Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

tp1400-1It’s December! Which means Tread Perilously becomes “Tread Merrily” — but this year, it’s all about A Christmas Carol and shows taking inspiration from the Charles Dickens classic. First up: Doctor Who‘s 2010 holiday special, “A Christmas Carol.”

When Amy and Rory’s honeymoon spaceship threatens to crash on a world of heavy clouds and Skysharks, The Doctor must convince the owner of the atmosphere control technology to help the ship land safely. Unfortunately, the owner, one Kazran Sardick, is quite the Scrooge. Luckily, a chance encounter with a recording of a Christmas carol inspires The Doctor to visit the bitter old man during his youth. Will generating a ghost of Christmas Past be enough for The Doctor to save his friends?

Erik tries to convince Justin “A Christmas Carol” is a good first episode for his daughter — but it might really be “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.” Justin marvels at Karen Gillan’s apparent agelessness. It leads to an appreciation of her work as Nebula. Erik manages to find a pretty good Quentyn Martell joke. His knowledge of Dickens’ bibliography fails him at a key moment, however. Justin comes to believe every British actor hopes to yell at a poor family on stage. The Child Compressor makes another horrifying appearance and Justin re-imagines the Skysharks as a 1980s action figure line.

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Tread Perilously — 7th Heaven: Thanks And Giving

tp1400-1Tread Perilously concludes its Grab Bag All-Stars month with a helping of turkey from 7th Heaven‘s final season: an episode called “Thanks and Giving.”

In the midst of their return from Scotland, Ruthie’s ill-chosen words at a New York airport lead to the Reverend, Annie, and Ruthie answering questions from the TSA and the New York Port Authority. They miss their flight back to Glen Oak and someone learns a lesson or something. Meanwhile, Lucy charges Jane, Margaret, and T-Bone with getting the house ready for her parents’ return. Will they manage to whip up a relaxing Thanksgiving for the beleaguered Camdens?

Justin finally meets T-Bone. He also laments the absence of Camden siblings Mary and Matt. The presence of Parks and Recreation‘s Millicent Gergich — or the actor who played her, anyway — leads to some election-results-powered conversation. Erik recasts Star-Lord and reveals he had the Time Stone. Digressions persist as Justin attempts to avoid talking about 7th Heaven. He comes to believe Ruthie also hates his guts. Television institution Edie McClurg makes a special appearance. Erik reveals his John Hughes movies hot takes. Justin tries to figure out why Haylie Duff is in the episode, and Lucy’s character arc gets more consideration than it deserves.

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Tread Perilously — Tequila And Bonetti: Language of the Heart

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s month of Grab Bag All-Stars continues with another baffling episode of Tequila and Bonetti, “Language of the Heart.”

When gang violence makes its way to South Coast, Visiting Detective Nico Bonetti and Officer Garcia decides to make it a contest to see who understands gangs better. Meanwhile, Lenny, a local with autism and a friend of Garcia’s late husband, makes his way to the squadroom and gets to know Bonetti. Is it possible his repeated phrases are the key to cracking the case? And can Bonetti become adept at deciphering Lenny’s language before a gang war spreads across the coast?

Justin once again riffs on the character name “Midian Knight.” It leads to a discussion of Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show and some of his other unfinished novel series. Erik tries to determine the Los Angeles area equivalent of Staten Island. Justin chooses Norwalk. He also dubs the autistic character “Storm Lad” for reasons that will become obvious. Justin laments how easy TV producers had it pitching shows in the 1980s. The pair criticize the depiction of Southern California gangs and they try to make sense of an ambiguous, yet clearly racist guest character.

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Tread Perilously — Manimal: Night of the Beast

tp1400-1Tread Perilously celebrates its 250th episode (33 episodes late) with the final hour of Manimal, “Night of the Beast”

When Lt. Rivera gives Police Woman a three day weekend for foiling a mob operation, Manimal and Black Partner encourage her to join them in their excursion to a small town upstate. Manimal hopes to study a rare, local flower while the others hope to lose themselves in a few days of doing absolutely nothing. But little does our trio know that greedy land developers and the mob are “encouraging” the town to allow them to expand the nearby country inn into a luxury hotel casino. Will the legend of the golden bear help Manimal stop unchecked capitalism?

