Tread Perilously — Murder, She Wrote: Death Takes A Dive

Tread Perilously’s month of Patron requests continues with its first ever episode of Murder, She Wrote — “Death Takes A Dive.”

When Harry McGraw (special guest Jerry Orbach) invites Jessica Fletcher to see the prizefighter he “inherited” from someone who owed him $5,000, she finds herself involved in the complex and often corrupt world of professional boxing. And when a hilariously crooked promoter (played by special guest star Adam West) turns up dead, Harry becomes the prime suspect; leaving Jessica to manage the prizefighter. Will she be able to exonerate Harry, get her boxer a fair fight, and solve half the problems in Boston before the count of ten?

Erik and Justin marvel over the list of guest stars — Jerry Orbach! Adam West! LeVar Burton! John Amos! Ernest Borgnine! Bradford Dillman! Erik credits YouTuber Pushing Up Roses for everything he knows about Murder, She Wrote. He also teases the next episode of the classic CBS series Tread Perilously will cover. Justin wonders why Ernest Borgnine is playing such a small part, but has no problem believing he could lay Adam West out flat. A Geography Corner breaks out when Justin and Erik try to figure out which L.A. City park is doubling for Boston. They also find the optics of Harry McGraw “inheriting” a boxer quite problematic and Erik accidentally invokes the Regan demon.

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Tread Perilously — Eureka: What About Bob?

Tread Perilously launches into a month of Patreon requests with Eureka and the episode called “What About Bob?”

Sheriff Jack Carter is called to one of Global Dynamics’ labs when a researcher goes missing. But he soon discovers the lab is a sealed biosphere and no one has been in or out in ten years! Both he and Allison Blake break the seal to enter the lab and learn the missing man has slept with every married woman in the experiment. Is mere infidelity the root cause of his disappearance or is some stranger science at work? The presence of a reptile man definitely suggests Jack has a bigger problem than low team morale.

Justin and Erik try to parse the generic nature of Eureka and why Joel Gretsch didn’t get the lead part. The gentle nature of the town gets on Justin’s nerves immediately. Erik reveals he watches commercials from the 1980s as comfort food. Justin notes Ronald McDonaldland is overrun with crime. Both extol the virtues of character actor Joe Morton. They also recall San Diego Comic-Con off-site activations and the arduous path to Nanda Parbat. Erik declares Sam Witwer as the Darth Maul and Justin uncovers why reptile mutation is the go-to genre TV trope for shitty people.

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Tread Perilously — Hell On Wheels: Bear Man

Tread Perilously concludes its month on the frontier with an episode of Hell on Wheels called “Bear Man.”

When Elam wakes up after having fought a bear and won, he is taken in by a local tribe. They believe his success against the bear means he now has the powers of the bear — a useful thing to have on their side should they attack a Union garrison. For his part, Elam seems to have lost his identity and revels in becoming “Bear Killer” for a time before a fur trapper recognizes him and a white woman taken prisoner by the tribe seeks his aid in her escape.

Erik and Justin discuss how Hell on Wheels tends to be described as “a show you can watch” and the problem of prestige TV production values. Justin points out the lack of series star Anson Mount while Erik suggests the lack of white faces and the usual Hell on Wheels format earned the episode its low IMDB rating. Archie Andrews’ bear mauling also comes up. The use of make-up effects gets praise, as does director Clark Johnson’s eye for action. The pair attempt to figure out what a 19th Century “Karen” would be and Justin gets to use his history degree for a good purpose.

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Tread Perilously — Little House on the Prairie: The Godsister

Tread Perilously’s month on the frontier continues with a trip to Little House on the Prairie and an episode called “The Godsister.”

When Charles Ingalls and Jonathan Garvey leave town to help build a telephone line in Shelbyville, the rest of the Little House pick up Charles’s chores. But the situation leaves young Carrie feeling left out and unloved. Will a spirit in the nearby creek become her new best friend? Or will it all turn out to be her imagination? Meanwhile, Charles and Jonathan encounter television curmudgeon Dolph Sweet and a shocking Irish stereotype with a plan to make whiskey by defrauding the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.

