Tread Perilously
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 PDT

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 PDT

Tread Perilously dives into the center of the Christmas spirit with a grouchy Santa and oil explorations in The Night They Saved Christmas (Now available on Amazon Video!).

An oil-digger's family is abducted by Santa's chief elf in an attempt to save North Pole City from the machinations of businessman Sumner Murdoch and his fear of the unseen Gaylord. While "they" learn the secrets of Santa's power and tour Dr. Fernando's lab of scientific wonders, the oil-digger gets chewed out by his boss and let's down his emotionally distraught son. Will "they" save Christmas or will Murdoch ruin Christmas forever? Also, Paul Williams has a prominent role.

Erik reveals how the movie forms the first chapter of his gritty origin story while Justin blames Dr. Fernando for all of his troubles. The pair also discuss Phantasm, Dune, Dungeons & Dragons and the tall dwarf phenomenon in Hawk the Slayer. Erik diagrams his obsession with the phrase "Christmas Eve Day." Justin imagines a time when the alt-right went looking for the Hollow Earth. Impressively bad dialogue is discussed as is Jaclyn Smith's TV movie career. Also, Justin attempts to determine who the unseen "Gaylord" really is and why he drugged the Saudis.

Because nothing says Christmas like the high stakes world of petroleum production.

Direct download: tp49.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously begins the Christmas season with a return visit to the TARDIS for "Voyage of the Damned."

After leaving Martha behind on Earth and getting a brief visit from his fifth incarnation, the Doctor crashes into the prow of the Titanic. After fixing that error, he discovers the ship is an alien vessel in Earth orbit loaded with humanoid aliens on a Christmastime cruise. But wicked business dealings lead to the ship getting hit by meteors (or is it meteoroids?). In the ensuing chaos, the Doctor must help a handful of tourists escape certain doom. He also must save Buckingham Palace from a Christmas Day calamity.

Erik and Justin get confused over the definitions of meteoroid, meteorite and meteor. Erik discovers the true source of his sour feelings toward Kylie Minogue and Justin decries the notion of "timey-wimey." Both stumble when saying name "Bannakaffalatta" while a discussion of the May-December romance tendency in film leads to a consideration of the Marylin Monroe mystique. They also discover space corporations are culpable for the deaths they cause.

But will "Voyage of the Damned" prove to be Justin's favorite Tennant Era Doctor Who story?

Direct download: tp48.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Quality Time with Family Ties' Paul Pakler joins Tread Perilously for a visit with Family Ties as they head for the United Kingdom in the TV movie Family Ties Vacation.

Steven, Elyse, Mallory and Jennifer join Alex as he spends fourteen days (or is it months?) studying at Oxford during the summer session. But Latverian agents select Elyse to smuggle microfilm out of the US. Alex's dorm mate, Lord Bullington-Covingwick Zabka, falls in love with Mallory while Steven and Elyse join a bumbling New Scotland Yard detective to foil the Latverians. Alex joins a crew team and the Keatons cause an incident at the House of Lords.

Meanwhile, Jennifer feeds some cows.

Paul reveals the secret reason why the movie exists at all while Erik explains Cold War espionage and Justin assumes England is filled with eldritch horrors. Justin gets confused about the difference between a batman and The Batman. He also decries the Family Ties' tendency to air clipshows. The group considers the fact that the vacation is apparently never referenced in the show proper and imagine a world in which Harrison Ford starred in Three Men and a Baby.

Direct download: tp47.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously sits down to Thanksgiving dinner with Sally Draper and several members of the cast of Mad Men.

While Roger and Don plot to nab new accounts, Betty plants doubts in Sally's mind about Don and Megan's willingness to be truthful around her. Betty also deals with her Weight Watchers goals as Don reasserts his creative bona fides in the office. Peggy drink and works at the same time and Megan deals with the fallout from Betty's plot. Roger disregards Jane's wishes for his own ends. Sally clowns Betty and Don unleashes some sick burns. Meanwhile, Pete Campbell dreams of a naked Rory Gilmore.

