TV Review - The DL Chronicles: Season 2
|Johanny Paulino (left) and Gabriel Corbin|
in "The DL Chronicles: Season 2"
Their series was very much inspired or a reaction to the 2004 best-selling book On the Down Low by J.L. King who went on the Oprah Winfrey Show and mainstreamed this idea of gay black men who hide their homosexuality from mostly everyone. In fact, the letters "DL" in The DL Chronicles stand for "Down Low."
Season 1 developed a cult following after Here! TV cancelled it and left its creators high and dry for half a decade. All of Season 1's episodes are now available on YouTube, and because demand for new episodes was constant, LeNear and Gossett created a spin-off called The Chadwick Journals, which premiered exclusively on the same YouTube channel on November 11, 2011 or 11/11/11. The Chadwick Journals was also only four episodes, each being between five to ten minutes long.
The spin-off was named after the character from Season 1 of The DL Chronicles who was that series' narrator. Damian T. Raven played Chadwick Williams, a man writing a book about the same men described by J.L. King. Aside from the first episode, Chadwick is never an active character in any of the stories. He's mainly a narrator and barely that. He provides a prologue and an epilogue. He's like Rod Serling in every episode of The Twilight Zone or more appropriately the role of David Duchovney in Red Shoe Diaries.
Otherwise, the series is an anthology where each episode is about a totally new and different person. The only through-line is that each person is a gay black man who is hiding his homosexuality. By the end, he either overcomes the fear and shame of that or not. Each episode is then named after the man in question.
Season 2 continues the same, but it's odd to call it a "Season." So far, there's only one episode available with no future prospects for additional episodes. However, this one episode of Season 2, titled "Thomas," is nearly the length of two regular episodes, so it might be enough to satisfy.
LeNear and Gossett have retooled things slightly, calling the series now The DL Chronicles Returns. "Thomas" takes place in one location, a house, like most of the episodes from Season 1. "Thomas" is also mostly a negotiation between two men, the gay black man in question and his potential love interest.
It's interesting to see that Stephan and Columbus are doing the same thing but with different intentions. Stephan and Columbus are like two sides of the same coin. This is most apparent in that both engage Thomas with the gift of music. The difference is that Stephan is more bold. Columbus, however, merely hands Thomas a CD and walks away, whereas Stephan turns on the stereo and forces Thomas to dance.
LeNear, as the writer of this episode, attempts to depict in a physical way the emotional idea, which has been at the core of the entire series and which LeNear verbalizes in the opening narration. He narrates, "The DL man... a prisoner in his own body, unable to move, living life paralyzed by fear, while the world around him keeps moving." Yet, LeNear leans more on his more romantic and optimistic side, which depicts this prisoner and paralyzed idea but outweighs it with a positive and loving counter-balance.
LeNear and Gossett are more hopeful with their series. They hint at the horrible consequences of being a DL man, but they focus more on the potential for a happily ever-after and the beauty of same-sex attraction between black men.
Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for mature audiences.
Running Time: 41 mins.
Made Available on May 19 on VIMEO.