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Tread Perilously – ‘The Spirit’ (1987)

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: The Spirit (1987)

Tread Perilously begins a month of TV movies with the ill-fated 1987 pilot film for The Spirit.

When Armfet, Oregon, police officer Denny Colt (Flash Gordon‘s Sam Jones) comes to Central City to investigate the death of his mentor (Philip Baker Hall in a well-received cameo), he ends up the target of corrupt art thieves. Left for dead, Denny wakes up in a graveyard and adopts a new identity: The Spirit. Now freed from the chains of due process, Denny punches all the goons in town to avenge his own “death” and the death of his mentor. But Commissioner Dolan’s daughter Ellen (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Nana Vistor) keeps getting involved in the Spirit’s investigation. Will he get that filly in line before the real art thief makes themself known? And will he save a group of special needs kids from a bomb planted in the museum?

Erik and Justin admit neither has read a Spirit comic, but Erik still has an opinion of Will Eisner’s art style. Visitor’s presence leads to a discussion of Star Trek: The Next Generation casting choices. Poolboy Ricardo becomes an instant favorite while both Erik and Justin trip over a character named “P’Gell.” Manimal and Black Partner make a cameo appearances thanks to the ’80s production values. Justin imagines the products at Pier 10, and Erik remembers Darkman as a quality film.

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