"Red Shoe Diaries" is one of the most successful efforts of softcore king Zalman King, a long-running series that largely involved couples indulging in decadent and glossy erotic fantasies. The acting was largely poor, but many tuned in for the usually rather "inspired" story-lines and fairly frequent glimpses of nudity. Even "X-Files" star David Duchovny was involved, playing the part of the narrator, although I believe he eventually departed the series.
The first sequence is occasionally more unintentionally hilarious than erotic. "Temple of Flesh" involves a couple on their anniversary driving around in a limo discussing how their sex life isn't quite what they'd like. Their driver stops in the middle of nowhere when a couple knocks on their window. The woman is more than happy to get completely nude because she had a vision that she'd be naked in a limo. Oddly, someone decided to shoot this sequence in grainy black and white instead of color - as with other episodes of the series, it can get a little too artsy for its own good at times.
Where the first segment was a bit goofy, the second one actually achieves what the kind of glossy softcore that it tries to be. "Juarez", about a cyclist-in-training and a gorgeous blonde (who looks kinda like Monica Potter from "Patch Adams") who fall for one another, actually gets mildly steamy at times. Oddly enough, the cyclist seems more interested in training than he does the incredibly hot blonde (what an idiot!), but he realizes his error by the end.
The last segment is "The Farmer's Daughter", which is a simple farmer's daughter-falls-for-kickboxer story. No more, no less. Not much happens and while the acting isn't terrible, it's the dullest of the three stories. Overall, I wasn't too impressed by any of the three stories. While they had their moments, the series really takes itself too seriously.
VIDEO: Showtime presents "Temple of Flesh" in 1.33:1 full-frame. The picture quality is largely pretty good, although a bit short of Showtime's usual releases. Sharpness and detail are pretty solid, but some of the darker scenes, such as in the first segment, can look a bit too dark and lack detail. Flaws were generally not too bothersome - aside from the intentional grain, there were a few moments of slight pixelation and a speck or two on the print used. The subdued color palette was fairly well-rendered, although there was a slight bit of smearing once or twice.
SOUND: The 2.0 soundtrack is halfway decent; the score has a decent amount of dynamic range and there are a couple of instances of ambient sounds. Dialogue and score are both crisp and clean.
MENUS: Some minor animation livens otherwise rather ordinary backgrounds.
EXTRAS: Trailers, weblink, trivia.
Final Thoughts: Fans of the series might be interested in this new edition, but those just looking for nudity should either look elsewhere or try this as a rental.