Source: Every Man a Demiurge Reason, by Charles Kluepfel
Jesse Walker's "Every Man a Demiurge" (February) traces the rise and demise of an entertainment genre depicting reality as an illusion or simulation. A similar genre also had a smaller rise and fall during that time: the idea that our universe is but one of many in a multiverse, in which alternate universes are identical to ours up to a certain point but then diverge. Such alternate histories have been around for a while, such as in the collections edited by Greg Benford. In the '90s on television there was Sliders, with worlds in which the dinosaurs lived into modern times, the American Revolution never took place, or population control was enforced through soft drinks containing birth control chemicals and lotteries for killing off people. On the movie screen there was Sliding Doors, where in one universe the protagonist just misses a subway train, while in another she just barely catches it. In the latter she arrives home to find her mate in bed with another woman; in the former the other woman leaves before her arrival, leading to very different consequences. Sliders, being a series, exhibited the same decay Walker notes in the "illusion" genre. Later episodes focused on fighting the evil Kromaggs in chases across the universes, which themselves no longer had any remarkable distinguishing features, except that sorcery seemed to work in some of them. Such seems to be the inevitable down slope of popular series.
-Thanks to Blinker for this article.
Source: TV Shows on DVD (Gord Lacey)
What if you could travel to parallel worlds? The same year, the same Earth, only different dimension. A world where the Russians rule America? Or where your dreams of being superstar came true? Or where San Francisco was a maximum security prison. My friends and I found the gateway. Now the problem is... finding a way back home.
Sliders is a recent show, but not recent enough to be in widescreen, so these episodes are presented in their original full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio. The transfers that Universal uses for their DVDs always seem to be high quality, and Sliders is no exception. There are bits of dust in the prints, but it isn't too bad, and is easily overlooked when you're watching the show. There were a few scenes in the final episode of season 2 that appeared to be taken from a non-film source. I would like to say video, but it looked poorer than that. I was shocked to see that there wasn't a chapter placed after the opening of the series. Universal has been fairly good about this with their recent releases, so I wonder why this release didn't include this. Each disc contains a "play all" feature, or you may select an individual episode to watch.
Universal has a nasty habit of advertising the wrong audio specs for their
DVD sets, including wrong specs for Sliders. All information from
Universal lists Sliders as containing an English Mono track, but that is
wrong, wrong, wrong; the episodes contain a nice Dolby Surround mix. I'm not
sure why they keep listing incorrect specs, but at least the DVDs are always
better than we're expecting.
With only a few exceptions, the Sliders audio is great. While the rear speakers aren't used for much, they do contain music, and the occasional sound effect, though this is rare. The front speaker gets the most action as it's used for most of the dialog, and some sound effects and music. A few pieces of dialog contained some clipping which distorted the voices. I only noticed this in a couple of episodes, and it only lasted for 10-15 seconds in each case, but I feel it should be mentioned. The biggest complaint I have is the clipped music as the picture fades to black for a commercial. I think the person transferring the show was paying attention to the black dissolve, not wanting too much black screen present, and not listening to the audio. The result is a noticeable clipping of the music, which is slightly jarring, depending on the severity of the cut. The set contains English, French and Spanish subtitles, and is not closed captioned.
Commentary Track This is an excellent commentary track with
co-creators Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss on the pilot episode. They let us
in on a few inside jokes, talk about the origins of the show, the actors, and
some of the behind-the-scenes moments while shooting. I was interested with the
names of some of the other actors that were being considered for Arturo - I
think they went with the right guy.
The Making of Sliders (14:09)
This is a nice featurette that takes a look at the origins of the show, the characters, favorite episodes and the fans. Tracy Tormé (writer/co-creator/executive producer), Robert K. Weiss (writer/co-creator), Jerry O'Connell and Cleavant Derricks are interviewed for the piece. Someone should have told Jerry that his hair was sticking up.
Photo Gallery (1:05)
Photos flash by while music plays.
I thought Sliders was a cool concept when I first heard about it, and
I think the show lived up to my expectations. I'm not sure I liked how the show
took a turn near the end of the second season, but I still stuck with it for a
few seasons when it was on. I didn't catch the final season or two, so I hope
this set sells well enough to justify the release of the other seasons.
When this set was first announced there were some fans grumbling about the price. $89.98 is expensive for 22 episodes, but it could be much worse. Talk to a Northern Exposure fan who dished out $60 for the first 8 episodes of the show, and is looking at $60 for the 7 episodes of season 2 and you'll consider yourself lucky you're only paying $90 for the two combined seasons.
Universal continues to deliver cool shows, interesting packaging and quality transfers on DVD. Sliders might not be one of the most popular sci-fi shows, but it has a following, and the fans will be picking up this set on August 3rd.
*Thanks to Temporal Flux for this article.*
Source: DVD Talk
When I first heard of the show Sliders, I though it sounded like a pale imitation of Quantum Leap with a little bit of Stargate thrown in for good measure. But writing the show off as a knock off of Leap would be making a mistake. While Sliders has a lot in common with its more famous cousin, it isn’t a direct copy, and the differences are significant. Sliders is not a perfect show, but it is one that can stand on its own and is very enjoyable. Now the first two seasons of this guilty pleasure of mine have been released on DVD so that people who may have missed it when it first aired (which was very easy to do) can now enjoy it at their leasure.
Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) is a physics grad student who is working on an antigravity device in his basement. The antigrav machine doesn’t pan out, but he does stumble upon something very interesting: he discovers a way to open a portal between dimensions. A gateway to another parallel Earth, where things are similar to our world, but not quite the same. After taking a brief trip to an alternate reality and returning, Quinn’s professor, Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies ) and his friend Wade Kathleen Welles (Sabrina Lloyd) stop by. Quinn decides to reveal his discovery to his friends by taking them on a quick trip to another world. Cranking the power up to accommodate the all three travelers, he opens a wormhole. They enter the vortex, but the extra energy causes the wormhole to shift before it closes and a has-been pop singer, Rembrandt 'Cryin' Man' Brown (Cleavant Derricks) is sucked in against his will.
All four find themselves in a world where an ecological catastrophe has occurred. Everything is covered in ice, and there are no living people to be found. Consulting the portable timer that Quinn carried with him, he finds that they still have some time to wait before it’s safe to open the portal home. But Mother Nature isn’t working on their schedule, and when they see a tornado heading straight for them, Quinn activates the timer and open a vortex so that they can ‘slide’ to safety. Unfortunately, they don’t end up back on their world. By sliding before it was time, they have gotten themselves lost in a nearly infinite amount of parallel worlds. So this eclectic group of travelers journey to a new world each episode, trying to find a way back home.
It would be quite easy to make fun of Sliders. Some of the plots are ridiculous, and I don’t think many of the changes that took place in the alternate Earths were plausible. (A world where time runs backwards?) I can’t bring my self to trash the show. Sliders is one of those programs that definitely falls into the guilty pleasure category. There is a lot wrong with the show right from the start. Some of it the writers fault, but other aspects were beyond their control. My biggest gripe with the show is that they never explain how the timer functions, the device that allows them to slide. They establish in the pilot that you’ll get lost if you slide early, but there are many episodes when someone’s life is in danger but they don’t just slide out to the next world. They are already lost, how much worse can it get? But then there are non-life threatening times when they do activate the timer prematurely, like when they use it as a weapon against a flying ship in the episode Invasion. Apparently there was a scene that explained all this in an early episode, but the network changed the order of the shows around. That made the scene in question nonsensical, and it was cut. I think it would have been better to have just left it in rather than have people scratching their heads over the apparent nonsensical use of this device, or have included the explination in a future episode.
There isn’t a lot of continuity in these first two seasons, and what little there is they get wrong. Early on it’s established that where ever you are in one world, that’s where you’ll land in the next. But there are a couple of times when they open a wormhole high in the air, off the top of a skyscraper in one show, but at the end of the slide they are near the ground instead of 300 feet up in the air. In one episode Quinn states that it would be risky to take a fifth person on a slide, but they drive a van through without any problem a couple of shows later. The number of small continuity errors like this is staggering, much more than I would have expected. When you sit and watch the shows one after anther like I did, they become much more apparent.
But even with all the continuity and logic errors, Sliders is still are very fun show. I found myself enjoying it against my will. There were some excellent shows that really kept you on the edge of your seat, and over the course of these two season you get to know the characters quite well. They all start off fairly two dimensional, but as the series goes on, they are all fleshed out fairly well.
Though the first season starts off a little rough (they recycle the plot from the pilot three episodes later) the show soon hits it’s stride. There are a lot of episodes where the quartet is thrown into a situation where they have to save the world, but these become less frequent as the series progresses. My favorite shows were the ones where the group just had to find out how to survive until they could slide again. Fever was a classic episode were they slide to a world where an epidemic is running rampant. Gillian of the Spirits finds the group with a broken timer on a world that has outlawed technology. These shows are what make people come back for more.
The best show on this set has to be the first season’s finale episode, Luck of the Draw. Borrowing a bit from the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, this episode has Wade winning the lottery and thinking about staying on this world, until she finds out what winning entails. This program also had a great cliffhanger ending. Several things happened right at the end that could have effected the show dramatically. One of the great things about TV series on DVD is you don’t have to wait to see what happens you can just pop the next disc in.
The series has its share of clunkers though, and the resolution to that wonderful cliffhanger, Into the Mystic is one of the episodes that just don’t work at all. The loose ends to the previous season are wrapped up before the credits roll in a most unsatisfactory fashion. (In the ‘making of’ featurette, the creators state that the network wouldn’t allow them to do anything else.) They then go on to a parody of The Wizard of Oz complete with a golden path and a female who tells the quartet to follow it, a midget, the man behind the curtain, and someone in search of a brain. Not a good note to start a season on. The season does pick up after that though, with season two being a bit edgier than the first one in general.
