The first three seasons of Sliders were shown by the FOX Network. It was originally canceled after the first season, which was broadcast from March 22, 1995 to May 17, 1995, but was brought back for a second season after much fan protest, from March 1, 1996 to July 12, 1996. A third season was broadcast from September 20, 1996 to May 16, 1997. The Sci Fi Channel produced the fourth season (June 8, 1998—April 23, 1999) and fifth season (from June 11, 1999—February 4, 2000), but announced in July 1999 that Sliders had been canceled, and that there would not be a sixth season. The last new episode first aired on December 29, 1999 in the United Kingdom and finally aired on the Sci-Fi Channel on February 4, 2000.
The third season introduced the first significant changes to the premise of Sliders. As a result of increased FOX Network oversight (and the network-enforced, unwilling relinquishment of day-to-day creative control by creator Tracy Tormé), episodes became far more action-oriented, even going so far as to devolve into riffs on major genre feature films (including Species, Twister, and Anaconda). For the original series' creators, this was the beginning of a downward creative trend, culminating with the firing of John Rhys-Davies by the network, and Tracy Tormé deciding not to contractually continue with the series he himself created, in light of the massive creative interference he was receiving from the network executives.
The fourth and fifth seasons saw the series moved to the Sci-Fi Channel, and a restoration of the series creators' original "alternate history" premise; the other major storyline (begun at the end of the second season, but de-emphasized during Season Three) involved the growing war against the Kromaggs.
Quinn Mallory, a graduate student of physics specializing in string theory, creates a device capable of opening vortices to alternate universes. He develops the technology to the extent that not only can he send items through the gateway he created, but also, with the use of a timer, to return them to their point of origin. He uses himself as his first living "guinea pig." After his initial slide, he returns to find a double from another universe has cause him a bit of trouble, but also helped him solve the final 'missing piece' in the equation for sliding (which includes a solution to the unified field theory).
His best friend Wade Welles and his professor/mentor Maximillian Arturo join him on his second test. However, the wormhole grows unstable and spirals out of control. Singer Rembrandt "Cryin' Man" Brown, driving by Quinn's house, is accidentally sucked through with them. When the timer is activated ahead of time, more than four hours before it was scheduled to, it loses its original coordinates, and the Sliders cannot return home. This leaves them unable to control when the vortices open, or which universe they leap to. The Sliders continue moving from universe to universe, trying to find their way back home.
Common themes during this season include the exploration of political issues, and the appearances of recurring characters' alternate selves, showing how their situations had changed in various realities.
The group actually arrives on their homeworld at the end of the second-season premiere episode "Into the Mystic," but only has seconds to decide whether or not to stay. Quinn's gate that had always squeaked does not squeak, so they leave, not knowing that his family's gardener just recently fixed it. Other than this two-minute visit to their original world Earth Prime, the Sliders are still no closer to returning home. The Sliders encounter the Kromaggs for the very first time, in the episode "Invasion." Their presence is short-lived, but they become part of the main plot of the series in later seasons.
The third season takes a more bizarre creative turn, producing a series of one-off episodes. Additionally, the production of the series was moved from Vancouver, Canada to Los Angeles, California (due to an increased desire for oversight by FOX Network executives), necessitating a creative adjustment in the climatology of future stories. Whereas Vancouver was very green and "lush," the Los Angeles filming environments brought a much "brighter" color palette to the series, including (for the first time) desert location-shooting.
Early in the season, Quinn meets a woman named Logan St. Clair, who is working on sliding technology herself, and decides to help her. It is later discovered that she is not only a female double of Quinn himself, but also one with nefarious purposes. As a result of their interaction, a key part of the timer, which normally ensures that characters slide within a two-mile radius, has been replaced with a version that causes them to slide anywhere within 400 miles. Before this, their slides took them to alternate versions of San Francisco. Afterwards, they could arrive in many varied locations, but most episodes take place in alternate versions of Los Angeles.
In the middle of the season, the Sliders do not slide when their timer reaches zero, which means the timer cannot open a vortex for another 29 years. However, they later find a replacement timer, and are able to continue sliding. A little bit later in the season, Quinn mentions that his timer has a 500-mile radius, which presumably could be the radius of the new timer. However, later in Season Four, Maggie says that the timer has a 400-mile radius.
During a slide to a world that is soon to be destroyed by fragments of a pulsar, the Sliders are pulled into a military operation commanded by Gulf War veteran Colonel Angus Rickman and Captain Maggie Beckett. The goal of this operation is to develop sliding technology in order to evacuate the best and brightest to a new homeworld. While helping the operation to succeed, Quinn amazingly finds what he believes to be Earth Prime; but Quinn also discovers that Maggie is unable to breathe there. Meanwhile, the other Sliders uncover that Rickman is murdering the evacuees in order to obtain donor tissue necessary to stave off a strange brain disease Rickman contracted during the war. To protect his secret and himself, Rickman kills Professor Arturo and Dr. Stephen Jensen (Maggie's husband) before escaping with the only timer Quinn believes can finally take the Sliders home.
