Tread Perilously

Erik and Justin's Doctor Who excursion brings them to 1988 and "The Happiness Patrol," a Sylvester McCoy episode featuring the infamous Kandy Man.

The Doctor and Ace land on Terra Alpha, an Earth colony in the grip of the Thatcher-esque Helen A. With her Happiness Patrol, she intends to enforce cheer and happiness across the planet. She also seems to be in the sugar business, but that part of the story is less precise. When the Doctor decides to get involved, he is sent to the Kandy Kitchen, where he confronts a being that is part robot and part marzipan.

Justin discovers he likes the Kandy Man and wishes the story was more about him while Erik tries to wrap himself around the story's odd editing choices and the correct pronunciation of director Chris Clough's name. Will this story end up Justin's favorite of the John Nathan-Turner era?

Direct download: tp21.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma

Tread Perilously returns to the Colin Baker era with "The Twin Dilemma."

The Doctor's recent regeneration seems to be failing and he decides to meditate in a cave on Titan III. But at the same time, his old mentor Azmael is also using Titan III for a different purpose. An evil purpose. He's kidnapped a pair of genius twins to aid in the master plan of Mestor, a giant gastropod with designs on the galaxy.

Erik and Justin try their best not to blame producer John Nathan-Turner for the excesses in the story, C. Baker's performance and the Sixth Doctor's clothes. Erik theorizes why some Timelords take on titles and other just use their names. Justin ranks Peri on the newly dubbed "Padbury Scale" and finds he likes the production design. Erik tries to explain his like for the Sixth Doctor while the character's first meeting with Peri inspires a visit from Sean Connery.

Direct download: tp20.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Erik and Justin return to Doctor Who with the Peter Davison era episode "Snakedance" and wonder how the show survived with John Nathan-Turner in the producer's chair.

When the TARDIS arrives on Manussa, Tegan dreams of the Mara. Meanwhile a bored Joffrey Baratheon type gets ready for the local festival of the snake. When the Doctor analyzes the situation, he realizes the Mara survived their last encounter in Tegan's dreams and will use the snake festival to regenerate itself and rule the Manussan corner of the galaxy. Or something. There are caves. There are crystals. There is also a mystery man in the desert.

Justin and Erik find themselves critiquing the fashion choices of Davison's second season as both Tegan and Nyssa get new outfits. One is definitely more hideous than the other. Erik recalls the commercials for the 1980s Southern California electronics chain The Federated Group. Justin reconsiders his ranking of Davison and compares him to non-flavored ice milk.

Direct download: tp19.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously opens the case files of the Special Review Unit to take a look at the "Rescue," a twelfth season episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in which Olivia Benson once again destroys a life. What begins as a case of revenge, leaked files and handsy paramedics turns into a personal situation for Benson as the mother of her foster-son returns. And while she might be something of a trainwreck, she is the boy's mother, something Benson expressly is not.

But it all works out as Benson adopts an infant a few seasons later.

Erik, Justin and special guest Louis Allred discuss the problems of the more character-focused SVU episodes, their preference for more episodic and insane episodes and actress Mariska Hargitay's ultimate victory over producer Dick Wolf. They also touch on what happens when a long-running network drama has to pivot and what SVU looks like in season 17.

Direct download: tp18.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Star Trek Voyager: Theshold

Tread Perilously returns to Starfleet with a look at the infamous Star Trek: Voyager episode "Threshold." Scumbag Tom Paris crosses the Warp 10 threshold and returns as a rapidly evolving lifeform who decides the infinite warp state needs women. But not before he grouses about his upbringing and his hope to leave a mark on the galaxy.

Then he mates with Captain Janeway while they're both super-evolved salamanders.

Erik reveals a long forgotten hatred of Tom Paris while Justin revels in the lunacy of the episode. It leads to a discussion about how much Star Trek needs serialization, Erik's tendency to crack jokes about Worf and Justin's recent look at the Original Series. They also suggest an alternate version of Voyager and their hopes for the 2017 series. And they promise to take a look at Enterprise.