But even with the lesser efforts, Sliders is a fun show to watch. Just about every episode has that ‘fish out of water’ feeling where the viewers and the characters are trying to discover just what is going on in the world that they find themselves in. The characterization is generally very well done, and each plot taken by itself is usually pretty good. The show only starts to fall down when you look at the continuity across all the shows. If you can look past that, this is a great program.
This set contains the first two seasons of Sliders on six DVDs. They discs come packed in a very cool half clear case. The DVDs are inserted into a piece of foam rubber which gives the impression that they are floating in air. A very nice case design.
The shows are presented in the order that they originally aired. I only wish they would have put them in the order that they were originally meant to air. There is a slight cliff hanger at the ending of Summer of Love that is resolved in the first minutes of the The Prince of Wails. Unfortunately due to the network changing the order, in this set the resolution comes first and the set up is in the following episode.
The two channel mono English soundtrack is quite good. While not as full as a 5.1 mix would be, it was fairly dynamic. The dialog was clean and clear, and there wasn’t any hiss or distortion. A nice sounding DVD. There are subtitles in English Spanish and French.
The full frame image looks acceptable though there are a few digital artifacts. The lines are tight and in the foreground, though there are some light halos in some background details. There is a fair amount of cross colorization, and aliasing is fairly prevalent. Fine lines, especially those in the background tend to shimmer slightly. Detail is good, though some information is lost in darker areas. Even with these defects, the show doesn’t look bad. The picture is very acceptable.
There were only a few extras, but those that are included are very good. The pilot episode includes a commentary by creators Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss. They relate some of the inside stories that took place during the filming of the pilot, and reveal who all the bit actors are and what projects they had previously been involved with. They also talk about changes in the script and characters that were dropped. The pair also talk about some of the inside jokes that appear through out the episode; the equations on the boards, some of the dates that are used etc. Fans of the show will definitely want to listen to this.
The best extra is a 14-minute making of Sliders that is included on the last disc. Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss are interviewed along with Jerry O’Connell (Quinn Mallory) and Cleavant Derricks (Rembrandt 'Cryin' Man' Brown.) Unfortunately the other two main members of the cast are not included in the featurette. They talk about some of their favorite moments from the show and relate some amusing anecdotes. Jerry O’Connell has a great line about fans of the show that I really liked: “Science Fiction fans are like a beautiful woman: Ya gotta treat her right. You gotta bring her flowers, you gotta treat her with respect. Because the second you disrespect her, she’s out the door.” How true that is.
In addition there is a minute long reel of production photos.
I really wish that they had included a section with deleted scenes. I was really hoping to see the scene where the function of the timer was explained, an important scene that was cut from an early episode and never broadcast. It is really too bad that this bit is not to be found anywhere in this set.
I really enjoy watching Sliders, though I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the greatest SF show to ever air. Yes there are some continuity errors, and some of the shows are a bit silly, but there isn’t any cute talking robot or comic relief sidekick, which is something. The best episodes are absolutely great, and even the worst shows have something to offer. While I don’t like it as much as Quantum Leap or Stargate SG-1, if you are fans of those shows, you should make a point of checking this one out too. Overall, it is a very enjoyable show, but the digital artifacts and the prevelant continuity errors bring it down a bit in my opinion. This set rates a very high Recommended.
Many theoretical physicists believe that "our" reality is just one of countless other realities; that innumerable alternative universes exist where history - or even evolution - has taken different courses. Naturally, it's a theory that's never been proven. But what if we could prove it? And what if we could also find a way to <i>visit</i> these other universes? That's the premise behind Sliders, which debuted in 1995, ran for five seasons and developed one of the most faithful cult followings of any recent sci-fi television show. In Sliders, a brilliant young physics student named Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell) is doing research on antigravity, but accidentally stumbles into a way to "slide" from our reality into any of the infinite parallel realities! Quinn shares his discovery with his professor Dr. Arturo (John Rhys-Davies, a right proper Englishman) and gal pal Wade (Sabrina Lloyd). Quinn miscalculates the power needed for their maiden slide, and they're pulled to an alternative earth dominated by a new Ice Age - and they accidentally bring with them Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown, a washed-up R&B singer who just happens to be driving by Quinn's house. Unfortunately, Quinn doesn't know how to program the hand-held sliding device to get them back to our earth! As a result, they find themselves sliding from one strange earth to the next, never quite sure if the next slide will get them back home or not. Once you get past the premise that a college student could invent a hand-held interdimensional transporter, Sliders is a heckuva lotta fun. The possibilities are quite literally endless. Sometimes the alternative earth they visit is a nearly identical copy of ours (except maybe green lights mean stop and red lights mean go); sometimes history has taken a drastic turn (perhaps the Communists won the Cold War, or the French rule North American - or the Spanish). Sometimes they find an earth devoid of intelligent life, or one where their own "duplicates" have lived vastly different lives. Sometimes even evolution has taken a different course, as in the episode "Invasion", where they discover the Kromaggs, a race of vicious primates who killed off homo sapiens long ago and have perfected sliding technology. (The Kromaggs are probably the most controversial choice from the first two seasons - some fans welcomed the new "bad guys"; others thought they were too ridiculous.) The humor is sly and satirical throughout: President Jocelyn Elders rules a United States depopulated by birth control; in a Frenchified America a snooty French waiter takes pity on Dr. Arturo because he comes from that "dreary little island" of Britain. Although the show never gets too heavy, it occasionally presents frightening possibilities, such as a lifeless earth covered in ice and ravaged by gigantic tornadoes, or a United States devoid of males due to a virus unleashed by the Iraqis. Jerry O'Connell is a winner as the boyishly handsome genius Quinn Mallory. The supporting cast are all superb, especially veteran actor John Rhys-Davies as the longsuffering Arturo and the talented Cleavant Derricks as wisecracking Rembrandt Brown. Sabrina Lloyd's Wade carries a torch for Quinn, and the chemistry really works between Lloyd and O'Connell. Season One was a scant 10 episodes, while Season Two improved with 13; thus, both seasons have been released in a single six-disk package. DVD extras include a making-of mini-documentary and an audio commentary on the two-hour pilot featuring the show's co-creators Tracy Torme and Robert Weiss. The only real negative about this DVD package is, well, the packaging. The disks are held in place by slotted foam, with a flimsy clear-plastic lid that separates completely from the main box. (I can't help but think that that foam will soon loosen up and/or the box lid will be misplaced and crushed, but I could be wrong.) Overall, however, Sliders: The First and Second Seasons</i> is great fun, with good writing, excellent cast rapport and a fine balance of humor and drama. Let the sliding begin!