Erik reveals his hatred of puffy-lettered logos and his love for the Draper apartment. Justin discusses his unconditional love of Mad Men. Megan is declared a decent person. The pair recall the old furniture in their respective childhood homes and Erik's failed attempts to experience snow. Corn subsidies are declared a white privilege and angry steak makes another appearance as Doctor What (Roger Sterling) gets his mellow harshed by the Social Justice Daleks.

Direct download: tp46.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously takes a slight holiday detour to Valentine's Day and meets the Gilmore Girls!

Trust us, it's still timely as the series is returning soon.

Rory's boyfriend convinces her to invite Lorelai and her fiance Luke for a charming Valentine's Day weekend at his vacation home on Martha's Vineyard. They get confused about quiet hours. Lorelai regards a shoulder press with suspicion during a rare visit to a gym. Rory's boyfriend cooks lobster and Luke grouses for various reasons. Tennis bracelets are exchanged and lots of dialogue is spoken.

Erik and Justin tread what is agreed to be the second worst episode of the series without a chaperone and get caught up with a Zydeco band. They also find it difficult to regard Martha's Vineyard as anything but Amity Island. Erik notices that Luke's cap lacks a logo and Justin discusses the true purpose of spermaceti. Somehow, it all leads to a discussion of Supergirl. Also: both imagine unlikely ways to capture the wild lobster.

No one from Steve Forest was harmed in the recording of this episode.

Direct download: tp45.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously joins the Incredible Hulk as he goes home for Thanksgiving.

No, really! There was an Incredible Hulk TV show in the late 70s and in its third season, the Hulk went home to Trevorton, Colorado to visit the Banner farmstead. But an evil land developer has poisoned the fields so he can build an eight-floor office building. So it's up to Banner and his sister -- special guest star Diana Muldaur -- to turn worms into beetles while Hulk has daddy issues.

Erik and Justin discuss the obvious north San Fernando valley locations of the episode, the amateur hour 1949 flashbacks and the strange way The Incredible Hulk works as a show. They get sidetracked and talk about the current Marvel Cinematic Universe and Erik reveals his odd affection for actor Bill Bixby. The 1970s attempt at a Marvel TV Universe is explored and we learn Hulk prefers stuffing to potatoes. Also, Erik discovers the secret origin of Howling Mad Murdoch's costume from The A-Team.

Direct download: tp44.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously begins a celebration of Thanksgiving with the perennial favorite 7th Heaven.

It's almost Thanksgiving in Glenoak and the most pressing matter for the Camdens is Ruthie's love life. She's into Martin, a former lodger at the Camden home. He got Sandy pregnant, who's kinda sorta into Simon. Simon is engaged to Rose, who does not see how much the Camdens hate her.

But Ruthie doesn't know about Martin and Sandy, so everyone is on eggshells waiting for the inevitable teenage apocalypse when she figures everything out. Oh, also the kids at school think she's pregnant with Martin's baby.

Much to Justin's surprise, Ruthie grew up. But he points to creator Brenda Hampton as a cruel demiurge who taunts her creations as their universe now revolves around a teenage girl. Justin also warns against the dangers of Teen Town while Erik mistakes a fifth-tier character for Parks and Recreation's Mark Brendanowitz. The world quickly becomes a dystopian nightmare with appearances by Wez and Nicholas Roeg. Erik also reveals that he has never seen Trading Places.

Direct download: tp43.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously finally joins Sam and Dean on the road for an episode of Supernatural.

THE ROAD SO FAR: Sam and Dean are handsomely traveling when Dean gets a call from his ex, The CW's Vixen (Megalyn Echikunwoke). Her father has been killed by a spectral racist truck and needs the Winchesters' help to uncover why the ghost bigot has been killing black men in an undisclosed town somewhere along U.S. Route 6. Several Mercury Cougars are harmed in the production.

NOW: Erik and Justin find the unintentional horror in trying to use Supernatural to confront a timely issue. Erik reveals his dislike of Outback Steakhouse and suggests The CW forced the long-lost love plot into the episode. Justin reveals he doesn't get timezones. We discover ancient aliens may have influenced waves of immigration thousands of years ago. Wolf Blitzer becomes a Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos villain and Erik and Justin offer tips for eating a good steak.

Yes, steak quality and prejudice are somehow related.

Direct download: tp42.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT