1995 - Looking Back At SLIDERS

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Stacy Embry opens a portal to a parallel world.


Unconventional, and frankly a show that never really worked. I loved Sliders!

It all started with.... a portal opening, and four travelers entering, finding the next world to explore. Time travel, alternate universes... a brief open window to leap back. Sliders was a sorta knock-off Time Traveler or Quantum Leap, and was ridiculously fun. But it was never really a mega-hit because essentially Sliders was just a typical adventure series, produced on a relatively low budget, and featuring some poor early CGI that hasn't aged well. Yet the variety in the cast (from Jerry O'Connell to John Rhys-Davies) gave it a certain something - something that did make it a temporal wonder.


The early episodes of the show were especially fun. The alternate worlds, the "what if?" concept of them were well thought out. The first slide was set on an Earth suffering from a second ice age, where Quinn (Jerry O'Connell) opens the vortex prematurely to save the group from an ice tornado. As a result, the sliders lose the ability to return home and must slide from world to world hoping that the next slide is their Earth.

Sliders was all about the journey and idealizing home. It purported no message, it explored NO controversy and it was clearly pure entertainment that only a geek could love. Still, it lasted for five seasons (from 1995-2000) at a time when many other geek shows were struggling. In retrospect, how it did so, is patently unclear.

Perhaps it was its averageness? Or the fact that we could be on the journey that made it palatable? As a Whovian I know there is no greater joy than being drawn into the journey. Sharing the experience with the characters on screen. Maybe that was the secret of Sliders longevity? (Of course mentioning the title so many times I'm thinking of hamburgers here in 2015, but it was a relatively connotatively neutral word in 1995.)


And there was a lot against Sliders. During its original run FOX decided to broadcast episodes out of order, meaning that there could be no continuity between stories, so whenever an extra character 'slid' with the Sliders they were never seen again. In season 3 John Rhys-Davies was fired and the format began to change. The show moved from FOX to the SciFi Channel for seasons 4 and 5, and in another format shake-up it was revealed that Kromaggs had taken over the Sliders' home world. Now the Sliders fought these ape-men instead of looking for a way home.

Jerry O'Connell departed for season 5, and when the show finished, it was without any resolution to many of its story arcs or the final episode's cliffhanger.


Although it was a very predictable series, and one that rarely exceeded its low expectation, Sliders was just fun. Boy wonder opens a portal...it sucks people in and the next universe may/may not be home. But from living in parks to being chased by insects... eventually the worlds were always basically the same.

For me, O'Connell and Davies made the show. It was the truly ridiculous nature of their dislike that made them unusual, and the discomfort from 'sliding' and landing was always memorable. If you missed Sliders and have some time to be average, watch the show, especially those first three seasons. Be ready, though.... nothing much will happen, but it'll be a fun journey!

Risk-adverse, Stacy would not even enter the TARDIS in case it suddenly set to motion. Yet, gentle reader, she feels compelled to clarify that she writes opinion or editorial pieces. By using logic and reasoning, she always hopes to coherently provoke honest discourse.

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