Tread Perilously is a podcast in which hosts Erik Amaya and author Justin Robinson watch the “worst” episodes of popular TV shows, attempting to determine if they would continue to watch the series based on the most off-key moments.
This Week: Manimal‘s “Pilot”
Tread Perilously starts a month of TV Horrors with the second worst television show NBC ever aired: Manimal.
When Officer Brooke McKenzie’s spots a panther on the night her partner gets shot, she is referred to leading criminologist and veterinary researcher Dr. Jonathan Chase. He gives her the runaround, as she’s stumbled onto his current case. For when trouble strikes, Chase turns into the Manimal! A wondrous hero with the ability to turn into any animal he chooses, though it’s typically a large cat species or a hawk. He’s on the trail of a crooked colonel selling arms to a mysterious group of terrorists. Will Manimal, his Black Partner, and Brooke foil the colonel’s plans to steal a shipment of nerve gas?
Though intended to be a horror situation, Erik and Justin find Manimal a delightful romp of bad choices featuring guest star Terry Keiser. They arbitrarily decide the panther is a “pyuma” for reasons that eventually become clear. Erik praises character actor Ed Lauter. Justin defines the role of Black Partner in ’80s TV shows. Both point out that Manimal’s main ability is gaslighting. He also has separate rooms for scarves and robes. Justin points out that Manimal’s clothes are fine when he transforms, despite being depicted as ripping, and Erik spots the Howling Mad Murdoch costume on a random goon. Also, Erik and Justin witness the greatest scene in Tread Perilously history.