Erik explains why the 250th episode is 33 episodes late. White Philip makes a cameo appearance. A discussion of Coen Brothers movies breaks out. Justin tries to determine when guest star Robert Englund filmed A Nightmare on Elm Street. Both the Highlander television series and the original V get added to the list of shows worth covering. Erik becomes convinced this was the second episode of Manimal produced and, in its final moments, the show gives Justin something to remember: a bear fight.

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Tread Perilously — Supertrain: Pirouette

Tread Perilously’s month of revisiting Grab Bag favorites begins with Supertrain and the episode called “Pirouette.”

Mild-mannered gynecologist Dr. Marshall Fossberg (special guest star Bernie Kopell) gets more than he bargained for when his trip on Supertrain includes meeting ballerina Natalie Smithburne (special guest star Joyce DeWitt). She wants to spend time with him, but is not responding to any of the seduction tactics his friends or a self-help book assure him will lead to success with women. Then again, Natalie is distracted as she is the Dime Store Heiress Reba (special guest star Isabel Sanford) wants to return to New York, newspaper man Tony Snelling (special guest star Tony Danza) wants to interview, and some inept hitmen (special guest stars Mako and James Gregory) want to kill.

Erik and Justin mourn Supertrain‘s “Weird Babyman” — a character who did not survive the show’s cast culling with this, its sixth episode. They also try to explain the program’s premise to new listeners. The decision to make the story’s hero a gynecologist leads back to a time when TV writers considered the profession a punchline. Erik pitches a Lifetime movie called “The Five Mrs. Fosters” for Kopell to star in. He also critiques Joyce DeWitt’s perm. Justin points out how weird it is to set Kopell up as the romantic lead when Tony Danza is also on the train. Erik and Justin reveal their pet causes if they suddenly became millionaires and an ongoing Mad Men joke comes to a surprising end.

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Tread Perilously — Supernatural: Hell House

Tread Perilously’s month of “haunted” episodes concludes with Supernatural and the episode called “Hell House.”

The road so far brings Sam and Dean to an East Texas town where a house some say is haunted is starting to produce dead bodies. Allegedly, anyway. It could be a prank — as it happens, Dean has decided to begin pranking his brother again — but it could be more. Unfortunately, the boys’ investigation is stymied by a pair of amateur ghost hunters and the fact the first reported death at the house is a load of bunk. Soon, Sam begins to think the power of the internet forced the local legend into becoming real and he may need the amateur hunters to help end the threat.

Erik tries to wrap his mind around Season 1 Supernatural while Justin enjoys Vancouver’s attempt to recreate East Texas. He also stumbles into creating “Marvel 1776.” The episode’s attempt to suggest the internet is only for nerds feels dated — even in 2005. Justin tells Erik about the two hamburger joints in Friday Night Lights. Erik cannot get over the lack of Sam and Dean’s FBI disguises. A geography corner gets very specific about the northeastern parts of Los Angeles and Erik turns into the Art Bell of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Tread Perilously — SeaQuest DSV: Knight of Shadows

Tread Perilously performs television necromancy by discussing the nearly forgotten SeaQuest DSV and its “haunted” episode “Knight of Shadows.”

Late one night, Captain Nathan Bridger recounts recent events to the hologram of his deceased wife. Seventy-two hours earlier, Bridger’s hologram machine receives a message containing coordinates. The heading indicates it may be the resting place of the George, a long-lost ship with a spitting resemblance to the RMS Titanic. The SeaQuest crew discover it has a bubble of air and a number of skeletons. And if that wasn’t eerie enough, Dr. Westphalen quickly becomes possessed by the spirit of a passenger named Lillian. But is the real secret behind this haunting horrifying or “heartwarming?”

Erik and Justin remind themselves of SeaQuest‘s premise while Justin suggests the episode writer may not have been familiar with haunted house stories. He also issues a disclaimer: his opinion of the character Jonathan Brandis plays in the episode does not reflect Justin’s opinion of Brandis himself. Erik can’t get over the fact the show just bold-face declares that ghosts are real. He also turns Jon Connington into the Red Robin of Westeros. Justin accuses actor Royce D. Applegate of being a landlubber and it’s probably not a huge leap to guess SeaQuest will return to Tread Perilously.

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