Tread Perilously — The Brady Bunch: Kelly’s Kids

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s Backdoor Pilot month concludes with The Brady Bunch‘s one and only attempt to sell another show — an episode called “Kelly’s Kids.”

When Mike and Carol’s friends, Ken and Kathy Kelly, move in a few doors down, they announce they are adopting a son, Matt. After his first night home in their new home, they discover he misses his close friend, Dwayne and Steve. Kathy convinces Ken to adopt one of the boys, but when they discover Dwayne is Black and Steve is Asian, the plan changes. The Kellys adopt both and soon discover the choice is unpopular with a NIMBY next door neighbor. Will it convince the boys to run away?

Justin, at long last, finally experiences his first episode of The Brady Bunch, but Erik still finds a way to make it anything but a true Brady episode. Geography Corner warps space and time as both Erik and Justin attempt to fit the Brady house completely into reality. The social mores of 1974 get examined at length. The Brady Bunch movies also come into play. Mickey Cohen makes a surprise appearance. Unexpected takes on Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers and The Batman occur and Justin examines a certain culture of passive-aggressiveness.

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Tread Perilously — Who’s The Boss?: Charmed Lives

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s Backdoor Pilot month continues with an episode of Who’s The Boss? called “Charmed Lives.”

Angela heads out to San Francisco to deal with the Vionelli Foods account. She thinks she’s found the perfect “Princess” Vionelli in the form of Joyce Columbus (special guest star Fran Drescher). But when Mr. Vionelli catches sight of would-be photographer Lauren Sullivan (Donna Dixon), the plan changes. Will Joyce be able to win back the contract, the clothing stipend, and the apartment? Or will she and Lauren figure out a way to share the charmed life of Princess Vionelli? Also, will the story be strong enough to launch a series of its own?

Erik and Justin immediately get lost in the racism of H.P. Lovecraft and imagining the Italian Elder Gods. The derailing continues with discussions of the new Kids in the Hall and the Fourteenth Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. Erik’s recollections of Drescher trying the “Charmed Lives” pilot three times leads to a hypothesis about her eventual success. Justin offers an unfavorable evaluation of Dixon’s performance. Credited episode writer Paul Haggis comes into sharp focus as certain shortcomings are analyzed. Justin casts Drescher in a 1980s Harley Quinn film and a beloved Disney character makes an unexpected appearance.

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Tread Perilously — The Facts Of Life: The Beginning Of The Beginning

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s month of backdoor pilots continues with The Facts of Life‘s attempt to backdoor reboot itself in its final half-hour — an episode called “The Beginning of the Beginning.”

When Blair learns Eastland is due to close, she cashes in her trust fund to buy the school. She quickly learns operating a private academy is anything but easy thanks to dwindling enrollment and a mansplaining science teacher. To save the enterprise, she decides to admit boys. Surprisingly, the addition of a whole gender is less of an issue than a girl who wants to be expelled. Will Blair learn how to be Mrs. Garrett in time to save her pupil?

Paul Pakler of Paul and Corey Cross the Streams joins Erik and Justin for another visit to Peekskill. He credits the show’s theme song for a deep philosophical tie. Justin decides the Facts of Life TV movies are more entertaining. The trio tries to unravel the mystery of Juliette Lewis. They also fondly remember character actor Kathleen Freeman. Continuity flubs point out just how little such things matter in the late 1980s. Erik recalls the time Elijah Wood stalked him at Comic-Con. Paul finds the one funny joke about Shirley MacLaine’s 1980s New Age adventures and Justin recasts Seth Green as Bud Bundy.

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Tread Perilously — The Golden Girls: Empty Nests

tp1400-1Tread Perilously begins a month of backdoor pilots with The Golden Girls episode “Empty Nests” — the first attempt to launch Empty Nest.

When Renee, the girls’ neighbor, begins to lean on them more and more after her daughter moves away to college, Rose suggests she has empty nest syndrome and Dorothy suggests Renee should tell her husband, George, that she’s lonely. Back at their house, we discover George is a particularly busy general practitioner and Renee has a brother with Dissociative Identity Disorder. We also learn they have a pesky neighbor named Oliver who is too obnoxious to live. But will it all spell a series we want to watch?

Erik and Justin note a certain “first draft” element to the writing. They also agree on the film Go. Justin takes a strong stance on backdoor pilots. Erik offers a hot take on Cowboy Bebop. The pair stump for Cobb Vanth yet again. Rita Moreno continues to be a show all-star while David Leisure proves to be the opposite. Erik’s attempt at a Robert Redford impression ends up decidedly Shatnerian. Favorite Golden Girls lines are referenced. Bea Arthur’s neutral expression provides some much-needed laughs. Erik tries to recall the actual Empty Nest and blames Odoacer for the disappearance of the pixie cut.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis

tp1400-1Tread Perilously wraps up Doctor Who month with its 25th Anniversary story: “Silver Nemesis.”

The Doctor and Ace’s jazzy afternoon in Windsor gets interrupted by an alarm signalling imminent danger headed for Earth. Meanwhile in 1638, Lady Peinforte and her manservant, Richard, plan to travel 350 years into the future to recover a statue The Doctor launched into space some months before. Elsewhere, Herr De Flores plots to take the statue for himself and for “zee Fatherland.” Is this all according to The Doctor’s design? Or will another gaggle of shambling Cybermen throw off his calculations? Also, will the Queen recognize The Doctor?

Erik and Justin discover a three-part Doctor Who story can still be jam-packed with characters and explosions. Sylvester McCoy proves once again to be Justin’s favorite Doctor while Ace continues to climb up the companion leaderboard. Erik tries to mention why 23 November is important to Doctor Who. The discussion goes off the rails to discuss Birds of Prey. Navid Negahban joins the list of actors Tread Perilously would love to see as The Doctor. Erik investigates the filmography of guest actor Anton Diffring. The Other gets compared to Division. The various Doctor/companion dynamics get analyzed. Erik once again voices his disappointment in Chris Chibnall and the Cyber-Leader has a very bad day.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Arc Of Infinity

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s Doctor Who month continues with “Arc of Infinity.”

When an antimatter creature attempts to merge with The Doctor, his TARDIS is recalled to Gallifrey. The High Council of Time Lords intends to terminate The Doctor to prevent the creature from succeeding in its plan, but it might just be a ruse perpetrated by a Time Lord in league with the anti-matter entity. Meanwhile, Tegan flies to Amsterdam to hang out with her cousin, Colin. But will his plan to sleep in a pumping station lead her to a reunion with The Doctor? Oh, and why does the commander of the Gallifreyan guard seem so familiar?

Drew Siragusa from Fanbase Press joins Erik and Justin to discuss the story and his hypothesis about its connection to a New Series favorite monster. Justin invents a new role for Tegan thanks to her costume change. Erik explains the existence of writer Johnny Byrne. His reasoning for watching “Arc of Infinity” is also revealed. Drew and Justin debate whether or not Tegan’s cousin is meant to be Australian. Everyone tries to figure out why the cousin was in Amsterdam to begin with. Justin speaks out against whale clubbing and, as it turns out, The Doctor always worked for Division.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s Doctor Who month continues with the Fourth Doctor adventure known as “Nightmare of Eden.”

The randomiser forces the TARDIS to land on a starliner already in the midst of trouble. It’s collided with a small freighter, leaving the two ships in a trans-dimensional tangle. The Doctor quickly volunteers to separate the ships, but his efforts keep getting thwarted by other problems like a squirrely zoologist who is using a dimension compression device for his research, a smuggler trading in the most addictive and deadly drug in the cosmos, and a pair of bumbling excise officers who would love to get promoted by pinning all of the problems on The Doctor.

Erik’s disappointment in Chris Chibnall gets yet another airing. Lalla Ward once again proves to be the MVP. Romana’s extensive wardrobe leads to an interesting discussion about her lack of an iconic look. The old io9 episode rankings get referenced. Strange performances get celebrated, as does the two-person act of The Doctor and Romana. Erik tries to find all the Douglas Adams additions to the story (as he was script editor at the time) while still trying to give writer Bob Baker his due. The Child Compressor returns and Tread Perilously discovers Waahl’s Herring Candy.

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