- This article is about the Sci-Fi television show. For other possible meanings see slider (disambiguation).
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 often shows all five seasons of Sliders in daily rotation.
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. These stories explored what would happen if America was ruled by Russia, if Penicillin had not been invented, and if men were subservient to women in a clear sexist divide.
The third season introduced the first change to the running of Sliders. Episodes became more action-oriented in focus and was the beginning of a downward slide, making it arguably the least favourite season among fans.
The main focus of the fourth and fifth seasons was the war against the Kromaggs and though popular in their own right, many fans say this is where the series jumped the shark.
However, within these changing themes, a pattern was soon developed running through each and every episode: The Sliders arrive on a new world, often following a prelude, narrowly escaping a plight from the previous slide, trouble ensues and the Sliders are separated, after much drama, the Sliders reunite with the timer and escape.
Episodes 1 - 10
Young physicist Quinn Mallory created a device capable of opening vortices to alternate universes. With a little help from his double from another world, he developed the technology to the extent that not only could he send items through the gateway he created, but with the use of a timer, it would also be returned to its point of origin. He used himself as his first living guinea pig, and on his second journey, best friend Wade Welles and his professor Maximillian Arturo joined him.
The wormhole grew unstable and out of control. Singer Rembrandt "Cryin' Man" Brown, driving his car by Quinn's house, was accidentally sucked through with them. When the timer was activated ahead of time, over four hours before it was scheduled to, it lost its co-ordinates and the Sliders could not return home. This left them unable to control when the vortices would open or which world they would lead to. Thus, the Sliders continued their journey, trying to find their way back home.
A common theme during this season was to explore political issues and to play around with recurring characters who had first appeared in the pilot, showing how their situations had changed on various worlds.
Episodes 11 – 23
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 the main plot for later seasons. After some close encounters, they make it a rule to no longer accept hitchhikers, an action that had previously saved people from plights in their own worlds, and agree to try to stop interfering wherever possible...
Episodes 24 – 48
The third season takes a more bizarre twist, producing a series of one-off episodes, most of which are patterned on existing idea previously seen in films.
During a slide to a world that is soon to be destroyed, the Sliders help the inhabitants develop sliding technology, with the intent to send their best and brightest to a new home. It is on this word that they encounter Captain Maggie Beckett and the murderous Colonel Rickman who kills both Maggie's husband and the Professor.
The Sliders now have a new mission - revenge. They continue to chase Rickman until he meets his demise in the season finale. They find the correct coordinates that will take them home and episode ends when Quinn tells Wade and Rembrandt to slide home without him, while he stays behind for Maggie. Using the second timer gained from Rickman, he and Maggie end up on a different world.
Episodes 49 – 70
Quinn and Maggie finally find Rembrandt, as a prisoner of the Kromaggs. Earth had been attacked, and he and Wade were seperated. The three Sliders escape to find a weapon with which to liberate earth, but not after Quinn's imprisoned mother tells him that he is her adopted son and is actually from another, parallel world.
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 and was no longer safe. Colin became the sixth Slider and they tried to track down their birth parents, hoping they have the answers they seek and the means to defeat the Kromaggs.
The war with the Kromaggs is the primary theme throughout the season. The loss of Arturo and Wade (who left during the season 3/4 hiatus), and the increasingly bizarre plotlines, combined with fans' hatred toward Colin created a dip in ratings.
Episodes 71 – 88
With Jerry and Charlie O'Connell stricken from the cast list, the writers decided to simply lose Colin in the vortex, and fused Quinn with his counterpart on the new world, who is the only duplicate to not look anything like Quinn (other than one in a season three episode, Double Cross). Mallory has the combined personality of himself and the Slider Quinn. He stays with the group throughout the season.
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 resistance's weapon against the Kromaggs that they had been so desperately seeking is fatal to human beings. The series concludes when Rembrandt (the only surviving original Slider) slides alone with a virus in his blood to fight the Kromaggs on his world.
- Quinn Mallory (seasons 1-4), played by Jerry O'Connell
- Wade Kathleen Welles, (seasons 1-3, voice of Wade in Requiem, S5e11), played by Sabrina Lloyd
- Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown, played by Cleavant Derricks
- Professor Maximillian Arturo, (seasons 1-3), played by John Rhys-Davies Appeared in the episode "The Last of Eden" (S3e20))
- Maggie Beckett, (seasons 3-5), played by Kari Wührer
- Colin Mallory, (season 4), played by Charlie O'Connell
- Quinn Mallory (2) a.k.a. Mallory, (season 5), played by Robert Floyd
- Diana Davis, (season 5), played by Tembi Locke
Recurring Guest Stars
- Colonel Angus Rickman, played by Roger Daltrey ("The Exodus" parts 1 and 2 (S3e16–17)) and Neil Dickson (episodes "The Other Slide of Darkness", "Dinoslide", "Stoker" and "This Slide of Paradise" (S3e21, S3e23–25))
- Elston Diggs, played by Lester Barrie (episodes "Double Cross", "The Dream Masters", "Desert Storm", "Dragonslide", "Murder Most Foul", and "The Breeder" (S3e2, S3e5–7, S3e13, S3e19))
- Doctor Oberon Geiger, played by Peter Jurasik (episodes "The Unstuck Man", "Applied Physics", and "Eye of the Storm" (S5e1–2, S5e17))
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' 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 Sabrina's boyfriend (at the time a crew member) while on the set. The fact that her character was sentenced to be gang raped by Kromaggs 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.
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.
- Maggie Beckett may have gotten her name because Sliders was often compared to the Quantum Leap television series that starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Samuel Beckett. To further the connection, we find out that Maggie's father's name is Thomas. This has caused some to theorize he may actually be Sam's brother Tom.
- 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.
- Some people believe the series may have been inspired by the book The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones, in which a young boy from earth "bounds" between parallel worlds, searching for his home. Others believe it to be inspired by Piers Anthony's "Mode" series of novels.
- 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 Colin 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.
- Cleavant Derricks (Rembrandt Brown) is the only cast member to stay with the series throughout its entire run.
- Cleavant Derricks (Rembrandt Brown) and Linda Henning (Mrs. Mallory) are the only actors to appear in both the first and last episodes of the series.
- The Nightmare on Elm Street inspired (or ripoff, as some would say) episode "The Dream Masters" actually features two actors who were in Nightmare on Elm Street films. Rodney Eastman, who plays one of the Dream Masters, was in the third and fourth Nightmare on Elm Street films, the latter of which was actually subtitled "The Dream Master". Lead Dream Master Zack Ward would later go on to play another one of Freddy Krueger's victims in Freddy vs. Jason.
Sliders in other media
The first two seasons (23 episodes) of the show were released on DVD in region 1 on August 3 2004, and in region 2 on December 27 2004. The third season was released in region 1 on July 19, 2005, and on October 31 2005 in region 2.
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.
- Earth Prime: Episode guide, scripts, interviews, screen captures, behind-the-scenes media
- Dimension of Continuity: FAQ, script outtakes, props, etc.
- Earth 62: Image heavy episode guide, article archive, etc.
- Sliderslinks.com: Comprehensive guide of Sliders links.
- Slidersweb.net: Fan fiction, humor, campaigns, etc.
- Fitting the Comics in Series Continuity
- Being Prof Arturo's Photodouble