary, Spring Forward. 
  15. ^ Harvey, Ben. "The Lair podcast #4" (Podcast). Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  16. ^ Harvey, Ben. "The Lair podcast #7" (Podcast). Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  17. ^ "Dante’s Cove podcast". here!. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  18. ^ "Dante’s Cove - The Complete First Season". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  19. ^ a b Corson, Suzanne (2006-09-20). "Review of Dante's Cove: Season One". afterellen.com. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  20. ^ Wood, Mike (2006-09-01). "Dante's Cove cast". Instinct. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  21. ^ Corson, Suzanne (2007-06-04). "Review of Dante's Cove: Season Two". afterellen.com. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  22. ^ O, Jimmy. "Dante's Cove Second Season". Arrow in the Head. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  23. ^ Szymanski, Mike (2007-10-17). "Dante's expands its audience". Sci Fi Wire. scifi.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  24. ^ Swindoll, Jeff (2007-06-04). "DVD Review: Dante’s Cove: The Second Season". monsters & critics.com. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 

External links[edit]