Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: The Pilot

Tread Perilously’s Doctor Who month continues with “The Pilot.”

The Doctor’s plan to live a quieter life as a lecturer at a British university (and guard a mysterious vault on the campus) is upended when his new pupil, Bill, discovers a puddle which may have absorbed her would-be girlfriend. Unable to resist the call to action, the Doctor once again shows off his brilliance and reveals to Bill the truth about the TARDIS: it can go anywhere in time and space. Will it lead to new travels with a new companion, or will his other mission keep him grounded on Earth?

Justin forgets Bill’s introduction, but Erik is on the case to incept the proper details. Jokes are made at Steven Moffat’s expense. A wild Matt Lucas appears, inspiring a discussion of British comedians and the creation of the “Ricky Gervais Scale.” Justin learns a few more details about Susan and discovers she’s a different character from Dodo Chaplet. A discussion of mediocre Marvel villains breaks out. Justin uses the term “public school” correctly. Erik takes a very long road to get to a certain Ice and Fire joke and the pair try to determine if Moffat’s misogyny is on display in the episode.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: The Ark In Space

Tread Perilously’s month of Doctor Who adventures continues with the 1974 story, “The Ark in Space.”

When Harry hits the wrong switch on the TARDIS console, he, Sarah, and the Doctor end up on Nerva Beacon, a space station returning to Earth orbit after thousands of years. Its purpose: to repopulate the planet after it was scorched by solar flares. But the mission has been co-opted by the parasitic Wirrn, who have their own designs on the Earth. Can the Doctor convince the Nerva crew he is not a primitive? Will Harry learn his chauvinism has no place in the 20th or 50th Centuries? And will bubble wrap ever get such prominent use on Doctor Who again?

Erik and Justin get lost in the bubble wrap of it all. Precarious special effects, RP accents, and solid acting make this one of the most Doctor Who episodes Justin has ever watched. He immediately takes a dislike to Harry, who is ill-served in this Robert Holmes script. Jamie McCrimmon is fondly remembered for his more liberated views on women’s roles in time travel. For some reason, Erik thinks he can attempt a Tom Baker accident. The pair try to remember the term “transmat” and, for once, the corridors get high praise.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead

Tread Perilously’s Doctor Who month continues with the two-part New Series story “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.”

When the Doctor receives a telepathic summons to help out at The Library — the galaxy’s largest repository of books — he and Donna meet Professor River Song. The archeologist is leading an expedition to The Library as it was sealed 100 years earlier under mysterious circumstances. Of course, that does not explain why Professor Song is so damned familiar with the Doctor. He’s at a loss to explain it or why the library insists all the visitors who vanished a century ago were saved. But will he be able to save the Professor’s team from perfect predators who lurk in the shadows?

Erik and Justin get into the timey-wimey-ness of it all. They also heap praise on guest stars Alex Kingston and Colin Salmon. Discussion inevitably leads to the strengths and weaknesses of both Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies. The pair also try to figure out if the number “42” is meaningful to either Doctor Who head writer. Justin tries to imagine what the Fourth or Seventh Doctor would do in this situation. He also gets distracted when he recognizes members of River’s team from other TV shows. Erik ends up trying to explain some long-running Doctor Who continuity gaffs and a certain key phrase gets repeated. Also, the Marty Scale makes its Tread Perilously debut.

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Tread Perilously Extra: A Chat With Trekkies Director Roger Nygard

Erik chats with Back to Back and Trekkies director Roger Nygard about his career, comedy, and shooting movies like Suckers and documentaries like The Nature of Existence.

Topics include the power of pre-sold movies in the 1990s, how he put the comedic element in Back to Back, and the way film distribution has changed in the last few decades. He also explains why comedians like Jake Johannsen and Bobcat Goldthwait end up in his films. He also discusses Michael Rooker, Daniel Benzali, Denise Crosby, and what it will take for Trekkies 3 to get made. Erik asks about the restoration of the first Trekkies and getting films ready for the 4K video future. Also, Nygard talks about booking Richard Dawkins for an interview.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: The Two Doctors

tp1400-1Tread Perilously celebrates its anniversary month with five weeks of Doctor Who! This week: “The Two Doctors.”

When the Second Doctor is seemingly killed during a time experiment, the Sixth Doctor and Peri track down Jamie McCrimmon on a deserted space station. The path leads them to Seville, where hostile aliens have allied with the Sontarans to learn the secrets of unlimited time travel. Will the Sixth Doctor, Peri, and Jamie arrive to save the Second Doctor in time or will the earlier Doctor become a food-obsessed Androgum?

Justin tries to imagine a “Four Doctors” with Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, and two modern Doctors. Erik recalls the first time he saw “The Two Doctors.” Justin tries to determine if the Sixth Doctor and Peri are the least-regarded Doctor/companion pairing. He also takes another shot at the Fifth Doctor. Once again, Erik and Justin get distracted by Peri’s outfit. They also enjoy the arrival of evil chef Shockeye. Alderaani food comes into the discussion. Erik explains why the Second Doctor’s mission for the Time Lords breaks continuity, but is, nevertheless, a great plot device. He also reminds Justin where he’s seen actor Jacqueline Pearce before. Also, Weng Weng makes an unexpected appearance.

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Tread Perilously — Falling Skies: Reborn

tp1400-1Tread Perilously closes out Sci-fi month with a look at the final episode of Falling Skies, “Reborn.”

As the 2nd Mass marches toward the Lincoln Memorial, fates are decided, aliens are killed, and Tom Mason makes an important choice. What, you were expecting more of a plot synopsis? This is Falling Skies.

Erik immediately declares his antipathy for Falling Skies. Justin notes the episode is the lowest rated on IMDB — meaning the series’ fans hate it. Another discussion about Moonraker breaks out. The conversation leads to authors like Harry Turtledove, Larry Niven, and Isaac Asimov. The pair also doubt executive producer Steven Spielberg’s active involvement in the program. Erik introduces the TechnoKraken. Justin breaks down why the premise works, even if the execution consistently fails. Erik defends Noah Wyle as the star. He also pitches him as a Wally West for the 1990s. A different reading of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining emerges. Will Patton gets praised even if he’s given little to do. The pair discover the soul of TNT and try to figure out what Jeff Fahey is doing here.

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Tread Perilously — Automan: Pilot

Tread Perilously continues sci-fi month with the pilot episode of Automan.

Walter Nebicher is a new form of law enforcement. He uses computers where the rest of the LAPD use their pistols and intimidation techniques. But because Nebicher is a whiz with computers and holograms, he creates Automan — a different kind of cop. An amalgam of Hollywood hunks like Burt Reynolds and Christopher Reeve with the crime-solving capacities of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, he can create hard light holograms, walk through walls, and even take Nebicher for a ride or two. And it’s a good thing he figured out how to appear since LAPD Lt. Jack Curtis has been abducted by private military contractors.

This show was produced in 1983, why do you ask?

Erik and Justin dissect the screen persona of Desi Arnaz Jr. They also try to recast Walter Nebicher and imagine how Arnaz’s own father turned him down for the Little Ricky role on I Love Lucy. Chuck Wagner ends up the MVP. Co-star Heather McNair gets compared — perhaps unfairly — to Heather Locklear, Heather Thomas, and Rebecca De Mornay. Erik tries to determine the origin of the phrase “automatic man.” Also, a discussion of the James Bond film Moonraker¬†breaks out.

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