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**03 August 2004
Source: Sliders - Seasons 1 & 2 - DVD CinemaBlend.com, by Joshua Tyler
When “Sliders” first hit TV in the mid-nineties it never got a fair shake. It suffered from unfair comparisons to “Quantum Leap” even though the shows weren’t really similar. It was misunderstood by Fox, as the network insisted on playing episodes out of order (even when the storyline was linear) and mismanaging the show on every level. Every step of the way was a tremendous fight for series creator Robert K. Weiss as he waded through ridiculous corporate edicts which would have had him alienating fans and basically producing mindless, numbing tripe, akin to the lame Sci-Fi stuff we’re now accosted with in shows like “Mutant X.” Fox actively worked against him to keep him from making the episodes he wanted and ironically enough one of the episodes Fox worked hardest to keep him from making was the one for which “Sliders” received an Emmy nomination. By the end of Season 3 everyone was jumping ship, including Robert Weiss who after three seasons of battling moronic pencil pushers gave up the fight. From there it was a steady downhill slide into dismal plodding as the show continued on without the people who loved it, but for awhile, “Sliders” stacked up to the best Sci-Fi in the history of television. The Movie: ****1/2 out of ***** The show was at it’s best in its first two abbreviated seasons and even I was surprised by the quality of the episodes in my “Sliders – The First and Second Seasons” box set. I had fond memories of the show, but for some reason I’d forgotten just how intelligent the series really was. The premise is complicated, but not overly so. A brilliant college physics student named Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) has a breakthrough in his basement and constructs what he calls a “sliding machine.” The machine enables him to travel not in time, but to different dimensions. Same year, different earth. As things often do, his experiments go awry, sucking himself, his professor Maximillion Arturo (John Rhys-Davies), his friend Wade Welles (Sabrina Lloyd), and a hapless passerby named Rembrant “Cryin Man” Brown (who drives his Caddy into the portal as it drifts out into the street) into his vortex without a way to get home. With them is Quinn’s “timer,” a remote device that lets him open a sliding portal, but due to malfunction doesn’t provide a way to find the right tunnel back to their particular earth. And so the four are trapped traveling from parallel world to parallel world, forming an impromptu family, and hoping against hope that their next slide will take them home. Unbelievably enough, the science isn’t all that shaky and they reference real theories put forth by scientists like Einstein and Hawking in setting “Sliders” up. But what makes the show work is the freedom they have to say something by putting our little family of Sliders into bizarre and sometimes all too similar worlds. One week they might be on a world where all the men have been killed by biological warfare; the next week on a world where San Francisco has been turned into a maximum security prison. Sometimes one episode builds directly into the next, sometimes the episodes work as independent snippets unto themselves. The real reason to love “Sliders” is the characters, brought to life by a brilliant ensemble cast that doesn’t follow the normal television rules of being young, hot, and sexy. The backbone of the show is really the gruff and often grumpy John Rhys-Davies as Maximillian Arturo. Arturo is Quinn’s teacher and is stuck grappling with the reality that he’s been completely surpassed by his student. Rhys-Davies brings a fun sense of anger and crankiness to the show, constantly shouting and bullying his way around. Arturo is often pigheaded and downright mean but he’s also brings in the right dynamic to pull this disparate group together. One of the best moments in the “Sliders” Season 1 and 2 set comes on a world ruled by the young, a place where the aged Arturo is considered a second-class citizen. John Rhys-Davies has an insane moment of ultra violence that brings to mind shades of Gimli as he channels his fat guy fury to beat the living hell out of a bunch of young people, turning back to bash a guy in the knee with a bat while he isn’t looking. I couldn’t help but hear Gimli start keeping count. You’ll find yourself hating him, being annoyed him, and loving him all at once. It’s no wonder the show collapsed after Season 3 without him. Even Jerry O’Connell is good, though his post-Sliders resume might not lead you to think that’s possible. He’s the show’s only hot looking youngster, but he never steals the limelight from the other cast members, content to fill his role as the earnest and well-intentioned young genius. Sabrina Lloyd has her own problems to deal with, as the show’s only female cast member; she’s left battling alone for the female prospective. Cleavant Derricks is hilarious as the washed up R&B star Rembrant Brown, his character arc is probably the most compelling as he transitions from a whiny has-been who got unjustly pulled into this thing by Quinn, to a rock within the group. “Sliders” is simply a great piece of Science Fiction. It capably tackles both serious and humorous topics with equal skill. This show knew how to be fun without being dumb, and that’s something you just don’t see anymore on television. The special effects looked cool at the time and still do, if a little dated. The show isn’t always totally consistent, a few of the first episodes of Season 2 are fairly mediocre, but the series rebounds by delivering plenty that are damn near perfect too. “Sliders” holds up well nearly ten years later, and if like me you watched it a decade ago and only remember sort of enjoying it, give the first couple of seasons another chance. It might surprise you. The Disc: ** out of ***** As great as this show is, it still isn’t getting the respect it deserves. Universal has shoved this thing out the door in a cool looking package, but with very little inside it. The packaging really is unique though, it’s set up so you can see through half of it, and the DVD’s are arranged inside in sort of a stacked, stutter stepped fashion that’ll look really cool sitting on your shelf. Unfortunately, once you open it up you figure out that the thing is all held together by cheap foam rubber and after only taking the discs out once or twice, my foam rubber is already showing heavy wear and tear. Universal deserves credit for really coming up with a totally unique and cool looking way to package this set, but in doing so they’ve made something that’s not the least bit durable. As for the show itself, it’s presented pretty much as you saw it on television. Except in my case the picture is clearer, since I’m not watching it through a pair of rabbit ears. It’s nice not to have to tweak the tin foil on top of my TV to sort out the snow, but I’d like to have a little more here than just a clear picture and nice sound. But Universal isn’t giving you that. You’ve got six discs containing twenty-two episodes, one of which is the two hour pilot. The first disc also has a commentary track to go along with the pilot, but the commentary is all done by series’ creator Robert K. Weiss and co-creator Traci Torme who sounds like he was really more of an uninvolved producer and doesn’t sound like he really knows much about the show. Instead Torme just cracks lame jokes and for the most part this is another one of those useless commentaries that consists entirely of “hey remember him?” comments. I’m really disappointed that they couldn’t or just didn’t get the cast involved in this, John Rhys-Davies does some spectacular commentary on the <i>Lord of the Rings</i> discs and would no doubt have brought something special to this. Disc six is supposed to be where all the special features are at. Sadly when you’ll get there you’ll discover that one of the special features is the DVD credits. Yep, if you click this little button over in the corner, you get to watch CREDITS!!!!!! White text on a black screen. Pretty exciting huh? The only other feature is a VERY brief documentary in which they do a few quick interviews with defeated series creator XXXX and throw in some really brief comments from Cleavant Derricks and Jerry O’Connell. Is Sabrina Lloyd really so busy that they couldn’t get a word or two from her? I don’t think she’s worked since “Sports Night”. How tough could it have been to get her? That’s it. This set has no real features and has had no real effort put into it (Which makes it bit ironic that they’d include DVD credits. Is it meant as a list of shame?). Just as it was back when it first hit TV’s in the nineties, “Sliders” is still being treated like “Quantum Leap’s” ugly cousin. That’s a shame, because having watched both “Quantum Leap” and “Slider’s” first seasons in the past few months I’m here to tell you that “Slider’s” is better. Fan of the show or not, this set is worth picking up. It may be bare bones, but the show is on there and for a big series box set like this that’s all that really matters.
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**03 Aug 2004
Source: First Two Seasons HomeTheaterInfo.com, by Doug MacLean
Star Rating: *** out of **** Letter Grade: B Perhaps one of the oldest themes in fiction is the hero searching for a way back home. From the Odyssey in ancient times to such television shows as Quantum Leap and, for us older viewers, The Time Tunnel, there is a certain continued interest in a lost hero that can’t get back home. One of the more imaginative twists to this theme was Sliders. The basic premise followed Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell), a near genius graduate student that discovers a practical application for some of Einstein’s theories. Quinn discovers that there are an infinite number of parallel universes, multiple variations of our own planet earth. Using a device that opens a portal he can slide between these universes. While demonstrating his device to his mentor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies) and his girlfriend Wade Wells (Sabrina Lloyd) the vortex gets out of control and takes the trio to another world. The vortex also manages to entrap a singer Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks) and the four hapless heroes start on a quest back to their earth. What gave this series an edge was the fact that each earth they visit inevitably is slightly different from our own. The difference may be as small as a green traffic light means stop to a world where dinosaurs never became extinct. The four main characters are archetypes of fiction. Quinn is the adventurer, a person driven by exploration and discovery. Arturo is the typical stuffy scientist. Proud of his intellect and English demeanor he is the father figure of the group. Remmy is the artistic type, he lives to express his gift of singing to others. Frustrated that he never reached the peak of his career he is the reluctant traveler. Lastly Wade is the most emotional of the group, representing love and compassion she is the heart of the group. Because the series employs alternate universes the writers have a field day with just how strange they can make the worlds. In one first season episodes the British never lost the war of independence and the United States is still a British colony. In another episode everything west of the Mississippi belongs to the nation of Texas, complete with gun slinging lawyers. Each world presents its own particular difficulties for the group. Since they can only stay on each world for a limited time there is a bit over utilized plot device, they are always losing their timer, a remote control like device that opens the portal so they can leave to the next world. While the science fiction is always there the human interactions are never left behind. This show relies on people not effects. This was a well considered cast. Jerry O'Connell has come a long way since his childhood breakout role as the fat kid in Stand by Me. Here he has definitely grown up into the handsome leading man. He gives Quinn an enthusiasm, a love of exploration that helps carry the series. Sabrina Lloyd is a very talented actress. After Sliders went on to a incredible role in the television series Sports Night. In both series she displays an innate wit and comfort in her roles. The chemistry between her character and Quinn’s is present but rarely overdone or played too overtly. There is tenderness between their characters rather than the all too over done passion of youth seen in most series revolving around twenty something characters. John Rhys-Davies may be best known for his role in two of the three Indiana Jones flicks and all three of the Lord of the Rings blockbusters. This talented actor has a commanding presence on either the large or small screen. He not only grounds the troupe but is usually the source of great one liners. Cleavant Derricks provides his character with true pathos, the audience can readily identifier with him personal as well as is plight. Since each world is different the usual use of various directors really works out. While each director brings something new to the table with each episode they remain consistent within the boundaries of the story line. One director frequently used is Mario Azzopardi, who has worked on numerous Outer Limits episodes and such shows as Jeremiah. Each episode has excellent pacing; the story is resolved in the 45 minutes allowed but rarely seems to drag. The special effects and sliding device never are the focus of the episodes. Each one explores some aspect of the human condition and provides the ultimate in the path not taken tales. There is intelligence to the series without being over preachy. Whenever I see a television show presented on DVD, especially one that is in heavy rotation on the tube I have to wonder why buy it? Here the answer is easier than most times. The video quality is excellent; there is excellent contrast between the light and dark sections of the screen and a fairly good color balance through the presentation. The audio is Dolby stereo. There is reasonably good separation in the channels, crisp and clear. The set is a bit light in the extras. There is a commentary featuring Co-Creators/Writers Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss that provides some insight into the inception and execution of the series. There is also a little making of type featurette that gives a little glimpse into the behind the scenes work. Usually I am not impressed with novelty packaging but I really like the way this one was done. The discs six discs are embedded in foam rubber slits, each one offset from the other just slightly. This gives the impression of the multiple earths seen in the series opening. It also makes it very easy to remove one disc for use. Rather than release one season at a time Universal committed to a two season box set giving more bang for the buck than most season sets. In all this is a must have for fans and a good introduction to a fine television series for the uninitiated. This is an excellent presentation of an imaginative series.
