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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Tread Perilously — Friends: The One Where Ross & Rachel Take a Break

tp1400-1Tread Perilously plops down on the Central Perk couch for a pair of Friends episodes: “The One Where Ross & Rachel Take a Break” and “The One with the Morning After.”

Ross Geller has needs. He wants to celebrate his anniversary with Rachel, but she has to work late. This makes Ross angry. So he pushes past Rachel’s boundaries to bring her a picnic dinner at her office. He also manages to set the place on fire. Rachel suggests they take a break, so he sleeps with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl from the copy center. Rachel reconsiders the break, but Ross must decide whether or not to tell her about the copy center tryst. It goes about as well as you might think because Ross has needs and they are paramount above all other considerations.

Ross sucks.

Paula Dixon returns and Friends superfan Courtney Knopf joins Erik and Justin as they recall The Legends of White People. Justin reveals he has no concept of threesome etiquette. Erik declares that the Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s ideal man is, in fact, Ross Geller. The group debates whether or not Ross and Rachel were really on a break and offer up their least favorite Friends characters. While Courtney and Paula highlight the good qualities of Ross’s romantic rival Mark, Justin assumes he’s a serial killer. And Joey ends up becoming the team favorite Friend.

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Tread Perilously — Dollhouse: Instinct

tp1400-1Tread Perilously makes its final trip to the worlds of Joss Whedon with the episode of Dollhouse known as “Instinct.”

When Echo is uploaded with the memories of a recently deceased new mother, her maternal instinct goes into overdrive as she accuses the client of cheating on her and then fears for her life and the life of her son when she overhears the client saying “I want her gone.” But it doesn’t get any better when she’s wiped of everything but the instinct. Meanwhile, Tahmoh Penikett tahmohs all over the Dollhouse, Alexis Denisof speaks with an American accent and other long-term mysteries are explored.

Tahmoh takes a beating from Erik and Justin while they also try to determine if the show was shot in Vancouver or Los Angeles. Dollhouse gets blamed for both cancelling Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and getting a reprieve from the Browncoats. The pair also enjoy the Lifetime and horror movie aspects of the episode, leading to Erik deciding the central idea is sound. Justin declares Orphan Black a better version of Dollhouse and finds himself more on Whedon’s side. He also compares the appeal of the series to The Room.

Wait, did Erik and Justin actually enjoy Dollhouse?

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Tread Perilously — Firefly: The Train Job

tp1400-1Tread Perilously draws a line in the sand and courts controversy with its first — and possibly only — trip to Joss Whedon’s Firefly.

When Captain Malcolm Reynolds agrees to steal an unspecified cargo from a mag-lev train on its way to Paradiso, he introduces his crew to the audience and reconsiders his moral flexibility when he learns the cargo is medicine for the townsfolk and sick orphans. Firefly was cancelled eight weeks later.

Erik immediately Godwins the Browncoats and discovers the core concept of the series is deeply troubling. Justin points out the lack of Alan Tudyk in the episode and the exposition anvil on display for much of its runtime. He also identifies the moment Firefly lost him. The presence of Creepy Foreigner stereotypes and the lack of Asian faces leads to a protracted discussion of the creeping segregation on television. Erik reveals his extended Dune-inspired philosophy. Noted political commentator Adam Baldwin gets name-checked and the loadstone of the show’s Civil War allegory becomes an unavoidable truth about the show: it is poison.

Yeah, we’re surprised by this revelation too.

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