Sliders Retrospective

Sliders Retrospective

By: Jason Barwick

Post-Series Depression, otherwise known as PSD, affects millions of people each year. With the creation of countless streaming platforms, this form of depression has spread across the globe faster than any virus ever has in all of human history. Symptoms of PSD could be, but are not limited to; a state of depression or sadness, a feeling of loss and emptiness, the inability to start another show, and many more similar feelings. 

As serious as this form of depression is, it is nothing like what I felt when I finished the show Sliders. In fact, I felt a great joy when I finished this show. I felt as if I was set free from a lifetime in prison for a crime I did not commit. Sliders first aired on March 27th 1995 and followed young scientist Quinn Mallory and his friends as they jumped from one alternate earth to another. Quinn, played by Jerry O’Connell, was joined by his friend Wade Welles (Sabrina Lloyd), his professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies), and a washed out singer Rembrandt Brown, aka “The Crying Man” (Cleavant Derricks). Quinn builds a device that allows him to visit alternate dimensions but when he accidentally transports the group to an earth ravaged by ice storms, he is unable to get them back to their earth. The series goes on as the group jumps from earth to earth trying to find their way home. 

The first 3 seasons aired on Fox and seasons 4 and 5 were taken on by SciFi (That is what the network was called at the time, now SyFy). This actually is a great idea for a show and I think, in a world of reboots, this show would be a great candidate to be relaunched. That being said, this show was done so badly that I’m not sure people want to risk going through it again. Sliders was at it’s best with the original four characters and started to see real problems when they introduced a new series regular towards the end of season 3 in Capt. Maggie Beckett played by Kari Wuhrer. The writers seriously failed to develop any of it’s characters and the show suffered greatly because of it. My favorite character, which is similar to choosing your favorite way to die, Professor Maximillian Arturo was killed at the end of season 3. In my opinion, this was the beginning of the end of this show. Reports indicate that Rhys-Davies was unhappy with the downward direction of the show (smart man), and was either fired or he quit. Another of the original four, Sabrina Lloyd, left because of problems on set with Kari Wuhrer. That is not a surprise to me because it seemed obvious that Wuhrer was brought in to bring sex appeal which executives must have thought Lloyd was lacking. 

This show wasted a lot of good ideas! One of the biggest wastes was the race known as the Kromaggs (absolutley horrible name) who were introduced in season 2. The idea of an evil race of creatures with sliding technology who are set on conquering the multiverse is a great one! As bad as this show is, season 4 is especially bad as it makes quick work of completely destroying what little quality there was in the previous three seasons. I’ll let you watch to get the entire backstory but season 4 starts with Quinn and Maggie sliding to Earth Prime (Quinn’s earth) only to find that the Kromaggs have beaten them there and taken over the planet. They set out to find their friends Rembrandt and Wade and find out they have been captured by the Kromaggs. Rembrandt is rescued but in one of the worst “actress leaves a show cover stories” ever, Wade is said to have been transported elsewhere. One of the strongest elements of the show up to this point was how the characters would risk everything to save each other. However, inexplicably they choose to accept that Wade has been captured and never really make serious efforts to save her. Anyway, some other horrible things happen in this season including, but not limited to; we find out Quinn is not from Earth Prime after all, he has a brother named Colin (played by Jerry O’Connell’s real life brother Charlie), and for some reason the Kromaggs look like Nazi soldiers. 

Remember when I said season 4 was especially bad? Well, season 5 is an abomination! I actually feel violated for having watched it. Jerry O’Connell leaves the show because he wanted Executive Producer credits but the big wigs said no so he left. Without Jerry, there was no need for his brother Charlie so the show lost the Mallory brothers…or did it? In a ridiculous bit of storytelling, Quinn and Colin were somehow melded with new character, “Mallory” played by Robert Floyd. I could not explain this to you if I wanted to and I don’t really want to so…Season 5 did bring a rather humorous recurring joke though. Whenever the group would slide to a new world they had to quickly learn all of the cultural and societal norms on the fly. Whenever someone would give them a strange look for not knowing something they would simply say, “We are from Canada,” and everyone accepted that as a good explanation. The series finale was a perfect way to end a perfectly horrible series. In the final moments, the team finds a Kromagg sliding device that can get them home…well Rembrandt’s home. The problem is, the device is unstable and can only handle one of them going through the slide window. Rembrandt leaps through and we are left not knowing if he actually made it home or not. Our reward for surviving this painfully awful show? In the final moments, we get a shot of Quinn…or Mallory…whoever he is saying "What do we do now?” That’s it?! That’s how this stink bomb of a show ends?!

“What do we do now?” I’ll tell you what we do now. We go on with our lives and try to forget we ever watched this show! The show did bring some good moments and some fun cameos (Mark Sheppard, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Roger Cross) but it is, in my opinion, the worst show ever to last five seasons. My humble recommendation is to enjoy the first two seasons but do not, I repeat, do not get trapped in to watching the remaining three seasons.