Inside Pulse DVD Review: Sliders – The Third Season

Jerry O’Connell … Quinn Mallory
Cleavant Derricks … Rembrandt ‘Crying Man’ Brown
Sabrina Lloyd … Wade Welles
John Rhys-Davies … Professor Maximillian Arturo
Kari Wuhrer … Captain Maggie Beckett

“What if you found a portal to a parallel universe? What if you could
slide to a thousand different worlds, where it’s the same year and you’re
the same person, but everything else is different?”

“And what if you can’t find your way home?”

‘Sliders’ is one of those “cult favourite” shows that doesn’t always do well in the ratings, but garners a loyal following. And it’s fairly easy to understand why – given the “what if” premise of the show, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

This was the first full season of the show, with 25 episodes of the show as opposed to the 23 total in the previous two seasons. This was also the last season of the show on Fox, and the show would go on to have two more seasons on the Sci-Fi channel.

If you need more information, check out Earth Prime, the best site I’ve found for Sliders information.

The Episodes
Before we get to the episodes, there are several recurring themes that you see during the course of the show. Well, maybe not recurring – more like recycled. They are:
– Quinn meets a hot chick. Not surprising, seeing as he’s the star of the show. Generally, this also involves Wade getting jealous.
– Quinn meets himself.
– Rembrandt’s hormones get him into trouble. “Comedy” subplot that often sees Remy running away like Benny Hill.
– Arturo acts like an ass. Actually, this pretty much happens every episode. Just assume that it happens.
– Maggie in skimpy clothing. You’re a guy, you can’t complain too much about it.
– Maggie acts bitchy. Just so you know that she’s military, and not a girlie-girl.
– Pursuing Colonel Rickman. This doesn’t start until the “Maggie” portion of the season, as the creators seemed to want to give a bit more purpose to the Sliders – besides trying to find a way home, of course.
– Bad CGI. Whether it’s beetles, dinosaurs or living flame, you can count on some bad looking effects.

Disc One, Side A
Rules of the Game
The Sliders land in a world where the only entertainment is a life-or-death struggle to reach the finish area. But this is complicated when Arturro goes blind and acts like an ass. The first episode of the season featuring the Quinn/Hot Chick, and a rather blatant homage/ripoff of The Running Man (which is of course based on a novella by Stephen King). Not the greatest episode, but it does its job in jumpstarting the season.

Double Cross
Quinn/Hot Chick episode, as he meets Logan Sinclair, his alternate (who happens to be female) on a world where Los Angeles takes up the entire California coastline, and natural resources are dwindling quickly. Which isn’t surprising considering it’s LA. Meanwhile, we get our first Rembrandt comedy subplot, as he gets involved with a woman who seems a bit too obsessed with the Cryin’ Man. The timer undergoes a bit of a change, as it’s exit range increases to 400 miles of it’s original centre, meaning they could end up in LA, the Nevada desert, the Pacific Ocean, or worst of all, Oregon.

Electric Twister Acid Test
Guest Star alert: Corey Feldman and Julie Benz (who of course doubles as the Hot Chick), before she meant anything to Whedonites.

The Sliders land on a world where “electric twisters” have decimated the population, and people live in rustic, isolated villages where they’re paranoid of outsiders (and the outside). Guess I know where M. Night Shyamalan got THAT idea. But how did the “twisters” get created? Well, DUH. Not a good episode.

The Guardian
The Sliders arrive in a universe where the earth is revolving differently, in essence meaning that they’ve traveled back in time. Hot Chick – Quinn’s old homeroom teacher, who he had a crush on. Got some issues, Quinn does. And Quinn meets his alternate – who is only twelve – and tries to protect him from the bullying he took when he was young. Meanwhile, Arturo finds out that he’s dying, and sets out to enjoy his last few months. Not much to this, except that we learn a bit about Quinn when he was a child.

Disc One, Side B
The Dream Masters
Social misfits torture and/or kill people by entering into their dreams. And Wade is the next target. The theme is pretty common in sci-fi shows, and it’s up to the writers and cast to turn it into something interesting. And they do that, without too much of the cheesiness and/or boring stuff that Side A had.

Desert Storm
The Sliders arrive on a world that is mostly desert, and rescue a girl who has the ability to find water. They bring her back to her tribe, but of course all is not what it appears to be, and it’s up to the Sliders to make it right. Meanwhile, Arturo’s sickness seems to be getting worse.

Note: This episode was dedicated to Ken Steadman, who played Cutter in this episode and died during shooting in a dune buggy accident)

Dragonslide
Guest Star alert: Max Grodénchik, better known as Rom the Ferengi on ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, and Charlie “The Bachelor” O’Connell as a sheriff/policeman.

Quinn (of course) inadvertently rescues a Hot Chick after landing on a world where science and sorcery coexist. And of course Quinn is mistaken for a sorcerer because the Mallory clan are powerful sorcerers on this world. And Rembrandt meets up with Alesha (the woman he was dating before he started sliding), who turns out to be a shrink on this world – and not interested in Remy at all. So he and Wade fool around with magic, and hilarity (of course) results.

The Fire Within
The Sliders land on a world where the largest deposits of petrol is in California after being on a world engulfed in fire. But they seem to have brought along a fire entity, which seems to enjoy its new world. This played out like a bad ‘TNG’ episode crossed with ‘Dallas’.

Disc Two, Side A
The Prince of Slides
Rembrandt is mistaken for his double – who is part of the American Monarchy on this world – and impregnated with the heir (fourth in line) to the throne. Yes, impregnated. And an assassin is killing off all the heirs. The Sliders must protect Remy from being killed while at the same time find his double to transfer the baby before they Slide.

Note: The second Rembrandt is played by Clinton Derricks-Carroll, Cleavant Derricks twin brother.

Dead Man Sliding
Guest Star alert: Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs – Freddie Washington on ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ – as himself, and Donny Most, a.k.a. Ralph Malph from ‘Happy Days’ as the game show host.

The Sliders land on a world where the legal system is supplanted by Court TV shows (and talent coordinators always wear tight pants). Which, sadly, could be our earth. Sad because of Court TV, not women in tight pants. Anyways, Quinn is arrested and tried for murder, so the others frantically search for his double. Fun episode, mainly because of the over-the-top nature of the game show and Most’s exuberance.

State of the A.R.T.
Guest Star alert: Robert Englund – you know, Freddy Kreuger – as James Aldohn.

The Sliders land on a world where the population has been replaced by robots. Somewhat of a Westworld meets the Metal Men episode. They meet the sole surviving human, James Aldohn, who wants to download the Sliders’ minds into robots. There’s also a twist that, if you’ve seen any ‘TNG’ episodes featuring Data, you’d probably not be surprised about. Englund is suitably creepy as Aldohn, and helps to make this clichéd episode work.

Season’s Greedings
Guest Star alert: Chase Masterson, Leeta from ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’.

Ah, a Christmas episode, as the Sliders land on a world where consumerism is king, and everyone lives in the West Edmonton Mall. Preachy episode that tells about the spirit of Christmas – sadly without a duel between Jesus and Santa. Hot Chick this episode is of course Masterson, who plays Wade’s sister Kelley. If you like Christmas-themed episodes, you’ll like this one. Otherwise, skip it.

Disc Two, Side B
Murder Most Foul
Arturo’s temper get him sent to an anger management camp, where he’s hypnotized and his “therapy” is in the form of taking part in a murder mystery set in Victorian England – where the murders are all real. Fun episode, but then I kind of enjoy the whole play-within-a-play thing. Why yes, my favourite Shakespeare play IS ‘The Taming of The Shrew’. How’d you guess?

Slide Like an Egyptian
Guest Star alert: Former Prince babe Apollina, who plays the Hot Chick in this episode.

As you might be able to tell from the title, the Sliders land on a world where Ancient Egypt is mixed with the modern world. Reminds me a bit of the “Forever Yesterday” world in ‘New Warriors’. Well, minus the superheroes and such (Don’t forget to visit Comics Nexus, folks). Important episode, as they miss the slide – because Quinn dies (Don’t worry, he gets resurrected) – but luckily the Egyptian royalty has sliding technology and they get a new timer, which they’ll use for the remainder of the series. If you ignore the bad CGI scarab, it’s not a bad episode.

Paradise Lost
The Sliders end up in a small town where everyone looks young. And as is usually the case in Sci-Fi, things aren’t exactly as it seems. Quinn again gets a Hot Chick, played by Lara Steinick. Other than that, it’s not a very good episode.

The Exodus, Part I
Guest Star alert: Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who. Also, Kari Wuhrer debuts as a guest star in this episode, and (of course) plays the Hot Chick in the episode.

Anyways, the Sliders end up on a world where a pulsar has entered the solar system and is headed straight towards earth. Kind of like Armageddon and Deep Impact, except… a pulsar? An asteroid crashing into Earth is at least plausible, a pulsar would pretty much destroy the solar system, and you’d kinda figure that they’d have seen it sooner. Regardless, this world is working on sliding technology and Maggie and Quinn set out to find a new world for some people to slide to. Maggie and Quinn arrive on what appears to be Earth Prime (the Sliders’ home world), but Maggie is poisoned by something in the air. Not a particularly bad episode, but there’s a lot of cliché parts to it as well.

Disc Three, Side A
The Exodus, Part II
Quinn and Maggie arrive back on Maggie’s Earth, with news that the Sliders might be able to go home. But Quinn wants to help the people of Maggie’s Earth, and it causes factures between the four travelers. A suitable new world is found, but Colonel Rickman isn’t all that he appears to be – he is of course EVIL with ulterior motives. So it should be no surprise that he kills one of the Sliders, as well as Maggie’s husband. In the end, the remaining Sliders – and Maggie – leave the new world to go after Rickman.

