Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Partners in Crime

Tread Perilously continues its month of treading safely with the New Series Doctor Who episode, “Partners in Crime.”

When the Doctor investigates a too-good-to-be-true diet pill, he runs into his old friend Donna Noble and a strange alien breeding program. The plan involves slowly converting the overweight of London into children of the Adipose, but it breaks intergalactic law. Will London be overrun with cuddly babies made of human fat? Will Donna Noble travel with the Doctor? Will the hired goons survive?

Justin finally meets Donna Noble and Erik explains Penny Carter, the companion who almost was. Both get lost when Justin invokes the film Boiler Room. They also consider introducing a companion on the Hindenburg and how the Doctor would take to traveling with Hugh Glass. Justin is forced to confront Billie Piper and Erik declares, once again, that he doesn’t hate David Tennant or the Tenth Doctor. Not that the readers of Rotten Tomatoes will believe that. The Shadow Proclamation gets a name check and Justin recalls the Ghostbusters Role Playing Game.

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Tread Periously — Doctor Who: The Face of Evil

Tread Perilously celebrates its second anniversary by treading safely with the Tom Baker era Doctor Who story, “The Face of Evil.”

Despite trying to land in Hyde Park, the Doctor finds himself on a world ravaged by the bitter war between the Sevateem and the Tesch. He soon meets Leela, an exile from the Sevateem village who immediately refers to the Doctor as “the Evil One.” After being captured by the Sevateem several times, he deduces that the problems of this world have their root cause in his own previous intervention with their tribal god, Xoanon. Can he repair the damage? Will the Tesch ever stop bowing? Will Leela become queen of the Sevateem or join the Doctor in his journeys through time and space?

It’s probably the later.

Justin and Erik discover the probable secret origin of the phrase “Tread Perilously.” Erik explains Leela’s murderous streak while Justin expounds on the virtues of space cavemen. They advance the theory that script editor Robert Holmes rewrote much of the story and highlight several Holmesian lines of dialogue. Justin also reveals whether or not he thinks “The Tomb of the Cybermen” continues to be the best of the tread safely Doctor Who episodes.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen

Tread Perilously continues to examine good episodes of Doctor Who with “The Tomb of the Cybermen.”

When the TARDIS lands on Telos, the Doctor, Jamie and their new friend Victoria discover an archeological expedition in danger of resurrecting the Cybermen. The Doctor helps them get inside the ancient Cyber city and helps them access the tombs. But as the Cybermen awake from a long slumber, he realizes he should probably stop the Cybermen from assimilating the archeologists. Meanwhile, a rogue member of the team hopes to create a race of atomic supermen and conquer the world.

Space archeology is always fraught with peril.

Erik and Justin discuss the uncomfortable racists undertones of the story with its non-white villains and their manservant Toberman. More terrible American accents appear and Victoria is compared to Zoe. Erik invokes the ancient astronaut theory while Justin notes Jamie wears the shortest skirt in the story. They also compare the archeologists to the ill-fated crew of Prometheus. Erik declares that the Cybermats are adorable and Justin offers very important advice about space exploration. He also decides whether or not the story is as good as Erik believes.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space

Tread Perilously finds its way back into the TARDIS for an extra attempt to tread Doctor Who safely with “Spearhead from Space.”

When the Time Lords exile the Doctor to Earth in the 1970s or 80s, he teams up with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT to investigate mysterious glowing meteorites. The orbs turn out to be control modules of the Nestene Consciousness, which has been forming a spearhead in a plastics factory for the last six months. Meanwhile, the Doctor gets his bearings, finds a new costume, and meets new companion Liz Shaw. It all leads to a Madame Tussauds exhibit and a showdown with a tentacle monster.

Erik’s believes “Spearhead from Space” is a good entry point for Doctor Who. And his belief is put to the test as he and Justin combat a glacial pace, a local color couple from a Monty Python sketch, and the imbalanced dynamic of the Doctor, Liz and the Brig. Both fall in love with the lush cottage hospital featured in the story, but discover many of the scenes taking place there could be easily cut. Justin is surprised to learn this was Jon Pertwee’s first story and Erik offers a long-winded history of the Doctor’s exile on Earth. A tangent into James Bond country reveals both Erik and Justin love Jack Lord’s Felix Leiter. They also do terrible impressions of Terry Jones’s old lady character.

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Tread Perilously: Special Review Unit — Wannabe

Tread Perilously once again opens the case files of the Special Review Unit with the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode “Wannabe.”

When a weenie wagger escalates to rape, the SVU assembles a task force to take him down in Central Park. He’s apprehended by a rookie out of the 27th precinct (the cophouse from the original Law & Order) and quickly identified as the attacker in three other cases. Unfortunately, the rookie was a pretender with a lot of knowledge about how the New York Police Department operates. With only 48 hours to turn his official arrest into a citizen’s arrest, the SVU begins a desperate search for the wannabe. Once they find him, special guest star Sharon Stone takes over the story.

Special Review Unit Captain Charlie Wright rejoins Erik and Justin to pitch out a new series concept called Snake Cop. They also discuss Sharon Stone at length while Charlie offers a number of memorable lines from the episode. Justin is dismayed to learn that Captain Cragen has a first name. Charlie appraises the quality of Men’s Pocky and wishes for a whiskey flavor. All agree that real cops do not lose their hats and that they’ll never be over Macho Grande.

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Tread Perilously — Battlestar Galactica: Daybreak Parts 2&3

Tread Perilously makes one more FTL jump to Battlestar Galactica with its concluding episodes, parts 2 & 3 of “Daybreak.”

When the Galactica fleet learns the location of the hidden Cylon Colony where Boomer took baby Hera, Admiral Adama prepares one last mission for the increasingly decrepit battlestar. The rescue mission will decide the fate of human and Cylon alike, but the deeper mysteries of God, the Opera House Vision and Gaius Baltar’s haircare regime threaten to leave scholars baffled for centuries. If nothing else, one thing is certain: the meaning of “All Along the Watchtower” to a petulant and silent deity.

Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon joins Erik and Justin as all three try, once again, the exorcise their disappointment in the Galactica finale. Erik admits his shattered faith led him to sell his DVDs of the series, while Justin admits he doubted the series much, much earlier. Barbra recalls the one brief homosexual character on the show and mourns for Sam Anders. She also champions the Caprica prequel series and underlines the most important point of the series: it was all Helo’s fault.

Also: there was no plan.

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Tread Perilously — Supertrain: Hail to the Chief

Tread Perilously climbs aboard one of the worst broadcast television shows ever to air with the Supertrain episode “Hail to the Chief.”

A man (guest star Roy Thinnes) replaces his twin brother as the projected winner of the upcoming presidential election. Is he a communist? Was he bought off by a shadowy corporate interest? Is he a plant to get the nuclear launch codes? These questions become irrelevant when he falls in love with his brother’s wife (guest star Loretta Swit) and throws out the plan. What this has to do with guest star Billy Barty and guest star Victor Buono is anybody’s guess.

And in case you were wondering, the show does have a regular cast but they really don’t matter.

Failing their own guest star challenge, Erik and Justin take a break from watching a popular show on its worst day to examine a fundamentally flawed, unpopular and unmourned series. Erik compares Supertrain to the show it clearly wants to be, The Love Boat, while Justin comes to grips with the program’s dark, cramped sets. The pair also outline a fantastic plot for a Spike Lee train heist movie. Erik also attempts — and fails — to avoid “derailing” puns and to keep the discussion on track. Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys gets mentioned in a favorable light. Justin realizes the plot was later recycled in the film Dave and both he and Erik take the time to make fun of Needles, California.

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