Direct download: tp17.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Hunter: Love, Hate, and Sporty James

Tread Perilously makes a trip to 1980s Los Angeles as Erik finally subjects Justin to an episode of the once-popular 80s cop show Hunter. When Hunter and McCall's Huggie Bearish informant Sporty James witnesses a murder, the detectives try to get him to testify against Columbian drug cartel enforcer Bogota while Sporty sees an opportunity to score a cool million from the cartel.

You can see the flaw in his plan.

Justin and Erik discuss the strange format of 80s cop shows, star Fred Dryer's failure to do much of anything, the show's similarities to the third Dirty Harry film, The Enforcer and the grimy streets of Los Angeles in the mid-80s. They also spot the real LAPD detectives smuggled into the episode and familiar faces buried in the episode. Garrett Morris's strengths as an actor are also called into question.

Direct download: tp16.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Babylon 5: Grey 17 is Missing

Tread Perilously docks at Babylon 5 to take a look at the late season three episode "Grey 17 is Missing," a story even creator J. Michael Straczynski admits was difficult to write. Boy does it show as Delenn's ascension to Ranger One becomes a drier affair than it should be -- and that's considering a threat against her life. Meanwhile, Garibaldi heads down to the titular Grey 17 where he encounters a cult led by Robert Englund and the Beast from Krull.

Justin is already missing Doctor Who as he admits he only saw season four of Babylon 5, but finds Garibaldi hard to watch. Erik admits to a soft spot for star Bruce Boxleitner and the design of the Babylon 5 station itself. It all leads to larger discussion of sci-fi television in the late 1990s and the similarities to Justin's favorite show of the era, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It also leads to a discussion of the show's influence on modern television and the video game series Mass Effect.

Direct download: tp15.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Lizzie Borden Took An Ax

Tread Perilously returns to the beginning to celebrate its one year anniversary! A year ago, the show began as "An Axe to Grind" as Erik and Justin decided to do a podcast centered around Lifetime's limited series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. They continued on to Doctor Who, Attack on Titan and a number of other series, but never returned to the TV movie from which the whole thing began: Lizzie Borden Took an Ax.

Lizzie begins her murder spree with her father and step-mother, but the baffled police of Fall River, Massachusetts cannot connect the dots without the help of Payback's Gregg Henry. Can The 4400's Billy Campbell get her acquitted on a Miranda technicality which will not exist for at least another fifty years?

Erik and Justin recount their fascination with the series and the early steps to its madness in the TV movie. They also consider the difficulties of the courtroom drama, the missing Lizzie Borden Chronicles characters and Lifetime's intended audience. Erik also tries to figure out his beef with The 4400's Billy Campbell.

Direct download: tp14.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Tread Perilously courts controversy as it takes a look at the Tom Baker era story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," one of the highest-regarded stories in the series, but suggested by a listener who hates it.

The Doctor and Leela land in Victorian London and face yellow peril as the illusionist and mesmerist Li H'Sen Chang enchants young ladies to become part of the ghastly experiments of his master, Weng-Chiang. With the help of theater proprietor Henry Gordon Jago and local medical examiner Dr. George Litefoot, the Doctor and his companion uncover giant rats in the sewer, a phantom at the theater and a pig-brained robot responsible for starting World War VI.

Will Erik and Justin be able to see past the rampant racism in the story to the wit and humor of writer Robert Holmes? Will they want Jago and Litefoot to receive their own spin-off? Will Justin change his opinion of Leela? And just why do so many threats come from the 51st Century?

Direct download: tp13.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously -- Doctor Who: Death to the Daleks

Tread Perilously continues its adventure in time and space with the Jon Pertwee era Doctor Who story "Death to the Daleks." The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith find themselves on planet Exxilon out of power and out of answers. The Daleks also land on the planet, but also find themselves out of power. Turned into middle management, the Daleks order the natives and some marooned humans to mine an ore while the Doctor and a new friend learn the secrets of Exxilon's mysterious living city.

Erik and Justin discuss the odd similarities to "The Dominators," Pertwee's performance and both stories' slight case of senioritis. Terry Nation's strengths and weaknesses as a writer also get some examination. They plot the next big Dalek TV show: "Daleks of the Old West" and consider what happens when a Dalek becomes the boss of crusty gold prospectors. They also suggest the possibility that Nation was done with the Daleks when writing this story.

Direct download: tp12.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT