Tread Perilously — How To Tread Perilously

Recorded live at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con on October 28th, 2017, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbara Dillon joins Erik and Justin to discuss the show itself and the joy of watching bad episodes of good TV.

Topics include: how the show emerged from an earlier podcast Erik started, Erik’s love for Doctor Who and how he uses the show to force Justin into watching things like Star Trek: The Motion Picture and 7th Heaven. Both reveal which episode of Doctor Who they think is the worst in the show’s history and some of their favorite Tread Perilously moments thus far. Erik fails to remember the make and model of his broadcasting equipment and Justin explains why Webster is one of the most terrifying shows he’s ever watched. The pair also commits to watching the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Year of Hell” in the next year.

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Tread Perilously — Star Trek: Spock’s Brain

Tread Perilously rings in 2018 by getting back to basics: bad episodes of good television. And few episodes of Star Trek are as bad as “Spock’s Brain.”

When an ill-conceived civilization’s central processing unit — the Controller — begins to fail, it sends an attractive “Imorg” scout to find a suitable replacement. Identifying Spock (Leonard Nimoy) as a good candidate, she quickly detaches his brain from his body. Soon, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the rest of the Enterprise crew are on a desperate search for Spock’s brain while Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) somehow keeps the autonomic functions of Spock’s body running. Will he be able to reconnect brain to body before time runs out? Also, what is “brain?”

Erik tries his best to say “Spock’s brain is missing” with a straight face. Justin recalls childhood visits to the Paramount studio lot. Both get distracted when the conversation leads to Jaws the Revenge and Grindhouse. They also posit a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “Riker’s Brain.” Erik declares Kelley as the MVP of the episode for repeatedly referring to Spock’s brain without breaking into giggle-fits. Brain puns appear throughout the discussion while Erik and Justin declare the third season of Star Trek as a failed experiment. Erik has a hard time saying the word “autonomic.” And the appearance of hipster cavemen leads to Thag, the Neanderthal with a Sleep Number franchise.

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Tread Perilously: Special Review Unit — Ballerina

As it is the last episode of the year, Tread Perilously convenes the entire Special Review Unit for a very special episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit called “Ballerina.”

Manhattan SVU detectives find their way to the case of former professional dancer Birdie Sulloway (Carol Burnett) and a couple who died in one of her husband’s properties. When the husband falls from their penthouse apartment to the streets below, Birdie and her “nephew” Chet (Matthew Lillard) become the prime suspects. As it turns out, all of Birdie’s husbands have died in mysterious ways. Have she and Chet been on a twisted death spree all along? And what does this all have to do with obnoxious crime scene unit tech Stucky (Noel Fisher)?

Charlie Wright and Louis Allred join Erik and Justin to discuss one of the greatest episodes in SVU history. Justin learns about hostess bars and recalls the noirish hotel near his childhood home. Matthew Lillard is determined to be the episode’s MVP. Charlie compares his performance to his recent turn on Twin Peaks. Most of the Special Review Unit admit their ignorance of Bob’s Burgers. Justin gets distracted by the presence of Sopranos actor Vincent Curatola. Louis and Justin amuse themselves by saying “gabagool.” A connection between SVU and Josie & The Pussycats is discovered and the whole group realizes that Carol Burnett is the Punisher.

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Tread Perilously — Thomas Kinkade’s The Christmas Cottage

Tread Merrily 2017 concludes with Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas-themed origin story, Thomas Kinkade’s The Christmas Cottage.

When Tom (Jared Padalecki) and his brother Pat (one of the Ashmore Twins) come home for Christmas 1977, they discover their family cottage is under threat of foreclosure. Looking for quick cash to help with the bills, Tom gets a job painting a town mural on the side of one of the local shops. As he paints, the town’s colorful residents — and their “heartwarming” holiday conflicts — inspire him to add their likenesses to the mural. But will it be enough to save the Kinkade cottage in time for Christmas. And will Tom learn how to be the Painter of Light?

Erik and Justin get lost in the weeds as they discuss the film’s eccentric characters, the merits of other Christmas movies, and whether or not Erik will surprise Justin with another viewing of The Night They Saved Christmas. Justin suggests Kinkade’s work is for elderly racists. Erik defends Die Hard 2 as a worthwhile remake-sequel. He also suggests that Renny Harlin is sometimes the right choice. The Kiss The Girls trailer is declared the best trailer of all time. Justin creates Batman’s holiday vacation home: the Batcottage. Erik theorizes the origin of overwrought Christmas lawn displays and both are charmed by the performance of Richard Burgi as Tom’s drifter father.

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Tread Perilously — He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special

Tread Merrily continues as Justin and Erik face He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special; one of the jolliest sci-fi/fantasy Christmas specials ever made.

It’s Adam and Adora’s birthday! In fact, it’s the first since learning she’s part of Eternia’s royal family, so she comes home from Etheria with all of her friends to celebrate. It’s also the Eternian winter, which reminds Queen Marlena that it’s Christmastime back on her home planet of Earth. But just as she begins to tell King Randor about it, Orko breaks Man-At-Arms’s new Sky Spy; sending him and the vehicle to Earth. When they finally recover Orko, he brings two Earth children with him. This terrifies Horde Prime, who definitely does not want the Christmas Spirit to invade his corner of the universe. He dispatches both Skeletor and Hordak to kidnap the children, but both soon learn that it will be more difficult than they can possibly imagine.

Erik and Justin criticize Skeletor’s staffing policies and Hordak’s decision to out Skeletor in front of Horde Prime. They also theorize that Snake Mountain has a great gym hidden within. Too Bad gets called out for being, well, too bad. Erik recalls the time he named his Rock Band group “Beastmonster.” Justin recalls when he got his He-Man and Man-At-Arms figures and points out the show’s lack of subtlety. Both declare Channing Tatum as the perfect man to play He-Man and share their Skeletor impressions.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

Tread Perilously becomes “Tread Merrily” for another Doctor Who Christmas special! This year: “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe.”

Several years after helping the Doctor out of a jam, Madge (Claire Skinner) receives word that she and her children must evacuate London. She also learns that her husband, a WWII bomber pilot, died while trying to fly across the English Channel. Despondent, she hides the truth from her children in the hopes of having a happy Christmas. Then the Doctor appears to add whimsy and delight to their holiday plans. But when one of his whimsical gifts leads young Cyril (Maurice Cole) to a planet filled with Androzani Trees, Madge has mere minutes to save him, her daughter Lily (Holly Earl) and the Doctor from a flash-harvest.

Justin and Erik discover a fairly delightful Christmas special despite Erik’s tendency to fall asleep during it. Erik describes “Christmas Blows” movies and the notion of “brothership.” Justin calls out the improbability of Sinbad’s survival in Jingle All the Way. The whimsy The Doctor employs puts both on edge. Justin remembers that James McAvoy emerged from Narnia itself. The discussion leads, inevitably, to Phantasm and Erik and Justin’s hate for Tom Bombadil. Also, because of the presence of a lighthouse, Justin makes several references to Bioshock.

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Tread Perilously — The X-Files: Millennium

Tread Perilously closes out its controversial finales month with the unexpected back-door finale of Millennium on The X-Files.

When the corpses of recently deceased FBI agents turn up missing, Skinner assigns Mulder and Scully to the case as it may have something to do with the Millennium Group. Mulder immediately consults with Frank Black (Lance Henriksen). He waves the agents off, but offers them subtle clues. The path soon leads them to an honest-to-goodness Necromancer (Holmes Osborne) who is aiding a splinter of the Millennium Group with their plan to become the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. When Mulder finds his way to the Necromancer’s compound, he encounters zombies. Will Scully catch up with him before they break the First Seal?

Justin and Erik attempt to determine which Horseman Frank Black would become. Justin praises the work of Osborne. Erik derails the discussion with a reference to Phantasm and explains the key to a good Adrian Pasdar impression. The pair introduce Tread Perilously’s official medical expert, Dr. Gupta. Justin admits his newfound reluctance to like any celebrity. Erik rages against a lame “Scully’s dead” fake-out while Justin gets mad about The X-Files zombie rules. Erik also suggests it would be silly to replace Mulder and Scully during the tail end of the series.

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