Tread Perilously

Tread 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?

Direct download: tp59.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread 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.

Direct download: tp58.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously faces Bai Ling once more in an episode of Angel known as "She."

When Cordelia gets an eye-popping vision of a man burned to death, Angel investigates the case of a "Bringer of Chaos and Destruction" whose only crime is being born a woman. When men from her dimension attempt to kidnap her and remove the source of her power, agency and sexuality, the whole of Team Angel aid her in defeating the dudebros and saving several more women who also escaped from their home reality.

Justin and Erik gets lost talking about their favorite of the Joss Whedon series. Erik recalls the importance of co-creator David Greenwalt and his previous series, Profit. He also double-checks the geography of Los Angeles in the episode. Justin posits that the heavy serialization of Angel was a key to its success. The strange cellphone subplot gets called into question; as does the very obvious metaphor in this week's story. Sean Gunn gets a namecheck and Erik negs Outback Steakhouse.

Direct download: tp57.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously cracks open some homebrew beer to take a look at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode known as "Beer Bad."

Following a one-night stand, Buffy Summers attempts to drown her sorrows with Black Frost beer and a new crowd of well-read frat guys. Meanwhile, Xander gets a job at the campus bar and Willow notes Oz is no longer his happy-go-lucky self. When it turns out the beer has been cursed by a warlock, Xander has to keep Buffy out of trouble while the frat boys -- now Cro-Magnons -- roam the UC Sunnydale campus.

Oh, and Willow catfishes Buffy's one night stand, who happens to look disturbingly like Jordan Catalano.

Justin defends the Buffy fight scenes from their primitive look and reveals why the episode exists at all. Erik admits his distaste for both Buffy Summers as a character and actress Sarah Michelle Gellar as a person. The two might be intertwined. Erik also envisions an Earth-36 where Bernie won, Joe Carnahan directed Suicide Squad and actor Adam Kaufman became the Joker. Justin notes the change in dating habits since 1999 and his own similarities to Xander. Both praise the comedic timing of Alyson Hannigan and Erik creates an unlikely Dwarvish proverb.

Direct download: tp56.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously submits to God's Plan and takes on one of the worst episodes of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, "Black Market"

When the new commander of the Battlestar Pegasus turns up dead, Admiral Adama assigns the investigation to his son Lee -- emerging aristocracy much? -- leading him to an odyssey across the fleet and into his own mind to understand the necessity of black markets in quasi-capitalists societies. Also, Lee hooks up with a sex worker, gets into arguments with Zarek, Baltar, and Colonel Tigh, and remembers a heretofore unrevealed fiancee on Caprica.

Yeah, there's a reason even executive producer Ronald D. Moore considers this a terrible epsiode.

Erik is convinced that Bill Duke has no time for your moral quandaries while Justin wants to talk about Lost and Babylon 5. Doc Cottle gets praise, flashbacks get dissected and the pair consider if the show should've continued with a crimelord version of Lee Adama. Justin attempts to purge his soul of his hatred for Helo and Erik declares "33" one of the most perfect episodes of television ever. Meanwhile, Marion Cotillard waits in the shadows.

Direct download: tp55.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously straps in for a visit with Knight Rider and its first season episode, "Trust Doesn't Rust."

Michael Knight (a young loner) learns about a prototype version of his trusty car, KITT, known as the Knight Automated Roving Robot -- KARR, if you prefer. When KARR is reactivated by a couple of hobos, he goes on a crime spree as he attempts to evade "the slammer." While Michael and KITT fail to track down the rogue robot car, one of the hobos kidnaps KITT's cyber-technician Bonnie, leading to a laser fight and a tense game of chicken.

Justin discovers the world of the Knight Rider for the first time and finds himself confused by "a man who does not exist." KARR immediately becomes the Libertarian presidential candidate for 2020 with Charles Bronson as his running mate. Erik tries to explain creator Glen A. Larson's fascination with catty computers and gay robots. The dynamic between a carousing oaf and a talking car is explored. Chicken becomes an important test in KARR-era masculinity. Erik determines that self-preservation is a bad thing to program into artificial intelligence and also laments his inability to do a Paul Frees impression.

Direct download: tp54.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously makes its way to Starling City for a visit with Arrow and the Huntress.

