Have you ever wondered whether there was another world out there in which there is another you living a different life?
On March 22, 1995, FOX television network explored this theme in a SciFi series called Sliders. The premise of the series was that people called “Sliders” were able to time travel (or slide) through other parallel universe Earths by way of a wormhole or vortex. The length of time the sliders were able to spend in the alternate Earth was undetermined but they carried a device that was a portable countdown timer. If they didn’t jump into the vortex in time, they would be trapped for 29.7 years on that Earth. The sliders would learn about what was going on in that alternate Earth and take part in the events that would be happening until they slide into the next Earth. They wouldn’t be able to control which Earth they would slide into and would constantly try to find their way back to their own Earth, called Earth Prime.
In Season One of Sliders, viewers were introduced to the sliders: Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’ Connell), who was a physics graduate student and was responsible for the sliding technology that took the travelers to the alternate Earths, Quinn’s mentor Professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies),Wade Wells (Sabrina Lloyd), a good friend (girlfriend?) of Quinn and recording artist Rembrandt “Cryin’Man” Brown (Cleavant Derricks), who joins the sliders when he mistakenly gets caught in their first slide. Unfortunately after their first slide into an alternate Earth going through the ice age for a second time, Quinn’s attempt to save the sliders from a ice tornado by opening the vortex before the time results in them being unable to return to their own Earth. Therefore, each episode found them sliding into an alternate Earth where some historical events have been changed. By Season Two, the sliders faced the Kromaggs, who were a species of creatures who also possessed the technology to slide. But the Kromaggs sought to go to the alternate Earth to obtain slaves and supplies.
By Season Three, the series was more action packed with episodes based on popular movies of the time. Additionally, John Rhys-Davies decided to leave the show. In the episode “The Exodus,” Quinn, Wade and Rembrandt slide onto an Earth that is going to be destroyed by a pulsar and meet Captain Maggie Beckett (Kari Wuhrer) and Colonel Angus Rickman (Roger Daltrey). They too have the ability to slide and are trying to save some people from the pulsar’s destruction. Ironically, the sliders end up on their home Earth but because the air is bad for Maggie, so they have to leave. The good news was that Quinn had the ability to return home with the coordinates now programmed into his timer, the bad news was that Colonel Rickman turned out to be a killer and all-around bad guy who stole the timer. Maggie joined the slider team. Wade and Rembrandt returned to Earth Prime. Quinn opted to stay behind with Maggie, but as she decided to take the chance on going to Earth Prime, the two slide yet again onto an alternate Earth. After the third season, FOX decided to cancel Sliders.
Season Four of Sliders on its new home on Sci Fi Channel saw Sabrina Lloyd’s departure from the series with her character Wade having been taken to a Kromagg breeding camp. Quinn Mallory discovered that the parents he thought were his birth parents weren’t; he had been given to them to protect him from the Kromaggs by his real parents, who were scientists from one of the parallel Earths. Quinn learned he had a brother, Colin (Charlie O’ Connell, Jerry’s real life sibling), who joined the show. And by Season 5, Jerry O’ Connell was unable to continue with the series. The character of Quinn had be merged with one of the Quinns from an alternate Earth. The new Quinn was called Mallory and was played by Robert Floyd. Colin was lost in the vortex. As Sliders ended, a virus had been discovered that could kill the Kromaggs and Rembrandt injected himself with it and returned to the Earth to fight the Kromaggs. What happened next? We will never know as Sliders was cancelled.
In my opinion, Sliders was one of the best science fiction television series I’ve ever seen. True, it had some missteps in story lines and direction but overall showed promise and was very entertaining. It’s a shame that it didn’t stay on FOX longer in order to develop a stronger following. I feel it could have lasted longer than five seasons.