Justin is not all that surprised by Little House while Erik tests his blood sugar from the level of treacle in the episode. The two praise the TV charisma of Micheal Landon even as he endorses moonshine. Erik tries to pitch a Secret Drifter show for Merlin Olsen. The discussion almost immediately derails for Stranger Things. They also recall the Santa Clarita Valley of the 1980s. The focus on Carrie Ingalls proves to be a problem, even after the truth about the people who played her comes to light. The pair also try to figure out if Little House invented “women be crazy” comedy and the more demonic reading of the episode becomes tough for them to resist.

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Tread Perilously — Deadwood: The Trial of Jack McCall

Tread Perilously continues its month on the frontier with a visit to Deadwood to witness an episode called “The Trial of Jack McCall.”

With the body of Wild Bill Hickock lying in state and Al Swearengen fearing the arrival of U.S. law, the camp of Deadwood convenes its own court to try Wild Bill’s murder, Jack McCall. But this being Deadwood, everyone has their own reasons for seeing this sort of frontier justice to the end. Will it cause a Mr. Bullock to lose his cool? Will it make the pox outbreak which threatens the town worse? And will anyone realize E.B Farnum is not to be trusted?

Erik finally watches his first episode of Deadwood and begins to analyze it as a Libertarian power fantasy. Both he and Justin discuss the powerhouse casting throughout the episode — from stars like Timothy Olyphant to show favorite Garret Dillahunt. Jango Fett’s stolen valor comes into question. Erik suggests Jeffrey Jones should be digitally replaced by Christopher Plummer. He also tries to deal with some of the culturally insensitive words used on Deadwood. Justin sings the praises of Brad Dourif. Tombstone comes up because of course it does and Erik reveals his belief that most non-European languages’ term for “European” is “White Devil.”

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Tread Perilously — Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: Heroes

Tread Perilously sets out for a month on the frontier with four shows taking place near or in the Old West starting with Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and the lowest rated first season episode, “Heroes.”

When hunky mountain man Sully saves Colleen from a runaway cart, she decides he is meant to be with her and not Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman — never mind she’s a young teenager and he’s pushing 40! Meanwhile, local cafe proprietor and ex-slave Grace faces the racist slander of local bigot Hank. Will his ignorant screeds run her out of town, or will fellow ex-slave Robert E. take matters into his own hands?

Dr. Quinn superfan Kat Carpenter joins Erik and Justin to discuss one of her favorite series — even if she admits this episode is not a particular high point. She also offers the slight amount of context necessary to understand the episode and determine star Jane Seymour’s accent. Erik introduces his seemingly baseless dislike of actor Chad Allen. He also tells Kat that Jared Padalecki is the new face of Walker, Texas Ranger. Justin makes an interesting observation about telegraph operator Horace. His nephew Lewis, however, gives off serial killer vibes. Kat reveals the actor playing Colleen gets replaced in subsequent seasons. Also, Joshua Jackson’s charisma ruins another career.

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Tread Perilously — Lexx: White Trash

Tread Perilously concludes “People on Ships” sci-fi month with a trip to Lexx and the episode called “White Trash.”

When cannibals from planet Vermal wake up aboard the Lexx, they soon come into contact with Stanley. The group’s leader, Pa Glolean (special guest Maury Chaykin), quickly commandeers control and forces him to set course for their homeworld. Meanwhile, Sissy Glolean gets the hots for Stanley. Junior Glolean ruins his chances with Xez and 790 contrives a way to get Kai out of his stasis pod. But it all leads to a confrontation with Daddy Glolean and the sort of cynical ending one might expect from Lexx.

Erik praises actor Maury Chaykin even as he regrets having to watch him in this particular show. Justin recalls how he would see ads for Lexx on the Sci-Fi Channel, but never watch it. The two debate how deeply certain actors were into NXIVM. They also consider whether or not Xez looks more like a member of the Divinyls or Roxette. It descends into dueling Werner Herzoges. Kai’s hairdo gets reviewed. Erik tries to understand Chaykin’s process and his choice of a prop femur bone. “Picking berries” is defined and a counterfeit Colonial Viper proves to be the cherry on a shit sundae.

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