Soul Survivors
The Sliders land on a world where people are being turned into flesh eating zombies (as opposed to choreographed dancing zombies I guess?), and Quinn may become the next one unless they can find a cure. Actually a pretty decent episode, unless you want more zombie flesh eating and less of the Sliders. Also, Beckett comes off as if the writers were trying too hard to make her seem like a tough, military chick.

The Breeder
Guest Star Alert: Dawnn Lewis, who is best known from ‘A Different World’ and for ‘Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper’.

In an homage to Aliens/Species/The Brood (from ‘X-Men’), Maggie is infected by a parasite on a previous world and it’s compelling her to breed and wear skimpy outfits. Meanwhile, the Sliders have landed on a world where people between 18 and 25 are mandatory organ donors – which means that if you’re selected, you’re frozen and your organs are taken for donation by the government. But that’s kind of irrelevant, as the focus here is Maggie in skimpy outfits looking for love.

The Last of Eden
This episode was filmed before Arturo dies, and so it’s now told in “flashback” form where Wade recalls an artificial Earth populated with humans living an agrarian lifestyle on the surface, monsters down below, and sister planets in orbit with her.

Disc Three, Side B
The Other Slide of Darkness
Note: Neil Dickson takes over the role of Rickman from Roger Daltrey. Naturally, Dickson looks nothing like Daltrey, but they do manage to explain that.

The Sliders finally catch up to Rickman on a depression-era world enveloped by a hallucinogenic fog. Quinn meets another double – the Quinn from the Pilot. And he has one request – kill him. Oh, and he’s responsible for giving the Kromaggs the sliding technology and their conquering worlds etc. This doesn’t become important until next season. Also, they manage to find a way to have Maggie in a bra and panties.

Slither
After a vacation, Remy and Quinn get mixed up with a Hot Chick researcher trying to get some psychic snakes back to Delgado. Meanwhile, Maggie and Wade are trying to find the others in order to slide out of this universe. But the Hot Chick might convince Quinn to stay.

Dinoslide
Chasing after Rickman again, the Sliders end back up on the Survivor’s World, which is apparently also populated by dinosaurs. The Sliders must try and stop Rickman AND find a way to neutralize the T-Rex that’s terrorizing Maggie’s people.

Stoker
Guest Star Alert: Danny Masterson (Hyde on ‘That 70’s Show’), Duff McKegan (of Guns ‘N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver) and Tommy Chong.

The Sliders have tracked Rickman to a world where Wade seems to have fallen for a Hot Guy goth singer, who happens to be a vampire – and puts her into his thrall. And Rickman has been posing as a priest, and it looks like he’s competing with the vamps for, ahem, food. The vamps, meanwhile, have found about about Sliding, and want to go to a new world where they won’t be persecuted… for a couple of centuries, anyways.

Disc Four
This Slide of Paradise
Guest Star Alert: Michael York, probably best known at this point as Basil Exposition from the Austin Powers movies.

Obvious Island of Doctor Moreau homage/ripoff as the Sliders have their final confrontation with Rickman on an island where a doctor is trying to create animal-human hybrids. Rembrandt (after nearly hooking up with a cheetah-human chick) is forced into making a deal with the doctor in order to rescue his friends. The season ends on a cliffhanger, and finds the Sliders separated from each other.

Score: 6.5/10

Discs and Packaging
The season is contained on three dual-sided discs and one dual-layer disc (Disc 4). Outer packaging is similar to that of Seasons One & Two, but half the width. This is possible because of the change in inner packaging. Seasons One & Two had the discs partially stuck in foam, to give it a “multiple Earths” look. Season Three has a translucent orange gatefold, and two trays that hold two disc each – one partially on top of the other. Basically, this means that it’s bloody difficult to take out a disc without smudging the B side.

Picture
It looks like a TV show transferred to DVD, and the colours look fine. That’s about all I ask for from a TV show. And I’m not sure if this will affect everyone, but the Dragonslide episode has a lot of starts and stops.

Sound
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. I don’t think anyone will be showing off their system with this show, but it does the job.

Bonus Features
Disc 4 contains episodes of ‘Cleopatra 2525’ (Quest for Firepower) and ‘Earth 2’ (The Man Who Fell to Earth (Two)). There is also a gag reel, which in the grand tradition of gag reels isn’t funny at all, and is taken from the raw camera footage. You’re not missing anything by not watching it. It seems kind of odd to have episodes of other shows on the disc though – couldn’t they have done one of those EPK-type retrospectives like in the first set? It’s not like Kari Wuhrer and Cleavant Derricks are doing much these days.

Score: 2.5/10