While Oliver Queen is still getting used to dating a police officer, the Huntress returns to kill her mob boss father once and for all. Meanwhile, Thea tries to prop up the most useless man in the DC Universe: Roy Harper. Tommy Merlyn (aka, The Worst) grouses about keeping Ollie's secret from Laurel (also The Worst). Laurel attempts to get her father listen to her mother's belief that Sarah is still alive. And back on Lian Yu, Slade and Ollie plan to take out a missile installation.

Erik and Justin immediately get lost in their enthusiasm for DC Comics. Erik welcomes dissenting opinions on his belief that Roy Harper is useless. Justin reveals his Jim Lee/Brian Azzarello sketch. He also revels in his love of Slade Wilson and actor Manu Bennett. Roy's parkour skills get scrutinized. Justin considers the caliber of actor worthy to portray Amanda Waller. Erik laughs through every scene featuring Tommy and both discuss how far The CW's DC Universe has come in five years. 

Erik also makes a prediction regarding Prometheus' identity.

Direct download: tp53.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously boards the Enterprise bound for Space Scotland for an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "Sub Rosa."

On the occasion of her grandmother's death, Dr. Beverly Crusher visits Space Scotland where the weather modification system is on the blink and Dr. Crusher encounters a strange young man. Her grandmother's journals also make reference to a young man named Ronin -- note the spelling -- who brought her great pleasure. Now, he has his sights on Bev, the latest member of Clan Howard that he hopes to seduce.

But what does all of this has to do with the sudden appearance of fog on the bridge of the Enterprise?

Erik and Justin trot out their terrible Scottish accents and consider how difficult it is to place a Gothic romance (or is it horror) into the 24th Century of Star Trek. Erik reveals his ambivalence toward Rogue One: A Star Wars Story while Justin praises it. Erik declares that official Star Trek cannot do eroticism (even if Star Trek fans can) and Justin lodges a complaint against the term "lover." Both also want Deanna Troi to get a better job.

Direct download: tp52.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Tread Perilously -- Special Review Unit: Faith

For the last Tread Perilously of 2016, we reopen the case files of the Special Review Unit for an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent called "Faith." A seemingly apt title.

Det. Robert Goren and Det. Alex Eames investigate the murder of a man helping Erica Windermere, a young author hiding from her dope gang parents. She's written a book, Through The Darkness, about her struggles with Lou Gehrig's Disease and her early abuse by her drug gang parents. Erica's editor can only offer her email address as contact information. And when Erica responds to Eames' email, Goren asks a most important question: "How has your disease affected your menstruation?" From her answer, he comes to believe that she does not exist.

Executive ADA Louis Allred joins the Special Review Unit once again as Justin meets Det. Goren for the first time. He also learns about the new La Croix Sparkling Water rule for white people. The SRU ends up talking about Taylor Swift. Several respirators are purchased. Doctor What appears to refill a drink and the discussion wanders into another look at Gone Girl. Also, Justin declares that Vincent D'Onofrio is a bad actor, Michael Nouri gets a name check, and Erik's D'Onofrio impression lapses into William Shatner.

Direct download: tp51.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Television's darkest, most misguided program becomes Tread Perilously's Christmas special as we watch The Star Wars Holiday Special.

While Han and Chewie try to get to Kashyyyk for Life Day, Chewie's wife Mala tries to make Bantha Rump, his grandfather Itchy beats off to Diahann Carroll and his son Lumpy watches a Star Wars cartoon pilot. Meanwhile, Darth Vader orders every household in the system to be searched for Rebel spies, and Art Carney raids another holiday special with his own brand of merriment. Bea Arthur sings "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye" and Harvey Korman kills comedy forever.

Erik praises Harrison Ford's dedication to his character -- even in this -- and Bea Arthur's performance. Justin uncovers horrors of the 1970s and ponders Itchy's obsession with human women. Period commercials are discussed as both discover unions could once afford airtime. The pair also meet Tobor the Robot and discover Whirpool knew about the world to come 38 years ago. Justin wants a stuffed Bantha for Christmas and leans the secret to braising is "Stir, whip, stir whip; whip, whip, stir."

Direct download: tp50.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PST