Tread Perilously — Swamp Thing: A Jury Of His Fears

Horror Month brings Tread Perilously to the USA Network’s 1990s Swamp Thing series and an episode called “A Jury of His Fears.”

When Anton Arcane is electrocuted following Swamp Thing’s latest dismantling of his underwater lab, he finds himself in an in-between state. Unfortunately for Arcane, that place between living and dying presents itself as a courtroom — and he’s the defendant! A jury of his previous victims convenes to decide if the ends justified Arcane’s means. Will Anton atone for crimes at least one part of his soul is willing to admit he committed? Will the program itself atone for the hate crime it commits? And will anyone learn the lesson of the Swamp Thing?

Noted slashfic author Alan Moore gets referenced once or twice, as does Len Wein. Justin reveals why so many conspiracy theories are believable while Erik decides to believe Quincy Jones’s answer to the Kennedy assassination. The films of Edgar Wright get examined.The pair recall the various phases of the USA Network. Justin praises Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger for its translation of superhero costumes. Anton Arcane receives the full Fashion Police treatment. Erik recalls the working film studio at Universal Studios Florida and the hostilities toward Denmark resume.

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Tread Perilously — Tales From The Darkside: Auld Aquaintences

Tread Perilously continues Horror Month with the Tales from the Darkside episode called “Auld Acquaintances.”

When Mary and Elizabeth meet at the Essex historical society museum for their annual amulet swap, they relive their first meeting in 1692. At the time, Mary was a witch with Satan-derived powers and Elizabeth was a power-hungry woman masquerading as a maid of virtue true. But as both are accused of witchery, it may be the end for them. A last second deal secures their freedom, but will they be able to abide by the terms for 300+ years?

Erik and Justin throw the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the bus. They also determine Essex is indeed a real city in that state and devise a new reality series called “Bedevil’d.” Justin regales Erik with the story of Giles Cory. Erik explains why Edward Woodward is named “Edward Woodward.” He also recalls the full name of Webster‘s Ma’am. Justin stumbles into a fantastic concept for one of his novels. The pair try to ignore the cheap production design, but call-out a poorly conceived special effect. Erik clearly explains his problem with former X-Men writer Chris Claremont and the sexual mores of the 1690s prove to be a source of several good gags.

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Tread Perilously — Tales From The Crypt: Mute Witness to Murder

Tread Perilously enters Horror month with their first visit to Tales From The Crypt and an episode called “Mute Witness to Murder”

When Suzy (Patricia Clarkson) takes a moment out from her wedding anniversary/Halloween party out on the balcony, she happens to see a man across the way killing a women. The grisly scene robs her of the ability to speak. Frantic, her husband (Reed Birney) finds Dr. Trask (Henry Thomas) — who just happens to be the murderer! He is also the owner of a nearby mental hospital, so he commits her in hopes of silencing the only witness to his crime. Will she figure out a way to speak again and stop Dr. Trask from getting away with murder?

Erik and Justin discuss the basics of Tales From The Crypt as a series and the merits of adapting five-page comic book stories to television. Erik mistakes Reed Birney for actor Ron Kuhlman (Jan Brady’s husband on The Brady Bunch spinoffs). Justin identifies when writers get bored with naming characters. He also identifies his own tendency to support an incipient monarchy. It leads to a digression of Ice and Fire. Both praise the 1996 thriller Mute Witness. The progressive content of the story turns out to be a positive and we learn Man Power Pills will cure Angina.

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Tread Perilously — Star Trek ENT: Twilight

Tread Perilously rounds out Star Trek month with an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise known as “Twilight.”

When Captain Johnathan Archer gets infected with time-space parasites, he loses the ability to form long term memories from the point of infection. Each day, he wakes up to the surprise that weeks, months, years, and decades have passed. 15-or-so years later, Doctor Phlox announces he may have a cure, but the marauding of the never-defeated Xindi may prevent Archer from undergoing the procedure. Oh, also, T’Pol spent all the years with Archer and formed “feelings” for him. It’s as icky as it sounds.

