ZANE’S THE JUMP OFF episode 1: First Down

Okay, I know I’ve been reviewing a lot of comic-books lately, so the regular readers of this blog (you know who you are) are probably wondering, where’s the softcore film and TV reviews?!?

Don’t worry, I got you.

And since today is the first day of Black History Month, it’s the perfect time to start reviewing this TV series, which was unique in that it was a softcore production with a predominantly Black cast. I’ve previously lamented the lack of Black actors in softcore, and when they do appear it’s usually only one per film or episode, in supporting roles, and they’re partnered with a White actor. But this series, which debuted in 2013 and ran for 13 episodes, had plenty of Black men and women in lead roles and performing hot softcore sex scenes with each other. And it’s a high-quality series too, produced by Mainline Releasing for Cinemax.

This series was created by ZANE, a popular Black author who specializes in erotica. Personally, I’ve never read any of her stuff, I think it’s more aimed at women, but I’ve heard about her for a long time. This is actually her second softcore TV series, but this is the one that I saw first. Unlike the first one, I don’t believe this series is an adaptation of one of her books, it’s an original property, and she is credited as the writer of every episode, and Jean Moody directed them all. This series was unique among softcore television in that, like LIFE ON TOP, it was more like a soap opera, with ongoing storylines that carried from one episode to the next, as opposed to presenting a bunch of single-episode stories, like most softcore TV series tended to do.

Another unique thing about this series is that its lead characters were men, instead of women. Specifically, it focused on 5 thirtysomething-year-old Black men, 4 of whom are introduced in this first episode. The men all went to college together and were members of the same fraternity, Sigma Omega Kappa, and have remained close friends ever since, and now they live in Florida, continuing to socialize, and the series focuses on their personal and professional lives.

In this first episode meet Dmitri Vance (Amin Joseph), whose frat nickname was Lightning. He’s a rich and successful pro-football player who owns his own nightclub called The Jump Off. Gabriel Turner (Damian Toofeek Raven), whose frat nickname was The Gladiator, is a successful account/business manager, who handles Dmitri’s finances. Fenwick Wood (Kinyumba Mutakabbir), who they all call “Woody” (and his frat nickname was Chocolat Thunder), is the manager of The Jump Off. And J. Teddy Garces plays Spencer Martinez (frat nickname: The Punnany Smasher), who co-hosts a popular local radio talk show, called The Other Side of The Pillow, where listeners call in for sex and relationship advice.

The episode begins with Gabriel showing up Dmitri’s mansion for an early business meeting. He lets himself in as Dmitri is busy banging his “girlfriend” Brenda (Latifah Creswell) up in his bedroom. When they finish Brenda leaves, and Dmitri meets with Gabriel in the living room. Then Woody shows up, announcing that he just left his wife, Kenya, which makes both of the others happy as they apparently never liked her anyway. Dmitri invites Woody to stay with him until Woody gets his own place and then announces that he’s going to be throwing a “separation celebration” for Woody at The Jump Off that night.

On her way to work (she’s a hairdresser) Brenda is confronted by a woman named Mia (Imani Rose), who tells her she’s Dmitri’s ex-girlfriend and warns her that she is going to get him back. Brenda blows her off, but this will come back in later episodes.

We get a brief scene at Spencer’s job, Monique Cash plays his co-host Nandi, and it sets up the dynamic between them where he’s the typical “player” and she thinks men like him are disgusting.

That night at The Jump Off, the party is on. Woody hooks up with a random woman, played by Misty Stone, in the V.I.P. room, while Dmitri has a threesome with a couple of groupies, played by hardcore film stars Charmane Star and Shazia Sahari. Spencer chats it up with a woman, and it’s implied that they’ll hook up although we don’t see it, but Gabriel resists the women in the club who flirt with him, silently pointing to his wedding ring.

Sasha Van Duyn plays Gabriel’s wife Aspen, the editor-in-chief of a newspaper. She had lunch with Gabriel earlier that day in his office, where he told her about Woody and Kenya. So while the boys are at the club, she takes Kenya (Wlehyenneh Toles) out for drinks with some of their friends, including Portia (Johanna Quintero) who will also be important later. Kenya says that she’s the one who wanted to end the marriage, and insists that she’s fine. But at the end of the night, while walking to her car, she starts crying, and Aspen gives her a hug. The episode ends back at The Jump Off, as the party is winding down, where Dmitri makes a surprising announcement that ends the episode on a cliffhanger.

This was a great first episode, that introduced most of the main characters and set up the status quo of the series, and we had the three hot sex scenes. What more could you ask for?

Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS

Jason Majercik is selling this UNRATED 4-DVD boxset of Zane’s The Jump Off season 1 for $39.99. Email him at for his softcore inventory list

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