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An amazing Sci-Fi show that should have had the success it deserved
instead of being buried by lame writing and casting.
Sliders focused on a group of 4 people who discovered a way to 'slide' between parallel worlds. Unfortionatley, they got lost in the inter-dimension, and were consigned to wandering between the many parallel universes in the hope of someday finding their way home.
When Tracy Torme' and Robert K. Weiss created this show in 1995, they had truly made something special. Unfortionately FOX decided to completely ruin it.
They began by airing the episodes out of sequence in the first 2 seasons, meaning that there could be no continuity between episodes, so whenever an extra character slid with the Sliders they were never seen again (with one poor exception). In the 3rd season David "Peckerhead" Peckinpah (a man with less talent than a dog turd) became an Executive Producer and many episodes became movie rip-offs instead of 'what if' concepts where parallel worlds had alternate histories to our own. The amazing John Rhys-Davies was then fired mid season 3 and replaced with Kari Wuhrer, a terrible actress who played a terrible character.
FOX allowed the Sci-Fi channel to take over the show for its 4th and 5th seasons. They put David Peckinpah completely in charge of the show, and he buried it by having ape-men called Kromaggs take over the Sliders' home world and by rewriting the backstory of the lead character completely. The premise was changed from finding home to fighting ape-men. In the last season, only one of the original Sliders remained.
When the show finished, it was without any resolution to many of its story arcs or the final episode's cliffhanger.
I feel Tracy Torme's pain. No one could have imagined that they would create a show as brilliant as Sliders, only to see it totally destroyed before their eyes.
Sliders had so much potential, but it was ruined by talentless hacks like 'Peckerhead'.
The first two seasons and the first part of season 3 are really all that are worth watching unfortunately.
For the first three years of Sliders, this show was an intelligent,
and fascinating example of perfect scifi TV. The acting was mostly above
average, but the character dynamics of this odd group (a whiz kid, his
wannabe girlfriend, his college professor and a washed-up singer who got
into sliding by accident) and the writing were what really made the show.
Unfortunately, the show began to go downhill when the original cast was
shaken up with the departure of the formidable John Rhys-Davies as the
Professor, and jumped the shark completely when it lost Sabrina Lloyd as
Wade. I'm sure many salivating teen males would disagree with me on the
pointlessness of Kari Wuhrer, but it's clear to me that she added nothing
but cleavage to the show.
A show with great potential that should have continued for years.
I think most people familiar with the show would say that it started off as a really original and interesting show. The 'what if" concept really worked for it. But as time went on, the show became something worse than repetitive. It abandoned the original premise of the show. They stopped being mainly concerned with getting home and started being more concerned with these Kromag things. That's about where the original cast started to fall away one by one. They still show re-runs on the sci-fi channel, and I catch the early ones when I can. That's when the show was enjoyable. In the last half of the shows six seasons, it was unwatchable.
SciFi has spent this week running episodes of Sliders from the early
seasons, and man, did I forget how good they were.
The early episodes of the show, particularly the pilot, were fantastic-- the alternate worlds were well thought out, and I'd think about the plausibility of them as I lay in bed at night before drifting off to sleep.
Too bad they had to dumb it down and start ripping off movie plots in later seasons. I mourned the loss of John Rhys-Davies, his character was great. And to replace him with boobs-on-patrol Kari Wuhrer was pathetic. It was a completely obvious attempt to boost ratings by grabbing the eyeballs of the geek-horndog set that also lusted after Scully and Seven of Nine and religiously watched their respective shows.
To sum up, don't waste your time watching any episodes from the later seasons.
When Slider's debuted I was in heaven, OK the F/X weren't Hollywood grand but they did what they could with what they had, the cast was great and the story was engaging. Season 1 was wonderful, season 2 (actually season 2 was the second half of season 1) was almost as good. The season 3 came and brought the deadly David Peckinpah, who's Indian name is probably "He-who-has-no-talent" . Mr. P promptly decided that the show was too cerebral (i.e. his low I.Q. couldn't figure it out) and got rid of the creator, the good writers, and the finest actor on the show. He replaced the actor with a bimbo nicknamed Captain D-cups and got a movie rental card to replace the writers (go ahead, count how many plots in seasons 3-5 are direct rip off of a popular movie). And thus a great show died, only to have it's corpse hung on strings and forced to dance for Peckinpah as he moved it to the Sci-Fi channel where he had even more control and less creativity. Alas poor Sliders....
Sliders had the intriguing premise of a group of people being able to open up a vortex & journeying to parallel earths in alternate dimensions.The fact that a college kid in the present was able to create such a device in his basement to make this happen never seemed realistic to me.We are talking about technology such as this as being thousands of years in our future.But aside from that it was a nifty premise,& not one overdone on TV.The cast was wonderful & enjoyed a terrific chemistry.The story lines were endless,since each earth was different from their homeworld.Sliding into a new & unknown world was exciting,we walked with our sliders as they tried to discover what kind of earth they had come to,what were the differences,the dangers,& how best could they survive until the vortex would open again & propel them to their next earth? The scripts could range from satire to horror to science fiction.The early seasons with the original cast intact were always the best.Sadly, as the seasons went on the scripts declined in quality.John Rhys-Davies was the first to quit due to the poor writing of the show & not being allowed mush input.The creators of the series unfortunately had problems with network "suits" as to the direction of the show.That is a problem that happens all too often with TV sf series. By the end of the show's run,only the engaging Cleavant Derricks was left from the original cast.Able actors replaced the originals but were never could recapture the magic of their relationships.It was a disappointing end to what began as a fascinating show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
as a long-time fan of sliders (since it first premiered back in 1995), i
have seen its ups & downs, constant cast changes, and the fight to save it
from being cancelled year after year.
now in the fourth season and moved to the sci-fi channel, i believe this show is not the same one we watched friday nights on fox. everything has changed -- the characters (jerry o'connell's quinn is not the same sweet wonderer from the previous seasons -- he's mechanical and almost emotionless), the storyline (quinn not from earth prime and having a brother from another earth, an ongoing war with the kromaggs and the quest to find a so-called "superweapon" to destroy them, and to find quinn's "real" earth and parents???), and the overall feel of the show. it's not "what if...?" anymore... it's "we've gotta kill the kromaggs." not to mention jerry o'connell leaving... don't even get me started on that. i'll still watch the show of course, but i'll miss seeing him play quinn every week. i'm happy cleavant derricks is staying (and supposedly for the remainder of the series), as he is definitely a very talented actor and i love his character, rembrandt. i'm disappointed that charlie o'connell (colin) is leaving also, as he seemed to have a lot of potential and one season is not nearly enough to fully develop a character. as for kari wuhrer staying... don't get me started on that one either. what i think the show really needs, to finish off the series and tie up loose ends is one last, 2 hour episode with the entire cast (jerry o'connell, sabrina lloyd and john rhys-davies would be pivotal for this episode) and complete this story arc the writers have going on -- the kromaggs, wade's dissapearance, quinn not from earth prime & his supposed "real" family, and the *real* professor (the one that i, and many other fans, believe was left on that earth in the ep. 'post traumatic slide syndrome') -- and give the fans who have fought season after season to save our show what they want and deserve.
while i have always and will forever love this show, it's not the same anymore. it doesn't have that intrigue, or the thought-provoking storylines.
i'm looking forward to future episodes and seasons, but not as much as i used to.
This was one of my favorite shows when I was in high school and college. I was really into sci-fi at the time (especially "The X-Files"), and I had a huge crush on Jerry O'Connell, so this series was right up my alley. The original premise was intriguing: a professor and his student discover a way to create wormholes into parallel universes, to which they would briefly visit before returning to their own earth. Unfortunately the device that allows them to do this gets damaged and they are stuck in a parallel world with no idea how to get home. So they keep "sliding" from one random world to the next, hoping to eventually return to "Earth Prime". Do they return? I have no idea, because after the first few seasons the show took a sharp turn for the worse and became almost unrecognizable. While most shows jump the shark at some point, this show jumped about 10 sharks early on. It's a shame because it was one of the few intelligent shows going at the time. If you are new to the series, I would rent the first two seasons, and maybe the third. Once John Rhys-Davies leaves (whose character was one of the backbones of the show), it's not worth watching anymore. My rating is for the first few seasons, not the anomaly it became after that. I guess one could say the show itself slid into a horrifying "parallel universe", never to return again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
in my entire life, only two movies/tv series made me cry, one was the
"instinct", the other was the sliders episode where they killed
i would just love it if they would stay in the patterns set by the first season,,, the what if's.... i could watch it for 80 more seasons if they would have sticked to the patterns (and not change the cast). (does anyone else agree with me on that?)
one more thing that in my opinion damaged the show, was the introduction of multi episode rivals (kromags,,, and the guy who killed arturo, i forgot his name)
this was the first time i ever realised how damaging can changing the cast be...
oh, and btw, although i could even manage the fact that they "killed" earth prime, i stopped watching completely after they killed quinn.
The original Sliders, featuring O'Connell, Rhys-Davies, Lloyd and Derricks,
had potential: a Quantum Leap that held up better from a hard sci-fi POV.
Sure, the alternate worlds differed along only a narrow spectrum (no worlds where Aristotle's corpus was lost at sea or where the Spanish were beaten back by the Aztecs and Mayans--in short, nothing compared to Poul Anderson's Time Patrol novels), but for TV, it was forgiveable. The show could have served a real allegorical purpose, like the original Star Trek episodes, smuggling in controversy in veiled, science-fiction form under the radars of network censors.
And maybe it tried, and maybe it would have tried harder, but either the writing so petered out that the original stars split or the stars bolted and the writers scrambled to patch together the vehicle that had been abandoned. Down goes Sabrina Lloyd, then John Rhys-Davies, then the star, Jerry O'Connell. By the time Cleavant Derricks' seniority finally grants him the dubious honor of doing the opening voiceover narration, the show's been utterly gutted.
Maybe there's something philosophical in the program's blandness: an episode on a world without aluminum doesn't use that lack for anything more than a plot complication amid a standard good-guys vs. bad-guys story. Maybe the message in these all-too-similar worlds is that no matter how wacky the axiomatic differences among quantum realities, it's all same-old, same-old.
Network TV should be relieved at that news.
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