Erik also experiences memory lapses as he and Justin discuss the His Dark Materials novel series. Justin once again praises the charms of star Scott Bakula. But he also notes the lack of fan service otherwise in the episode. Erik points out the way Star Trek: The Next Generation overwhelmed people’s perception of Star Trek. Starfleet fashions once again get critiqued, as do the hairstyles in the future. Committing to a bit becomes important. Erik and Justin break down the Enterprise title theme again. The issue of the T’Pol/Archer thing leads Erik to notice an ugly theme in the episode. Dominic Keating gets recast as a villain when Justin and Erik reorder some of the actors and Doctor What makes a surprise appearance.

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Tread Perilously — Star Trek VOY: Blink of an Eye

Tread Perilously’s Star Trek month heads out to the Delta Quadrant with an episode of Star Trek: Voyager called “Blink of an Eye.”

When the Voyager encounters a planet with unusual gravometric anomalies, they get stuck in orbit around the developing world. On the surface, the primitive civilization notes the appearance of a new, bright star. Back on Voyager, Chakotay confirms the presence of civilized life, but because the surface is caught in a time distortion, they are watching it develop to its own industrial age in, ahem, a blink of an eye. Will the surface-dwellers advance fast enough to help Voyager escape the planet’s gravity? And will The Doctor live another life thanks to the time distortion?

Erik warns against trying to create a Space Renaissance. Justin explains why he and Erik continue to try to tread safely with Voyager. Nazgul jelly becomes a new product worth selling. They argue the usefulness of the Prime Directive in this particular situation and their continuing problem with Voyager‘s overall premise. Daniel Dae Kim quickly becomes the episode’s MVP while Justin finds a way to make its story really work. And in one of the most shocking moments to date, Erik and Tom Paris agree on something!

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Tread Perilously — Star Trek TNG: Angel One

Tread Perilously continues to celebrate Star Trek Month with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Angel One.”

When the Enterprise follows the path of an escape pod to the planet Angel One, they discover a matriarchy where men do not have the vote or a voice. Their main occupation: looking pretty for the women. But not all is idyllic on Angel One, as Counselor Troi and Commander Riker are about to find out. The Federation citizens who landed on the planet “took wives” and want to change the planet’s legal system. And as they are not bound by the Prime Directive, Troi is powerless to stop them. Riker, meanwhile, gets seduced by the planet’s Elected One, Mistress Beata. Will Riker’s raw sexual magnetism change life on Angel One?

Man Power Pills get reformulated as Erik and Justin dive into the deep end of a poorly thought metaphor. The discussion almost immediately gets derailed when Katie McGrath gets mentioned. The fashions of Angel One are critiqued. Erik once again declares his love for Christopher Pike and his fondness for Will Riker. Justin calls out some of the problems in the Angel One metaphor and the pair try to decide if Riker’s seduction scene should’ve been a moment of harassment. The pair figure out ways to make the episode better and find a place for Brenda Strong.

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Tread Perilously — Star Trek TOS: And The Children Shall Lead

Tread Perilously warps into Star Trek month with one of the least awesome episodes of the original series: “And the Children Shall Lead”

When the Enterprise arrives on Triacus, they discover all of adult colonists have killed themselves in some sort of murder/suicide pact. Their children, meanwhile, play “Ring Around the Rosie.” After experiencing a lack of confidence in a nearby cave, Captain Kirk beams the landing party and the children back to the ship. There, the children summon Gorgan (special guest star Melvin Belli), an ancient marauding spirit dedicated to finding his way to a planet filled with people. Will the children lead him to that world?

Erik and Justin determine this is the episode everyone but Shatner did unwillingly. Justin also develops a theory behind great episodes of Star Trek and terrible ones. The pair’s fascination with Brian Cox’s portrayal of Melvin Belli in Zodiac fails them as Belli’s part turns out to be quite small. They nonetheless imagine what his podcast would’ve been like. Erik’s Spock impression disappears entirely into his Kirk impression. The sad UFP flag gets a shoutout. Space knives turn out to be less impressive than hoped for and DeForest Kelley becomes a minor villain in Justin’s world.

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