A new mission is born — the search for Rickman. Maggie wants revenge on Rickman for killing her husband, and the other Sliders want to stop Rickman from harming anyone else; but moreso, the Sliders want Rickman's timer and the chance it offers to finally send them home. Maggie joins the Sliders, and they continue to chase Rickman until he meets his demise in the season finale. With Rickman's timer in hand, the episode ends with Quinn shoving Wade and Rembrandt into the vortex that may finally take them home, but Quinn makes a last second decision to stay behind with Maggie who fears she can not survive on Quinn's home world. Refusing to give up, Quinn convinces Maggie to take a chance and slide with him using the remaining timer, but the duo finds that apparent damage to the timer has caused a malfunction. Quinn and Maggie have not followed their friends; they have instead landed on an unknown parallel earth. While filming the episode "Desert Storm" actor Ken Steadman (Cutter), was killed in a dune buggy accident.
After three months and ten worlds, Quinn and Maggie finally follow the trail of their friends; but the world believed to be home has changed since Quinn and Maggie's last visit. Now conquered by the Kromagg Dynasty, this world found Rembrandt sent to the horrors of a Kromagg prison and Wade sent to a Kromagg breeder-camp on an alternate Earth. Soon captured himself, Quinn finds his imprisoned mother who tells him that he is, in fact, her adopted son, and is actually from another, parallel world — the Earth on which the Kromaggs originated. With the help of the local resistance, Quinn, Maggie and Rembrandt escape with the goal of finding Quinn's long lost brother who holds the key to locating the Kromagg homeworld and the weapon that can free Earth Prime.
They find Quinn's brother Colin on another world, their parents having sent them to different worlds for their protection after their home was attacked by Kromaggs, which was no longer safe. Colin becomes the sixth Slider, and they try to track down their birth-parents, hoping they have the answers they seek, and the means to defeat the Kromaggs. This war with the Kromaggs is the primary theme throughout the season.
With Jerry and Charlie O'Connell stricken from the cast list, the writers decided to simply lose Colin in the vortex, and fuse Quinn with his counterpart on the new world, who is the only duplicate to not look anything like Quinn (other than Logan St. Clair, the female double of Quinn, in a season three episode, "Double Cross"). Mallory has the combined personality of himself and the original Slider Quinn. He stays with the group throughout the season. While Mallory showed initial signs of acting like Quinn, this largely took a backseat to his own personality traits; the dual-identity crisis was reduced immensely until its resolution in "Eye of the Storm".
In the same episode ("The Unstuck Man"), scientist Doctor Diana Davis becomes the final Slider, feeling responsible for what happened to Mallory. They discover that the weapon created by Quinn's father, Michael Mallory, to defeat the Kromaggs on Kromagg Prime had the unintended consequence of destroying that planet's ecosystem, making its use on Earth Prime impractical.
In the middle of the fifth season, Wade telepathically communicates with Rembrandt, and is able to transport him and the other Sliders to the world that the Kromaggs are keeping her on. Wade was being used as an experiment by the Kromaggs in an attempt to liberate their homeworld. Rembrandt is unable to save Wade, but Wade is able to sabotage the experiment. Rembrandt reveals that he senses that Wade is gone.
The series concludes in a world where the sliders discover they are the subjects of a fanatical religion known as Slidology, founded by a man with psychic powers who has been able to follow them on their interdimensional adventures in his mind. Rembrandt (the only surviving original Slider) slides alone with a virus in his blood to fight the Kromaggs on his homeworld. Whether or not Rembrandt succeeds is never revealed.
The FOX Network aired the episodes in a different order to best capitalize on potential ratings-winning episodes, thus causing some continuity errors. For instance, the timer is first set to count down not in the pilot episode, but in "Summer of Love" — since FOX aired "Fever" after the pilot episode, though, many viewers were left confused as to why the Sliders suddenly had to leave within a very specific period of time. Similarly, the cliffhanger at the end of "Summer of Love" leads directly into the opening of "Prince of Wails" — which FOX had actually aired a week earlier.
For Season Two, FOX did not want to resolve the cliffhanger at the end of "Luck of the Draw," preferring to focus instead on brand-new storylines. Thus, in "Time Again and World" (the first episode filmed for Season Two), Arturo makes a brief passing reference to the events of "Luck of the Draw." Tracy Tormé successfully petitioned for a chance to resolve the cliffhanger, though, which is briefly dealt with in the opening minutes of "Into the Mystic" (the third episode filmed, but the first to air that season). "Time Again and World" ended up airing sixth in the rotation.
"Double Cross" was filmed as the premiere for Season Three. In this episode, the audience learns why the Sliders will now be able to slide anywhere between San Francisco and L.A. However, FOX opted to air "Rules of the Game" first, since it was a more action-oriented episode.
"The Last of Eden" was filmed before John Rhys-Davies (Prof. Arturo) left the show. However, FOX chose to air the episode for the first time on March 28, a full month after Arturo had been written off the show, requiring a new opening scene be added to frame the story as a flashback.
When the show began airing in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel, Sci-Fi restored the original filmed order for Season One. However, when the DVDs were released, Universal used the aired order for Season One and the subsequent seasons.
Seasons four and five have their fanbases; some even said season four improved on three (largely due to new executive producer Marc Scott Zicree's decision to restore Tracy Tormé's original "alternate history" premise for the series).
The timer is a handheld device that resembles a mobile phone or remote control. The Sliders have a finite amount of time to stay in each world, a time which is beyond their control, and is revealed on the timer's display upon arriving on the parallel Earth. The only time they are able to leave a parallel Earth is when the timer hit "zero." If they do not slide at that time, they will not have another opportunity to slide for another 29.7 years. In the episode "Rules of the Game" (et. al.), it is first stated that the Sliders must wait 29 years for the next slide, if they miss it when the timer hits zero. The timer has frequently been lost, stolen, or damaged during the slides. However, it is almost always recovered, repaired, or replaced before they are scheduled to slide.
Different timers have different countdown times. If the Sliders miss the window on one timer, they can still slide out with another, at least on those rare occasions when they have access to another timer, such as the second-season episode "Into the Mystic".
In the first two seasons, the prop of the timer is a rebuilt Motorola cellular phone, however it changes in later seasons to a television remote.
Some of the doubles the Sliders encounter are doubles of people they know from Earth Prime, such as Quinn's classmate Conrad Bennish, Jr. In the episodes "Dragonslide" and "The Prince of Slides", Rembrandt meets doubles of girlfriends from Earth Prime, and in the episode "Eggheads", Arturo meets a double of his late wife. Sometimes doubles of the family members of the Sliders are found during sliding; Quinn often encounters doubles of his parents, and in the episode "Season's Greedings", Wade meets doubles of her father and sister.
On some of the alternate Earths that the Sliders visit, there are alternate versions of celebrities and politicians of Earth Prime. However, celebrities on these alternate Earths sometimes have different levels of fame than their Earth Prime counterparts. In addition, some of the alternate versions of Earth Prime politicians hold different offices. For example, the Sliders find alternate Earths where Oliver North, Hillary Clinton, Jocelyn Elders, and even B-movie filmmaker Ed Wood were at one time in their respective worlds, president of the United States. In the pilot episode, the former cast of The People's Court guest starred as their own doubles in a Soviet-styled parody of the show.
Cleavant Derricks's identical twin brother, Clinton Derricks-Carroll, occasionally appeared on the show, in the episodes "The King Is Back", "Greatfellas", and "The Prince of Slides", when there was a need for Rembrandt and his double to interact.
The vortex, a wormhole opened by the timer that the Sliders carry around, is the means by which the Sliders travel from one parallel universe to another. In the pilot and several other episodes, Quinn refers to the vortex as an "Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge," a fictitious term that may have arisen out of a confusion between the actual term Einstein-Rosen bridge (a type of wormhole in physics) and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox (a famous thought-experiment in quantum mechanics, which is unrelated to wormholes). The look of the vortex changes throughout the series. From the first to third season, the vortex is a bluish whirlpool, and is somewhat transparent. In the fourth and fifth seasons, the vortex appeared as a mostly-blue whirlpool with some blue-green, and is entirely opaque.
In the episode "Gillian of the Spirits", Arturo says the vortex will close itself automatically after being open for sixty seconds. However, in several episodes — including "Gillian of the Spirits" — the vortex is open well beyond sixty seconds.
In the first through fourth seasons, Quinn spoke the monologue. Rembrandt spoke the monologue in the fifth season, after Quinn had left the show. The monologue was followed by music, without lyrics. The first and second seasons had music that were unique to each season, and the third to fifth seasons had roughly the same music.
|DVD Name||Cover Art||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4||Special Features|
|The First and Second Seasons||August 3, 2004||December 27, 2004||May 2, 2005|| |
|The Third Season||July 19, 2005||October 31, 2005||February 8, 2006|| |
|The Fourth Season||March 25, 2008||May 19, 2008||June 4, 2008|| |
On August 23, 2007, Netflix Instant View provided all five seasons of Sliders available for computer streaming. Netflix is also allowing customers to reserve copies of a DVD release for Season Five of the series, but the DVD release date is listed as unknown.
Sliders & Dials adds bells, whistles, and sliders to Excel. (Golden Technologies Inc.'s slide bar and dial software for Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
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