Tread Perilously

Tread Perilously returns to the modern crime procedural with Bones. But its non-format fourth season finale may break Erik.

When Brennan and Mr. B learn a man was killed in their club, all their quirky employees are rounded up for questioning by Mr. B's cop brother. They all hold back key information as Brennan and Mr. B begin to suspect a possible culprit -- not that they're crime-solvers, mind you. As Mr. B gets caught up in a hostile takeover attempt and deals with a flamboyant local hip-hop artist, the gang slowly shows their hands leading to one inevitable outcome: none of this is happening and Brennan is writing the worst crime novel ever while Booth lay in a coma.

Erik tries his best to process what was supposed to be an amnesia episode, but turns out to be a strange mirror universe episode. Justin eventually explains all the "jokes," but they seem to thud in or out of context. A discussion of how heavy-set mafia types ensues while Erik decides it's amazing a cartoon about a Monster Truck Mafia never hit the airwaves in the 1980s.

Now here's Mötley Crüe.

Direct download: tp33.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously hits the streets of Los Angeles circa 1977 with a baffling episode of The Rockford Files.

When Jim Rockford is hired to track down the associates of a disgraced 1930s film director with Nazi sympathies, he gets involved in an art heist, a thirty-five year old murder, possible Nazis -- though they might be Stasi -- and the present-day murder of a man named Buddy. All of this might have something to do with the French police hunting down a missing 1789 painting. But then it might not. Rockford sets up a conspiracy board to keep track of the clues that never really helps. In fact, writer David Chase and director Screen Legend James Coburn probably lost track of the plot as well.

Erik and Justin wax nostalgic about Los Angeles' poor air quality, crappy Studio City apartments. They also determine the price of entry to the Communist Party and once again invoke jokes from Airplane! II: The Sequel. Memories of doughy tough guys lead to a discussion of The Nice Guys and proper screen heavies.

Also, Erik forgets about Megaforce.

Direct download: tp32.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously makes for the Ghost Woods as we take on the worst episode of Twin Peaks: Episode Nineteen, aka "The Black Widow." It's part of the "James leaves town and ends up in a film noir" storyline, but this one has an extra helping of non-action.

While James continues his sojourn down south, Cooper looks into his real estate options. Mike Nelson faces Nadine on the wrestling mat and Bobby Briggs faces Ben Horne's nervous breakdown. He might also take photos of Hank Jennings' meeting with the evil mountie and Jean Renault. The Widow Milford may have killed the mayor's brother with sex, but nobody except the mayor seems to mind all that much. Dick Tremayne thinks little Nicky might be the devil and Coop gets some new info on the people trying to set him up. Audrey appears in this episode, honest.

Justin and Erik relive the horror of James' storyline and Erik defends the presence of Dick Tremayne. Both agree that Chris Mulkey and Sherilyn Fenn deserved far better careers. They also discuss the slightly uncomfortable presence of David Duchovny in a skirt and the many layers the show utilized. A conversation about the upcoming third season leads to Erik's misgivings about the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Direct download: tp31.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously moves into the uncharted realm of premium cable television with a look at the first three episodes of Girls.

Erik and Justin witness as writer/director/creator Lena Dunham works out her characters and possibly a few personal issues as characters find voices, her protagonist develops into an unlikable anchor and Peter Scolari scores the biggest laugh. Special guest David Duman tries to explain the show's growing momentum, but Justin is far too damaged by scenes in episode two to think coherently. Erik finds things to like in the terrible framing of shots and the slowly emerging comedic core. Both find little difference between Adam Driver's character on the show and Kylo Ren. Will the team press on into more episodes? Will Hannah ever get a job?

Direct download: tp30.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously returns to cop shows with the great early-aughts The Shield. Unfortunately, it means watching the second season episode "Co-Pilot."

Detective Vic Mackey angles to get himself and his partner on the new anti-gang Strike Team in the soon-to-open substation in the Farmington District of Los Angeles. He hopes to make a difference with the added freedom of the task force, but the stations new commanding officer, Captain David Aceveda, has different ideas. Meanwhile, sycophantic detective Dutch Wagenbach hopes to partner up with a legendary detective ready who is ready to retire.

Special guest Sarah Madden joins Erik and Justin to parse an episode that is baffling in its attempt to be a pilot while still requiring a surprising amount of knowledge about the show in order to understand it.  Justin and Erik recall some of their favorite moments from the series while Erik once again calls for Ronnie Gardocki to get his freedom.

Direct download: tp29.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Star Trek: The Motion Picture

With Justin and Erik away at Comic-Con, we present a special episode featuring a film -- which started as a television pilot -- Justin has been avoiding for decades ... Star Trek: The Motion Picture!

When an alien force of unbelievable destructive power threatens the Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk takes his sweet time getting a refit U.S.S. Enterprise out of dry dock to combat the new menace. His attempt to get the old crew together is successful when Spock joins them en route. But Commander Willard Decker chafes at being demoted to executive officer when Kirk takes the center seat. Will they solve the mystery of the alien death cloud before the Earth is sterilized? Will anyone look comfortable in those costumes?

Justin faces the endless special effects sequences and slow start of the film while Erik tries his best to defend a beautiful looking but poorly placed film. Justin learns that he has seen Persis Khambatta in at least two other films. The two also discuss the difficulties in converting a TV pilot script into a feature film. And while you might think a twelve-minute sequence in which the Enterprise leisurely tours the alien death cloud is excessive, it's right at home in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Direct download: tp28.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously makes its first trip into the wild world of Aaron Sorkin with an episode he had to call "Oh Shenandoah." To be honest, we're not completely sure why he did that.

While Will sits in the clink and refuses to give up his source, Charlie Skinner continues the relentless march toward Twitter integration on the network. Sloan has words with the new app guy while Don tries to convince a rape victim not to confront her attacker on air. Meanwhile in Russian, Jim and Maggie play at being Jim and Pam from The Office while trying to catch an interview with Edward Snowden.

Erik discovers a new level of disdain for Sorkin with this, his second complete unit of Sorkin's writing after The Social Network. He and Justin discuss the surprising work of Olivia Munn and Sam Waterston -- once Erik learns why their characters seem to be respectively under and over-performed. Also, Justin dismisses Jim and Maggie as toxic people.

Direct download: tp27.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Special Review Unit: Hothouse

Tread Perilously returns to the case files of the Special Review Unit for an episode that warns against an education method more extreme than the common core.

When the SVU detectives dredge the body of a 14 and 1/2 year-old girl out of the river, they immediately assume she had a case of Angry Pimp Syndrome. But when the medical examiner discovers she was in the Ukraine recently, they assume she must've been part of a human trafficking operation. When the local Ukrainian trafficker spots her in a Ukrainian newspaper for her accomplishments in physics, they turn their attention to Morewood Academy, where the brightest youths in Manhattan complete for scholarships, top marks and chess commendations. You might think something sinister was happening at the school, and you'd be partially correct ... but there's at least two more blind alleys before Stabler and Benson find the real killer.

Erik and Justin welcome special guest Charlie Wright to talk about the episode, some key lines of dialogue, and a portion of an episode she actually likes. Erik and Charlie tell Justin about the show's worst ADA, Kim Greylek, and all three discover Captain Cragen can appear in a puff of smoke to fire people.

Direct download: tp26.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously concludes its current tour of Doctor Who with its first Peter Capaldi era story, "Dark Water/Death in Heaven."

When Clara's boyfriend gets owned by a bus, Clara threatens to destroy all the keys to the TARDIS unless The Doctor agrees to save him. The Doctor decides to help her out anyway and they make their way to 3W, a strange mortuary service led by the equally odd Missy. But the whole thing turns out to be the work of the Master as she implements Plan 9 from Outer Space. And as Cybermen begin to cover the Earth in a storm of Cyber-pollen, Clara and her dead boyfriend argue.

Fanbase Press' Drew Siragusa joins Erik and Justin as Justin finally meets the Cybermen! The group discusses the Master at length while Erik recalls the days of Mondas. They also find the Doctor's casual negging of Clara appearance really off-putting. Justin considers the possibility of Augustus Gloop running the Chocolate Factory and "Death in Heaven" never stops ending.

Steven Moffatt ends up an unpopular fellow in this one.

Direct download: tp25.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Answering listener requests, Tread Perilously takes a look at "The Beast Below," the second Doctor Who episode to feature Matt Smith in the title role ... and it turns out to be a pretty good one.

The Doctor and Amy land on Starship UK, where children and adults alike fear the omnipresent Smilers. But no one knows their true purpose, not even Queen Elizabeth X. As Amy digs deeper into the problem, she finds a message from herself telling her to get the Doctor off the ship. And when the Doctor determines what really powers Starship UK, he is faced with nothing but terrible choices.

Erik and Justin end up liking the episode a great deal and end up wondering why more than one listener suggested it. They also identify the obvious influence of Douglas Adams on the story and the visual cues lifted from Bioshock. Erik takes the opportunity to decry nationalism and the tendency of American schools to de-emphasize World War I. Justin decides the episode might be one of the best he's seen so far.

Direct download: tp24.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT