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Sliders

From Academic Kids

The original cast of Sliders. From left to right: , , , and
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The original cast of Sliders. From left to right: Wade Welles, Rembrandt Brown, Maximillian Arturo, and Quinn Mallory

Sliders is a science fiction television series that ran from 19952000, across five seasons. The series focuses on a group of people travelling between alternate worlds ("sliding"), trying to find their way back to the world they started out from.

The first three seasons of Sliders were shown by the Fox Network. It was cancelled after the first season, which was broadcast from March to May 1995, but was brought back for a second season from March to July 1996. A third season was broadcast from September 1996 to May 1997. The Sci Fi channel produced the fourth (June 1998 to April 1999) and fifth (from June 1999) seasons, but cancelled it in February 2000.

In the UK, the BBC showed the first three seasons from September 1996 to January 1999. The episodes were (confusingly) shown out of order. No episodes have been repeated and the fourth and fifth seasons were not aired. The Sci Fi channel has also shown all 5 seasons of Sliders in daily rotation.

The first two seasons (23 episodes) were released on DVD in region 1 on August 3 2004, and in region 2 on December 27 2004. The third season is scheduled for release in region 1 on July 19, 2005.

The show was produced by Tracy Tormé, who is the son of singer Mel Torme.

Contents

Storyline

While attempting to develop what he thought was an anti-gravity machine, the young physicist Quinn Mallory mistakenly developed a device capable of opening vortices to alternate universes. On a trial run with his friend Wade Welles and his professor Maximillian Arturo (and the singer Rembrandt Brown, who accidentally came along for the ride) the timer used to return them to their own world was damaged when it was activated ahead of schedule. This left them unable to control when the vortices would open or which world they would lead to. The format for the series was thus established: each episode begins with the protagonists arriving in a new world with some difference from the world they started out in (penicillin was never discovered, the USA is part of the Soviet Union, women oppress men, etc.); while waiting for the next vortex to open, they get into some kind of trouble, get separated from the timer, and have to get back to the device in time to travel through the door into the next world.

The fourth season re-introduced the Kromaggs from season two, where they made a brief appearance in the episode Invasion. The Kromaggs are a species using sliding technology to travel from world to world, conquering and enslaving humans. On the world they are from, Cro-Magnon man and the Neanderthals did not become extinct, but instead evolved together into a unique species distinct from modern humans. Arturo is killed by an insane colonel and Maggie Beckett, a U.S. Marine captain from the colonel's world, joins the Sliders. At the start of the fourth season, Quinn, Rembrandt, and Wade find their way home, but it has been taken over by the Kromaggs. (Maggie's world was destroyed by an exploding pulsar.) Wade is captured by the Kromaggs and is not seen again until very late in the series when she has been turned by the Kromaggs into a computer capable of predicting the future and tracking wormholes.

Meanwhile, Quinn, Maggie and Rembrandt try to find a weapon against the Kromaggs. Quinn discovers that he's really from another Earth, where he's the son of reality-hopping anti-Kromagg resistance fighters. Quinn also learns he has a brother, Colin, on another (technologically-backward) parallel earth who joins them. At the beginning of the fifth season Colin is lost between dimensions. Quinn melds with his double on a parallel earth, Mallory, who joins Rembrandt, Maggie, and scientist Dr Diana Davis. They discover that the resistance's weapon against the Kromaggs is fatal to human beings. At the end of the last episode, Rembrandt slides alone with a virus in his blood to fight the Kromaggs on his world.

Sliders has also been spun-off into a short-lived comic book series, published by Acclaim Comics.

Sliders-esque stories abound in comics, TV series and science fiction books, one of which is the Hypertime plotline running in DC Comics' 2nd Superboy series (issues 60–65), where Superboy hops between Elseworld, Realworld and Possible 'Realities' in a fashion akin to Sliders. Sliders also has similarities to Marvel's Exiles title, which features several Marvel characters who have been pulled from their own realities to fix problems in alternate ones. The series also shares some similarities with Quantum Leap, and some fans have speculated about a link between the character of Maggie Beckett and Quantum Leap protagonist Sam Beckett.

Changing themes

The nature of the show changed during the seasons. Most fans tend to prefer the first two seasons, which focused on alternate histories and alternate social norms, and disliked the third season, which had an action-oriented focus and did not focus much on alternate histories. The third season is compared to movie rip-offs by many fans, and this can be seen by episodes which emulate the films Twister (Electric Twister Acid Test), Tremors (Paradise Lost), Dragonheart (Dragonslide), Lost World (Dinoslide), and The Island of Dr. Moreau (This Slide of Paradise).

The fourth and fifth seasons focus mostly on fighting the Kromaggs and some fans say this is where it jumped the shark.

Characters

Regular

Semi-regular

Changing characters

Fans of the series have dedicated websites to reports of petty office politics pushing cast and crew members off the show and thus changing the direction of the series. Among the allegations:

  • John Rhys-Davies was reportedly fired from the series for having insulted a Fox executive at a party a few years previously. When this executive gained control of the series, he sought revenge by killing off Davies's character. The episode where Davies was killed was a radical rewrite of a script he penned.
  • Sabrina Lloyd was reportedly disappointed in not getting a raise and left the show to star in Sports Night. Or she was fired after holding up the production of an episode during a verbal argument with Kari Wührer after Kari had insulted Wade's boyfriend (at the time a crew member) while on the set. The fact that her character was sentenced to be gang raped by Kromags is often cited, by fans, as proof of the bad blood that existed on the set.
  • Jerry O'Connell reportedly quit the show after his request to become the executive producer was denied. Once he was gone, his brother was fired, as he had been brought onto the series at the request of O'Connell.

Changing staff

Fans of the series have also dedicated websites to reports that original creators, and writers were fired from the series or lost creative control because of the short-sighted executives at Fox. Much the criticism of Fox is based on a belief that they pushed the series away from its social commentary, and exploration of scientific theories and various philosophies in order to focus more on cheap action, sex appeal and ripoffs of other science fiction films.

  • The series co-creator, Tracy Tormé, has often been critical of the direction the series took after he lost control of it.

Trivia

  • Maggie Beckett may have gotten her name because Sliders was often compared to the Quantum Leap television series that starred Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett.
  • Cleavant Derricks's twin brother, Clinton Derricks-Carroll, occasionally appeared on the show when there was a need for Rembrandt and his double to interact.

The departure of the original actors and the changing tone of the series meant that many storylines had to be abandoned or left open. Among the rumored, never-developed storylines were:

  • The Professor (John Rhys-Davies) was the evil double that the original Sliders had met earlier in the series and the real Professor would have to be found.
  • Quinn's naive brother was either a Kromagg spy or somehow under the control of the Kromagg race.
  • The script for the final episode of the series was supposed to feature a big budget, final battle with the Kromaggs.

Episodes

See List of Sliders episodes.

External links

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