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**03 Aug 2004
Source: Sliders: Seasons 1 & 2 MovieWeb.com, by Brian Balchack
Overall: 50% Features: 40% The Flick: 50% - Recommendation - RENT IT: 50% THE FLICK Hey it's "Vern" from Stand By Me! Before actor Jerry O'Connell was a somebody he was a nobody for a long time. There was a great lull for O'Connell with people of my generation in between noticeable acting gigs in Stand By Me to the time when "Sliders" first aired on television in 1995. It was also a realization that people get old, as O'Connell was no longer that loveable chubby kid we all wanted to tease in Stand By Me. He had inherently "morphed" (FYI: another term from the 90's) into this wanna-be-TV-hunk who was barely recognizable. Originally airing in 1995, "Sliders" basically stole the thematic elements of another popular early 90's series called Quantum Leap, and mixed them in with some cool hip attitudes, funky tech geek gizmos, and a more contemporary tone. Instead time travelling, which is what "Quantum" seemed to do best, "Sliders" took the "parallel universe" approach, adventuring through various points in time, just within a different dimension. While "Sliders" might not have been completely original, it was in fact a hit show. Having a run of almost 5 years, fans latched on to the show with great pride. And with a continuingly successful run on the Sci-Fi Channel, which still airs today, the effective release of this DVD set is now available for fans to enjoy at their will. And while the show as a whole might be easily condemned of being absolutely ridiculous, as well as being way too open-ended with some of their technical justifications for true sci-fi geeks, here are some good parts as well. Namely, the actors that so skillfully pull off a level of believability when some intermittent stints of horrific writing, continuity errors and laughable subject matter get in the way. Quinn (Jerry O’Connell), a brilliant grad student, has created a device that opens a wormhole to an infinite number of parallel universes where history has taken different paths. His first test trip goes awry, stranding his physics professor, Arturo (John Rhys-Davies), his friend, Wade (Sabrina Lloyd), and bystander Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown (Cleavant Derricks) in parallel San Franciscos. Now, this foursome of Sliders must travel from one alternate reality to another in the hope of somehow finding their way home. THE FEATURES Audio Commentary An audio commentary is included on disc 1 with co-creators/writers Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss. Fans might find value in their comments, but I only found this commentary to be average. They offer some insight into the shows production, the actors and the work they did before "Sliders", as well as some mockery at some of the things they did within the realm of the show. All in all, worthy of the set, but like the set itself, nothing that special. Featurette A small featurette on the show is also included. This featurette, for some reason, feels more dated then the actual show itself. Good stuff, and a definitive for any fan. Photo Gallery Also included on Disc 6 is a photo set of some images from the show. The Look Presented in it's original broadcast aspect ration of 1.33:1, the transfer does justice to the show. Better then anything you'd see on network TV, the picture doesn't knock you off your feet, but little distortion is found. The distortion that is present will be unoticable to the non-tech geek. The Sound Presented in it's original broadcast audio track of Dolby Digital 2.0, the audio is on par with the picture, offering nothing astounding, but doing justice to what's presented in front you. FINAL WORD One thing I can say that I liked about revisiting the world of "Sliders" is that the show, due to the actors and the writing, holds up as a semi-entertaining program in 2004. Jerry O'Connell, John Rhys-Davies and Sabrina Lloyd round out a cast that make the cheesiness of it all a bit more digestable. Seasons 1 and 2 are included in this set making this DVD collection one to own. Whether for the love of science fiction, a retrospective on 90's television, or just plain fandom for "Sliders", any viewer picking this on up should be impressed with it's presentation.
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**05 Aug 2004
Source: Sliders, The First and Second Seasons ClassicTVHits.com, Julia Zion
Sliders was a cult favorite that was not all that popular, but is maybe some
of the most thought provoking Sci-fi ever produced. The idea that one minor
event could change the universe has been explored quite a few times in movies,
but this might be the best representation. If you are unfamiliar, the story
starts in the brilliant two-hour pilot episode. It takes place in San Francisco,
in the house of Quinn Malory, a super genius who was in the process of trying to
create an anti-gravity device. In the process, he created this portal to other
dimensions. Basically, he can travel to and from different dimensions on the
same Earth. Through this portal, he can end up on an Earth where after the
United States lost the Korean war, Communism took over the world, and democracy
collapsed. So, the United States is run by the Soviets. On many a world, they
find their doubles, or run into the same people over and over in different
universes, just like in the episode "As Time Goes By." The only
constant is the four sliders, Quinn, Professor Arturo, Rembrandt, and Wade. This
original cast was the best and is one reason why this set shines. The set is a
comprehensive look at the first two innocent seasons before the Kromaggs are
brought into the fray as villains in the end of the second season. In the second
season episode "Invasion," the scene is set for the remaining seasons.
The menu system is very well designed. The menu starts up with the ending music
from the second season. There is a montage of clips from the first few episodes
in the top left corner that keeps repeating. On each disk, you can choose play
all or choose by episode. When you choose by episode, you get a picture and an
episode title. Select the episode picture and you move to a detailed description
of the episode. From there, you can change audio tracks, or turn on subtitles,
or go to a scene index. You can also just hit play and see the episode in full.
Very well organized.
I have never seen such innovative packaging. The set comes with 6 disks packed in a way I have never seen. There is a box about 3/4 as big as a DVD on the left with the picture of the cast on the front and nothing on the back. Very sophmorically, there is a pamphlet rubber glued to the back with the normal episode list and a few ads for other series, plus a description of the series and what the special features are. The best part is where the DVDs are kept. They look as though they are suspended in midair if you look at them from the front, but they are actually held in place by a foam block stuck to the inside of the box. Little slots hold the DVDs. I read one reviewer from TVshowsonDVD.com who tried as much as he could to scratch the DVDs with the foam, but did not succeed. A plastic cover slides in to cover the DVDs. Although it is sometimes tough to get the plastic around the foam inside, and the DVDs tend to fall out sometimes when one or more is removed, it does make for an attractive display.
There are three special features on this. The first one is director commentary on the pilot episode on disk one. I tend to find director commentaries boring, especially since I had already watched the episode with normal audio. I listened to a bit of it and was bored after about 15 minutes. The little piece at the end of disk 6 was more interesting. There was a little 15 minute documentary about the making of the series. Pretty well done. They interviewed Cleavant Derricks (Rembrandt), Jerry O'Connel (Quinn), and the two directors. Interspersed with clips from the show, they talk about how the show started, how the show involved, what their characters were like, what the two other actors, John Rhys-Davies (Professor Arturo) and Sabrina Lloyd (Wade), were like to work with, and so on. It was very interesting to learn some of the behind the scenes stuff. The final special feature was a photo gallery. Nothing all that interesting, but the pictures were stylized and mixed with moving video of a slide in process. Nice touch.
Audio and Video Quality:
This was a very well done release, quality wise. The audio and video were very crisp and clear. No surround sound, but unlike much science fiction, it is not needed as often in Sliders. Dolby Digital 2.0 was definitely enough to satisfy my audio needs. Being from the late 90's, early 2000's, the video quality was superb.
As a fan of Sliders, and not have been able to see many of the episodes from these seasons, I'd watch them over again. The problem is...it will take me a long time to get through these episodes ONCE! At 22 episodes, including the two-hour pilot episode, it will take me almost a month to watch every one. For the sake of this review, I only watched a few and the special features. So, once I watch all of the episodes, it might be time to get seasons three and four, but until then, I might watch a few episodes over again. If you are not the biggest fan of the show, I don't know if you'll be watching these shows over again.
Final Thoughts & Recommendation:
Overall, I love this set. The presentation is spectacular, the menu system leads you into a great experience. It gets you in the sci-fi mood and is a good lead-in to this one of a kind show. This is one of those shows that just makes you think. What would the world have been like if Benedict Arnold had captured Washington and he had been killed? What would life have been like if Women took over the world 400 years back because they were sick and tired of male aggression and wars and crime? It really makes you think about society as a whole and makes you wonder if we've been making the right decisions in this world. Good TV does that. And this is good TV.
Overall: 5.0/5 Video Quality: 5.0/5 Audio Quality: 5.0/5 Presentation: 4.5/5 Re-watchability: 4.0/5 Bonus Features: 5.0/5
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**06 August 2004
Source: Sliders: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD.TheManRoom.com, by Dan Bradley
In its short-lived life Sliders encountered more turbulence and change than
perhaps any show in history. It was launched in 1995 as nothing more than a slot
filler, eventually cancelled, brought back, cancelled again, and reborn on a new
channel. During its five seasons of existence a cult following grew to epic
proportions resulting in the title of the most watched show in Sci-Fi Channel
history when season four premiered. I never saw Sliders on the Sci-Fi Channel.
During its tenure the only episodes I ever caught were the pilot and second
show. It never managed to pull me in beyond the first cool factor moment of
jumping into the tunnel. Now nearly ten years later I’m giving it a second try
in hopes I missed something the first time around. movie No one can argue
Sliders doesn’t have a cool concept under the hood, even if the similarities
to Quantum Leap jump out like a monkey from behind a tree. Here’s a young
genius who pulls his friend, professor, and a total stranger into parallel
alternate versions of their own world with little chance of ever returning home
outside of a cheap looking remote control that never works properly. The avenues
for storylines are endless, or at least within the confines of studio executive
approval. After taking in several episodes from season one and two I had no
doubt in my mind I’ll never be an avid fan. First, I can’t get over the
atrocious acting put forth by the principle cast. Jerry O’Connell might as
well be sleepwalking as Quinn, the shows supposed hero. Cleavant Derricks goes
way over the top as moronic song man Rembrant Brown. And worst of all is Sabrina
Lloyd as whining, amateur acted Wade. Every female guest star that makes an
appearance i.e. Daelin upstages Wade every single time. Only John Rhys-Davies of
Indiana Jones fame puts forth a worthy performance. At times the disparity makes
him look like a god amongst peasants. Second, no matter what version of San
Francisco they visit, no one seems to take notice of the four people that open a
giant wormhole and then jump in it and vanish. During the “As Time Goes By”
episode the foursome are surrounded by police, open the hole, the police shoot
an illegal immigrant, and the hole stays open for a good minute with no one
looking at the giant swirling phenomenon. Talk about killing a show’s
momentum. Harsh comments aside I still intend on checking out the remaining
three seasons. After all, sometimes it takes the cast awhile to settle into
their roles and discover what makes their characters tick. For all I know
seasons one and two are merely a warm-up for what’s to come next.
<b>audio</b> A science fiction show not given a Dolby Digital 5.1
remix is a slap in the face, especially considering how long Sliders fanatics
have been waiting for this set. Instead audio is offered in Dolby Digital 2.0
and performs as well as can be expected from that format.
Sliders transfer is fairly clean in its 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There are minimal imperfections in the print and the picture looks to be equally bright and contrasted.
The key to Sliders experimental packaging is to keep it shut. In this position the six DVDs are visible in a staggered pattern through the clear plastic right side and frankly look damn cool. However, upon opening the case it becomes apparent the DVDs are sitting in a sloppily cut piece of foam, making it tricky to remove and put them back in. Disc one’s Pilot episode includes a commentary by Co-Creators Tracy Torme and Rocert K. Weiss. These guys know how to balance jokes with informative tidbits to keep the entire session interesting, something other commentary participants have yet to learn. Disc six includes a Making of Sliders short ten minute featurette and a photo gallery. Jerry O’Connell shares some humorous stories from the set and how the show built his fanbase while the creators discussed their many battles with the network to put the storylines they wanted in front of the camera. Some of the discussions go beyond season two so it’ll be interested to see what featurettes can be pulled together for future season sets. After all this waiting the mighty Sliders DVD includes one commentary track, a short featurette and a photo gallery. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking then you’re thinking some extra material was left on the cutting room floor for legal or rights issues. add to ManRoom? These first two seasons of Sliders are worth checking out though only worth purchasing for the already installed fan base. Those fans might be a bit irate over more attention being paid to the packaging than the supplemental material. For me, I’m glad I was able to revisit Quinn and his sliding buddies if for no reason than to cure my lingering curiosity since the show first aired. As with Quantum Leap and a host of “lost” shows before it, there’s always that fascination with if they’ll ever get home and if so, how. TMR Official Review Movie: 6.5 / 10 Audio: 5.0 / 10 Video: 6.0 / 10 Extras: 3.0 / 10 Replay: 6.5 / 10 DVD Score: 6.5 / 10 Verdict: Rent
Things to Look For: Best Surround: n/a Best LFE: n/a Hot Women: Brooke Langton, Sabrina Lloyd
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**10 Aug 2004
Source: Sliders - Seasons 1 & 2 (1995-96) MovieFreak.com, by Dennis Landmann
SYNOPSIS Quinn (Jerry O'Connell), a brilliant grad student, has created a device that opens a wormhole to an infinite number of parallel universes where history has taken different paths. His first test trip goes awry, stranding his physics professor, Arturo (John Rhys-Davis), his friend, Wade (Sabrina Lloyd), and bystander Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown (Cleavant Derricks) in parallel San Franciscos. Now, this foursome of Sliders must travel from one alternate reality to another in the hope of somehow finding their way home. CRITIQUE I never heard of Sliders before reading the show's DVD press release. After checking out a bit more than half (I skipped episodes that sounded lame after reading the synopsis provided on the menu screens) of the DVD's twenty-two episodes that comprise the first two seasons of the show, my general impression is that Sliders presents a cool concept, a kind of brother or distant relative to Quantum Leap. The two-hour pilot presentation (it runs some 95 minutes) is pretty cool, and sets up the concept nicely. However, Sliders falters a bit in between the cracks. Some of the alternate realities explored are just too out there, or they are simply ridiculous. There are also some logic gaps, which becomes noticeable especially when watching episode after episode. Each episode presents a different alternate reality, though I have to give credit to the writing staff where it's due; they sure know how to make each reality totally different. I mentioned some realities don't work, but the ones that do make for good entertainment, and a little suspense and science-fiction. The actors perform well most of the time, though I have a few problems with some of the dialogue or specific actions of the characters. First off, the time when Cleavant Derricks' "Crying Man" uttered the word "dagnabbit," I just had to laugh. The quality of the writing tends to go from a bit cheesy dialogue to sounding well-educated and technical. In terms of the characters' actions, I find it rather annoying that when they are in danger they always look back and hesitate before sliding. Sabrina Lloyd's character, Wade, kind of disappoints, and as the show's only female character the writers should've realized her importance. The first season's finale episode, Luck of the Draw, is a good one. The cliffhanger at the end made me want to see the conclusion, but the second season starts off rather disappointingly with the less-than-mediocre Into the Mystic. The story of the season opener just didn't interest me, plus it was kind of stupid and the cliffhanger ending from before was wrapped too easily. As Time Goes By, the second season's finale, ends on a general note, no cliffhanger or anything. The four sliders find themselves in a reality where for them time moves backwards, and they only have a few hours to find out why they (excluding Wade) were convicted of murdering an undercover police officer. THE VIDEO Universal presents Sliders in 1.33:1 fullscreen format. Video quality is actually not too bad. Colors look nice and saturated good enough, but they also look a bit dim at times. The image sees a few specks, but nothing major. Overall, a fine-looking program that doesn't necessarily show its age. Optional subtitles include English, French, and Spanish. The chapter stops for the episodes are quite long, there are only four for each of the show's average 43-minute episodes. THE AUDIO Universal presents Sliders in English 2.0 Dolby Surround. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The two front channels reinforce the sound effects with good enough quality, it's no big deal but the track gets the job done. THE EXTRAS On the first disc is an audio commentary by series co-creators Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss on the pilot. They share some good information, such as the history of the show, how it began and that sort of thing. Some jokes are revealed as well, plus there's talk concerning the actors, filming, and other behind-the-scenes stuff. Fans of the show should find this track interesting, and I did too on a moderate level. The other extra is The Making of Sliders (14:09), an interview piece that's actually quite nice. There are interviews with Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss, and actors Jerry O'Connell and Cleavant Derricks. O'Connell adds some good lines, and the creators have good things to say as well. It's a little odd that Sabrina Lloyd and John-Rhys Davies are not featured in this piece. Did they get lost in an alternate reality, or what? Rounding out the extras is a photo gallery (1:05) that shows a series of photos cut to music. FINAL THOUGHTS Despite some nitpicks and odd complaints, Sliders remains a pretty decent show. Not every episode works, but the ones that do are enjoyable. The DVD is a pretty nice package. VERDICT: RECOMMENDED
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**13 August 2004
Source: The First and Second Seasons (1995/1996) DigitallyObsessed.com, by Rich Rosell
"That's the entrance to a wormhole that runs between worlds. When you step inside, you slide through to another universe, completely distinct and separate from your own."</i> <b>- Quinn (Jerry O'Connell)</b> Style Grade: B Substance Grade: B+ Image Transfer Grade: B- Audio Transfer Grade: B Extras Grade: C- DVD Review I've been known to carry longstanding grudges against brainless networks for screwing with shows that I really like, and for some reason Fox is always one of the major culprits. I don't watch all that much television, but I can rattle off their sloppy handling of programs like Futurama, Millennium and Wonderfalls right off the top of my head, and the alternate universe realities of Sliders is another classic example. Their nitpicking and handholding watered down the series quite a bit, forcing the Sci-Fi Channel (another bastion of horrendous programming) to glom onto the waning glory days, and in the end leave nothing but a really bitter taste in the mouths of the faithful. To sate and placate fans (and perhaps pretend that shoddy later seasons maybe just never happened) Universal has uncorked with a wonderful six-disc collection of the first and second seasons of Sliders, something that most followers would consider the series' high water mark. The two-hour pilot, an ep that more than stands on its own, is as fine a bit of sci-fi themed television as I've seen in recent years, even with the absences of spaceships and aliens. The premise is custom made for episodic television: Quinn (Jerry O'Connell), a brainy San Francisco physics student, has perfected a device—in his mom's basement, no less—that opens up a temporary wormhole between alternate Earths. By leaping into the wormhole, one can "slide" between worlds; but of course there's a catch, which is the foundation of the show's appeal. It seems there's no way to return back from whence you came, so Quinn, along with his college professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies), gal pal Wade (Sabrina Lloyd), and, through an odd turn of events, fading R&B singer Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown (Cleavant Derricks), are left to slide from alternate world to alternate world each week, finding themselves in some very strange places. This isn't an overly nerdy hard-science series, but rather more of a "what if" show, that over the course of the 23 episodes of these first two seasons, weekly finds the characters sliding into an assortment of parallel worlds for a brief time, before launching themselves down a wormhole just before the closing credits. What if the Americans lost to the British during in 1776, what if the atomic bomb was never invented, what if modern medicine never discovered penicillin—those are some of the scenarios Quinn, Arturo, Wade, and Crying Man find themselves in; once you get past the illogically convenient plot reliance on having one of the main characters just happening to be a key character in the alternate world (or one of their friends), you can focus on the fact that the writing is generally a whole lot smarter than a tired sitcom or tedious drama. One of the show's real strengths is Rhys-Davies, who, whether as a companion to Indiana Jones or as an axe-wielding dwarf in The Lord of the Rings</b>, shows here that he has the right amount of frustrated, deep-voiced pomposity that serves as the foundation that holds the quartet of main characters together. O'Connell is anonymously likeable, Lloyd is stiffly cute, and Derricks' Crying Man Brown may get all the genuinely broad laughs, but Rhys-Davies has a delivery that gives the show something approaching legitimacy, if for nothing other than his booming and distinctive speaking voice, which makes even the most tired exasperation sound engaging. I have a 13-year-old daughter who, if I may play proud dad for a moment, recently took a gold medal in our state science fair. She's a brainy kid, and I only mention this because she was just a toddler when the show first ran, and while watching this release she now considers this one of "the coolest shows" she's ever seen. The fact that she found the episode where smart people are as revered as world-class athletes made me realize there was probably a broader appeal to this show than I originally might have imagined. The "what if" scenarios and scientific anomalies of Sliders are right up her alley, and for me, watching these shows again I get the chance to sort of see it through a new pair of eyes. This isn't revolutionary television by any means, but it is incessantly clever when it is on its game, which is more often than not, and even at its worse it is still adventurous. Rating for Style: B Rating for Substance: B+ Image Transfer Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 - Full Frame Original Aspect Ratio: yes Anamorphic: no Image Transfer Review: All eps are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The transfers fall on the good side of decent, looking extremely presentable. Colors are fairly bright, and the transfers hold up extremely well during brightly lit sequences, but the black levels are really not so hot, turning many dimly lit interior scenes noticeably muddy. The occasional white speck crops up sporadically, but that's about it in terms of major detritus. Image Transfer Grade: B- Audio Transfer DS 2.0 Language: English Remote Access: yes Audio Transfer Review: While far from being a showcase for your home theater, the 2.0 surround presentation is nicely put together, preserving the series in a mix that delivers a generally clean blend of dialogue. It's not altogether perfect, however, with the only real weak spots occurring during some of the more action packed sequences, in which case dialogue tends to get buried slightly. Rear channels get used more frequently than I would have expected, and I always take that as a plus. Audio Transfer Grade: B Disc Extras Full Motion menu with music Scene Access with 92 cues and remote access Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access 1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Knight Rider 1 Featurette(s) 1 Feature commentary by Tracy Torme, Robert K. Weiss Packaging: other Picture Disc 6 Discs 6-Sided disc(s) Layers: single Extra Extras: Photo gallery Extras Review: Let's start with the spiffy if impractical packaging from Universal on this release. The six discs appear to hover in the clear plastic case, but in reality they're stuck in a bit of grey foam. It's an eye-catching presentation, though I experienced some problems getting some of the discs out without doing a some crazy gyrations to not smudge or scratch them. There's actually not much here in terms of extras, which is a shame considering the fanbase of the series, with Disc 1 containing a commentary track from co-creators Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss on the two-hour pilot episode. They promise to deliver the "inside stories of what went down", and in between singing the theme to Petticoat Junction, we're informed about their demo reels, finding doubles, shooting in Vancouver, and most pleasing, the small inside jokes sprinkled throughout the series. Torme and Weiss have a casual rapport, and even with a few silent gaps, this is easy, enjoyable track. A brief featurette entitled The Making of Sliders (14m:09s) shows up on Disc 6, and sports comments from Torme, Weiss, Jerry O'Connell, and Cleavant Derricks, sandwiched in between clips from the show. This woefully short piece gives a neat snapshot of the show's origins, and how Torme once read that George Washington was almost shot dead prior to the American Revolution. Disc 6 also contains a brief photo gallery. Each ep is cut into four chapters (including the double-length pilot), with optional subtitles in English, French, or Spanish. Extras Grade: C- Final Comments You can forget the subsequent seasons of Sliders when the show began to tank, cast members left, and ultimately nothing was left but the name. These first two seasons are a treat, representing the zenith of the series, and though ripe with minor inconsistencies and the general limitations of episodic network television, still make for the kind of inventive programming that wasn't constrained by the usual doses of hackneyed predictability. Recommended.
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**23 August 2004
Source: Sliders Dual-Dimension Edition The First and Second Seasons DVDTown.com, by Hock Guan Teh
In the annals of science fiction television shows, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek series is by far the most dominant group of shows to date. No other series has had the same staying power or the big fan base like the Trek franchise. Likewise, space travel and alien encounters are the major premises used in a majority of television’s finest sci-fi shows. Space is after all, the only frontier left for mankind to explore. Another popular theme in the television science fiction genre is time travel or trans-dimensional travel. However, when it comes to storytelling, time travel is always a tricky endeavor to undertake. Trying to keep stories straight across the various time periods--an unexpected outcome in one period usually affects the other--can become confusing and hard to reconcile. This is the reason why time travel stories are never my favorites. Which brings us to the TV sci-fi series “Sliders”, which is still one of my favorite television shows--sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. First off, it is not a show about time travel and that, believe me, is a good thing. Second, many comparisons have been made between this show and the Scott Bakula-helmed favorite “Quantum Leap” but I beg to differ. Concept-wise, both shows have certain similarities but each is unique in its own way. I actually like both shows. While “Quantum Leap” has its protagonist “leap” into the bodies of certain characters each week to try and fix situations, “Sliders” has its four main characters “slide” from one parallel universe to another, encountering myriad versions of San Francisco and to a much larger respect, the entire world. Co-created by Robert K. Weiss and Tracy Tormé, “Sliders” made its debut in March 1995 and ran for a total of five seasons, ending in 2000. Debuting in a time slot preceding the popular paranormal series “The X-Files”, “Sliders” had the highest rated premiere of any show in 1995. Weiss’ previous movie credits include many slapstick comedies like the “Naked Gun” series while Tormé had stints as a writer on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and also on the underrated alien abduction movie “Fire in the Sky”. Like all television shows in general, “Sliders” sets up the initial conditions and situations for the four main characters’ journey into the unknown in the pilot episode, which runs for the length of a double episode. Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) is a brilliant physics student living in San Francisco. In his basement, Quinn, who has been experimenting with some advanced physics theorem, accidentally opens a portal that enables those who enter it to “slide” to different dimensions--essentially parallel universes in the same time and same place but with vastly different realities. Using a handheld timer device that controls the activation of the portal, Quinn is able to manually set how long he intends to spend in the next parallel world. What he can’t control is which universe to “slide” to. Quinn’s first experimental “slide” into an alternate San Francisco, although did not seem very much different from his current world, did contain certain subtle differences that give the audience a first taste of the infinite scenarios that are possible on the show. In his first “sliding” experience, Quinn lands in a world where Elvis and JFK are still alive and his widowed mother is married to their (horrors!) gardener. The morning after his first “slide”, Quinn finds himself greeted with contempt and surprise from those who know him, especially his physics professor, the equally brilliant Arturo Maximillian (Jonathan Rhys-Davis) and his co-worker and secret admirer Wade Wells (Sabrina Lloyd). Apparently Quinn, or someone that looks like him anyway, turned up for class and mocked the professor’s theories and later showed up for work and told off the boss, resulting in him getting fired. Flustered, Quinn returns to his basement and finds an alternate version of himself waiting for him! This “other” Quinn, we come to conclude, is from another parallel world and he explains to Quinn about the potential of what he has just accidentally invented. However, before the “other” Quinn could warn this Quinn about the important dos and don’ts about “sliding”, he disappears into the vortex. Learning this new revelation of the so-called “gateway” to parallel universes, Quinn requests that Wade and the professor come meet him in his basement in order to explain his previous behavior. Inviting them to go for a “slide” with him, Quinn mistakenly increases the power of the portal in order to accommodate all three of them. Due to its increased power, the vortex moves out of his basement and accidentally sucks in a washed out R&B singer, Rembrandt “Crying Man” Brown (Cleavant Derricks), who is on his way to revive his career by singing the national anthem at a baseball game at Candlestick. Landing in a world undergoing a nuclear winter, the foursome desperately tries to get home. However, Quinn had set the timer for their journey to five hours and they are not supposed to “slide” home before that. Remember this point because it is a critical plot for the show. But with a tornado heading fast in their direction, Quinn has no choice but to activate the “gateway” to escape certain death and enable them to “slide” home. Or what seems like home. You see, by activating the device before the timer is up, instead of “sliding” home to their own parallel universe, they now have no control over where they land. Which means that the chance of getting home is one in however many parallel universes there are, which can be infinite. And so the long journey home starts. Without a doubt, the concept for “Sliders” is inherently brilliant. With the notion of traveling to alternate realities, the writers for the show have an immense palette from which to extract their ideas. Just about anything is possible. What if the old Soviet Union won the cold war and the Red Empire governs America? What if a virus wiped out most of the human male population and any remaining ones are now used as “breeders” to repopulate the planet? What if women now hold positions of power and Hillary Clinton was President instead of Bill? What if penicillin was never invented and the world is plagued by an epidemic that threatens to kill millions? What is, ala “Escape From New York”, the entire city of San Francisco is a maximum-security prison? As you can see, the possibilities are endless. And that is the beauty of “Sliders”. You just never know what the next episode might bring. While the performances of the four main cast are better than average, I do find issue with many of the supporting extras that appear in certain episodes. Some of them are extremely horrible; even beyond overacting and making “Sliders” seem like a cheesy, low budget television show--which it is not. Jerry O’Connell, believe it or not, made his movie debut in the excellent “Stand By Me” as Vern, who is affectionately known as “that fat kid”. Currently, O’Connell has a semi-permanent recurring role in the series medical examiner “Crossing Jordan”. As for Jonathan Rhys-Davis, he needs no introduction. Rhys-Davis has had supporting roles in so many movies including blockbusters like “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” that it makes me wonder why he chose to take on a television series. Although Sabrina Lloyd does not have an extensive resume like Rhys-Davis, she has appeared in two of my favorite TV shows, “Sliders” and the highly underrated “Sports Night”. The first season of the show consists of ten episodes while the second season contains thirteen episodes. Unlike Universal’s earlier release of “Northern Exposure: The First Season”, which was only limited to a measly eight episodes (and carries a whopping SRP of $59.99), I am glad that the first two seasons (with all twenty-three episodes) of “Sliders” are included on this DVD set and in the correct broadcast order. Disc 1: “Pilot”, “Fever”, “Last Days” Disc 2: “The Prince of Wails”, “Summer of Love”, “Eggheads”, “The Weaker Sex” Disc 3: “The King is Back”, “Luck of the Draw”, “Into the Mystic”, “Love Gods” Disc 4: “Gillian of the Spirits”, “The Good, The Bad and the Wealthy”, “El Sid”, “Time Again and World” Disc 5: “In Dino Veritas”, “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”, “Obsession”, “Greatfellas” Disc 6: “The Young and the Relentless”, “Invasion”, “As Time Goes By” Video: Frankly, I was expecting “Sliders” to look much better than what is presented here just because of the fact that the series is really not that old and I have seen older television shows that look much better. Colors are generally muted and uninspiring to watch and the fullscreen images are a tad soft. The blacks are not true and deep but instead contain a bluish hue. Overall, it is a disappointment in this department. Subtitle options include English, French and Spanish. Audio: Luckily, the audio quality fares a little better than the video but by not much. While the English language Dolby Surround 2.0 audio is a step up from your usual run-of-the-mill broadcast audio, it is still not up to par with the audio effects that usually accompany television sci-fi shows that have found a home on DVD (“Star Trek: The Next Generation” comes to mind). The rear channels are seldom used but the subwoofer does add something to the mix every once in a while. Other than that small complaint, the dialogue portion of the audio is crystal clear, without any distortion or hiss. Extras: Again, another disappointment. The only special features included on this 6-disc set is one audio commentary on the pilot episode with Weiss and Tormé, a behind-the-scenes featurette and a photo gallery. Yup, that’s it. The audio commentary is on Disc 1 while the other two extras can be found on Disc 6. The only bright spot here is the audio commentary, which is very informative and one which fans of the show will definitely appreciate. One trivial but interesting nugget revealed by Weiss and Tormé is that the voice of the radio DJ that plays in the opening scene of the pilot episode is none other than that of Harry Shearer, the voice of many characters on "The Simpsons" and also the star of many comedies including “This is Spinal Tap”. The almost 15-minute long featurette titled “The Making of Sliders” is only mildly interesting and features interviews with Weiss, Tormé and some of the stars of the series. Finally, the “Photo Gallery” extra is a slideshow with photos from the show. Packaging: The packaging of this “Sliders” DVD set is nothing short of unique. Instead of the usual method of using trays to hold the DVDs in place, the discs in this set are held in place by a thick piece of soft foam with six thin slots cut into it (one for each disc). When pictures of the packaging first circulated months ago, many people were dumbfounded when they saw what appeared to be “floating” discs in a clear case. So now you know. LOL. Incidentally, one other release that I know of that used foam to hold the DVD in place is the special edition of the movie “Basic Instinct” that comes with a gift pen that is shaped like an ice pick. That was nice but this “Sliders” packaging is way cooler! However, the drawback for this type of packaging is that the discs in the middle of the pack can be a little hard to get to, due to the close proximity of each DVD. Nimble fingers are needed. Other than that, it is a cool packaging and great for displaying on your shelf. Film Value: I am a sucker for sci-fi shows and even though “Sliders” does not feature menacing space aliens or faster-than-light space travel, it is still one of the better network television shows to have come out in a long time. Unlike many TV shows that struggle in its first season, “Sliders” is off and running from the start, producing some of its better episodes in its first two seasons. I highly recommend this DVD set based on two factors. First, the concept of the show is unique and let’s face it, Sabrina Lloyd is a cutie. Secondly, instead of a single season, you get two seasons of the show in one cool-looking and cost-saving DVD package. Hock Guan Teh rates this DVD as follows: Video: 5/10 Audio: 6/10 Extras: 4/10 Film value: 7/10
- Thanks to Blinker for this article.
Sliders: Season One and Two A much-missed sci-fi series gets its due on DVD.
The brainchild of Tracy Torme (writer of Fire in the Sky) and comedy producer Robert K. Weiss (the Naked Gun series), Sliders follows the adventures of Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell), a brilliant young physicist who in his quest to discover a practical method for anti-gravity opens a portal to alternate dimensions. Each week takes him and his companions to new worlds with only the slightest differences from our own.
Sound familiar? The show borrowed heavily from Quantum Leap, Back
to the Future and even Stargate. And while not quite as
successful as any of those projects, Sliders still holds up
fairly well today. Quinn is joined by his stuffy college professor,
Maximillian Arturo (John Rhyes-Davies of Lord
of the Rings) as well as a former co-worker, Wade Welles (the
ever-adorable Sabrina Lloyd, who went on to better scripts a few years
later with Sports Night).
The fourth unlikely addition is an R&B singer, Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks), who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As he doesn't really know the other characters or have anything to do with the science usually involved with saving them, he tends to wander off and explore quite a bit, allowing the audience to take in the new worlds without diminishing the momentum of the activities of Quinn and Arturo.
What distinguishes the show is also unfortunately what never allows it to really succeed, which is that the twist of each world is so obvious it usually borders on silly. Quinn's first leap is into a world where Elvis is alive, green lights mean stop and Earth is plagued by global cooling.
A subsequent leap into a world ruled by Communism is plagued by stereotypes and misinformation. Compared to a show like Quantum Leap, where each alternate world was handled with a degree of maturity and accuracy, Sliders is a bit of a letdown.
But if you can let yourself get lost in the characters the show is a fun ride. This set collects seasons 1 and 2, which total 22 episodes and include:
Disc 1: Pilot, Fever, Last Days
Disc 2: The Prince of Wails, Summer of Love, Eggheads, The Weaker Sex
Disc 3: The King is Back, Luck of the Draw, The Mystic, Love Gods
Disc 4: Gillian of the Spirits, The Good, The Bad and the Wealthy, El Sid, Time and Again World
Disc 5: In Dino Veritas, Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome, Obsession, Greatfellahs
Disc 6: The Young and the Relentless, Invasion, As Time Goes By
Although there's no particular rhyme or reason to the worlds they leap... er, slide to, the four invariably find themselves in situations where freedom or life is jeopardized and in the course of their stay, they usually end up either saving the world or giving people newfound hope. Some of these alternate perspectives are interesting, others are far too heavy-handed to take seriously. The subjects tackled just aren't handled with enough depth to really work most of the time.
Rhyes-Davies and Lloyd jumped ship during the third season of the show, with O'Connell shifting his focus behind the camera, ultimately quitting two years later. The show was dragged on its last legs with hokey subplots and a Quinn replacement on the Sci-Fi channel before being cancelled in 2000. But this set is without doubt the series in its prime.
Fans of the series will really enjoy this set. It hasn't aged incredibly well when held up to other shows of the time, even similar fare like Quantum Leap, but these episodes are definitely the best of the bunch. To those who haven't experienced Sliders before, I'm hesitant to recommend the set as I think nostalgia has a lot to do with its effectiveness. There are better sets to experience out there first. But those who were dedicated enough to follow the show to the Sci-Fi channel will find exactly what they're looking for here.
Score: 6 out of 10
The transfer for Sliders is pretty weak, but nothing shocking for a TV show that's been off the air for a few years. I noticed a bit of artifacting in darker scenes and some faint edge enhancement. Detail is pretty lacking and colors are muted, giving everything a shady, dirty sort of look. Ultimately it's a less-than-average transfer. I wouldn't let it necessarily stop you from picking this set up, but it's nothing to show off your setup with either.
Score: 4 out of 10
The show is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 with subtitles in English, French and Spanish. For a two-channel mix, the audio fares pretty well. Dialogue is strong and both sound effects and music are full without overtaking the dialogue. Directional audio is made decent use of and all in all, this is a very solid stereo mix.
Score: 6 out of 10
Sliders comes in boxy, somewhat garish packaging similar to that of the Highlander TV series. Each disc is held separately in a brick of foam at the center of a box split between reflective cardboard and clear plastic.
The extras are pretty light on this release. There's a commentary from creators Weiss and Torme. Both men are informative and play off each other well. It's one of the more engaging television commentaries I've heard.
Disc six also holds a featurette on the show with the creators as well as O'Connell and Derricks reflecting on the show. It's a shame Rhyes-Davies and Lloyd didn't choose to participate, but all involved are bluntly honest. They talk about what worked in the show and what really flopped, and Derricks admits that when Rhyes-Davies quit it was essentially the beginning of the end.
Lastly there's a photo gallery, which is unfortunately sort of annoying because rather than the standard slideshow fare, the photos are twisted and zoomed in on amid clips of the slide portal, so you never really get a good look at them. On the whole, the extras that are here surprised me because they're a bit more revealing and interesting than that of most TV collections, but there's still just one commentary and a fifteen-minute featurette over six discs.
Score: 3 out of 10
**15 September 2004
Source: Sliders - The First and Second Seasons GamingIllustrated.com, by Sean Gibson
SYNOPSIS: Sliders was an ultra-cool science fiction show that developed a strongly rooted cult following during its run in the mid 1990s. The show had a nice premise - a student genius had discovered a wormhole, in fact, an infinite number of wormholes, and gotten himself and three others sucked in and have them bouncing from parallel universe to parallel universe in hopes of coming home. Staring Jerry O'Connell and John Rhys-Davies, Sliders is remembered as a fun, action-packed science fiction series that never got the notoriety it truly deserved. EXTRAS There are several special features in the set: • Audio Commentary with Co-Creators/Writers Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss • Featurette and Photo Gallery Unfortunately there aren't many extras to gain insight into the show ... although the featurette was pretty good ... but there's just a few extras missing that we're using to seeing on major television series DVD releases. ENTERTAINMENT VALUE For those of you that were like me and actually tuned into the show, you will be very excited for this television series release on DVD. The show was edgy, creative, and fun to watch, and the acting of O'Connell and Rhys-Davies definitely carried the show. It was great to see what wacky dimension they would end up in next, and how they would personally grow from each experience. We always knew they'd never get home, because if they did ... well ... there'd be no show now would there? All in all, the first two seasons of Sliders were very entertaining, and for those of you who completely missed the show when it originally aired, it comes highly recommended if you like science fiction adventure. LASTING FACTOR Television shows are great to have on DVD, as you can watch them over and over when you want (assuming there's a satisfactory level of entertainment) instead of catching them re-run on various cable network television channels. Sliders is one of those shows I felt was very underrated during its run, and with this DVD release could gain some new following. For fans of the series, it's a keeper and gets a good score for lasting factor. AUDIO / VIDEO QUALITY I suppose the series was never mastered in stereo surround sound, as this DVD release is release with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, so it definitely will not be something that will impress people when it comes to the auditory experience. The video does seem to have been remastered fairly well and gives a great experience for the eyes. ORIGINALITY & OVERALL IMPRESSIONS Although the series will always and forever be compared to the show it has a close premise to, Quantum Leap, Slides was a much more exciting, edgy, and fun show to watch. The 21 episodes in this set are really fun to watch, and it's very creative how the writers would come up with parallel universe that answered the "what if" questions - like, what if the United States was still under British rule, and what if Dinosaurs still roamed the Earth ... in national parks. Highly creative and original material was the crux of Sliders success. Overall, this collection of the first and second season (21 episodes for 17 hours of entertainment) is a very solid DVD set for your collection and comes highly recommended for those of you who remember watching the show, and is recommended for a rent for the ones that missed it the first time. FINAL SCORE Sliders: Seasons One & Two (DVD) - Final Ratings ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 9/10 LASTING FACTOR: 8/10 EXTRAS: 7/10 AUDIO/VIDEO QUALITY: 8/10 ORIGINALITY: 10/10 AVERAGE RATING: 8.4/10 OVERALL SCORE: 84% How strong is this DVD's hand? A Firm Grasp! Final Word: An underrated and solid series for DVD lovers.
- Special Thanks to Blinker for this article.
**18 September 2004
Source: Sliders - The Complete First & Second Seasons UpcomingDiscs.com, by Stanley Koodoo
While Sliders may not rank in the upper echelon of sci-fi/fantasy series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or its predecessor Quantum Leap, it is a very watchable show with endearing characters and witty writing at times. Quinn (Jerry O'Connell), a brainy San Francisco physics student, has perfected a device – in his mom's basement, no less – that opens up a temporary wormhole between alternate Earths. By leaping into the wormhole, one can "slide" between worlds; but of course there's a catch, which is the foundation of the show's appeal. It seems there's no way to return back from whence you came, so Quinn, along with his college professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies), Wade (Sabrina Lloyd), and, through an odd turn of events, fading R&B singer Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown (Cleavant Derricks), are left to slide from alternate world to alternate world each week, finding themselves in some very strange places trying to find their way home. Each episode finds our heroes exploring alternate realities - What if the Americans lost to the British during in 1776, what if the atomic bomb was never invented, what if modern medicine never discovered penicillin—those are some of the scenarios Quinn, Arturo, Wade, and Crying Man find themselves in; once you get past the all too convenient plot reliance on having one of the main characters just happening to be a key character in the alternate world (or one of their friends), you can focus on the fact that the writing is generally a whole lot smarter than most if the sci-fi series out there. One of the show's real strengths is Rhys-Davies, who, whether as the good natured turban wearing Sullah (from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) or as an axe-wielding Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, shows here that he has the right amount of frustrated, deep-voiced pomposity that keeps the motley crew together. O'Connell is genuinely likeable, Lloyd is entertaining, and Derricks' Crying Man Brown may get all the belly laughs, but Rhys-Davies has a delivery that gives the show something approaching legitimacy, if for nothing other than his booming and distinctive speaking voice, which makes even the most tired exasperation sound engaging. While Sliders did “borrow” quite a bit from <i>Quantum Leap</i>, the mix of characters and generally better than average special effects for a television show made this series very enjoyable. Video: Sliders is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Colors are fairly bright, and the transfers hold up extremely well during brightly lit sequences, but the black levels do not share the same quality, turning many dimly lit interior scenes noticeably muddy. The skin tones are well reproduced and the image quality is relatively sharp. Audio: Sliders is presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital surround. The dialogue comes through clearly for most scenes, but during the heavy action scenes sometimes it may sound lost in the mix. There is a decent dynamic range considering this was filmed in the mid 90’s. Your bass will get a mild work out. Special Features: There's actually not much here in terms of extras, which is a shame considering the fanbase of the series, with Disc 1 containing a commentary track from co-creators Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss on the two-hour pilot episode. They promise to deliver the "inside stories of what went down", and in between singing the theme to Petticoat Junction, we're informed about their demo reels, finding doubles, shooting in Vancouver, and most pleasing, the small inside jokes sprinkled throughout the series. Torme and Weiss have a casual rapport, and even with a few silent gaps, this is easy, enjoyable track. A brief featurette entitled “The Making of Sliders” shows up on Disc 6, and sports comments from Torme, Weiss, Jerry O'Connell, and Cleavant Derricks, sandwiched in between clips from the show. This short piece gives a neat snapshot of the show's origins, and how Torme once read that George Washington was almost shot dead prior to the American Revolution. Disc 6 also contains a brief photo gallery. Final Thoughts: The Sliders DVD set is well done although it’s a little light on the extras. I would recommend it for those who are fans of the series as well as those who have never watched the series before. As in just about everything else that he is in John Rhys-Davies steals every scene that he is in, and luckily he is in a lot of scenes in this better than average series. Ratings: Overall: 3.5 / 5 Film: 4 / 5 Video: 3 / 5 Audio: 3 / 5 Extras: 3 / 5 Menus: 3 / 5
- Special Thanks to Blinker for this article
Source: Sliders: The First & Second Seasons (1995-6) NeedCoffee.com
Film: ***1/2 out of ***** DVD: *** out of ***** My Advice: Fans should own. Quinn Mallory is a college student who's a bit of a freaking genius. In trying to great an anti-gravity device, he screwed up and found a way to open a wormhole into an alternate dimension instead. After going to a place in which red means go and green means stop (and his mom is married to the gardener), he convinces his friend Wade (Lloyd) and his professor Arturo (Rhys-Davies) to accompany him for a true test of the device. However, he screws up and throws too much power at the thing, sucking in a musician, Rembrandt (Derricks), who happened to be driving by. They're going to screw up again, though, and get stuck sliding from dimension to dimension trying to find where they started. I think I've referred to this elsewhere as Team Quantum Leap, but yes, there are differences. Instead of one guy "leaping" into somebody else's body at some point in time, you've got four characters "sliding" into some other reality at the same time. The series has its moments and some cool ideas to carry it along, though as it went into the second season they began to make mistakes, such as the Kromaggs, which are basically Voyager-level villains. Imagine the Horde from Strikeforce: Morituri but much less interesting. As a result, you start to put together some kind of metaplot and that starts to get more and more whacked as time goes on. Acting-wise, O'Connell plays the grown-up kid genius well and Rhys-Davies is...well, Rhys-Davies. He seems nice but he'll call down the thunder on your ass in a heartbeat--gotta love that. Derrick is there to play the everyman character, the guy who doesn't have a prayer of affecting the circumstances of his situation, but trying to soldier on regardless. Lloyd does well in her role, and gratefully she's an example of the modern sci-fi heroine...she's not bashful about walking up to the enemy and kicking them in the family jewels. So the cast is strong enough to support the material. Universal deserves some credit for releasing both first seasons (which were both short) as a single set, as opposed to stretching it out and playing with fan's minds. However, the box itself makes much of the fact that the six discs are "floating" seated in foam. While this is neat for the first three seconds or so, I would have been grateful for an honest to God tray to reseat the discs in. Granted, I tried to jar the discs loose "by accident" and couldn't do so, but hell, it just makes me nervous. The primary bonus bit on this set is the audio commentary with the creators Tormé and Weiss. They goof off a bunch--and point out when the effect suck--but there's still some nice tidbits on here, like pointing out the other folks that auditioned for Arturo, and pointing out the scene in which Rhys-Davies insisted on doing his own stunt and cracked his head open. They also talk about what went into conceiving of the show and getting it made. So there's some goodness to be had. The retrospective featurette talks with both Weiss and Tormé (a bit of overlap with the commentary comes in) along with O'Connell and Derricks. There's some smoke-blowing to be sure, but there's also some honest talk about the show: namely, how lame the Kromaggs were and also how Rhys-Davies eventually leaving was the beginning of the end, at least in Derricks' opinion. The only other feature is a stills gallery, which is regrettably short and also regrettably set against the wormhole effect, so it's hard on the eyes. Basically, this is a set for the fans. Non-believers might want to rent it to see what the fuss is about, and sci-fi completists who haven't caught it yet will want to, but the fans are going to want to own this thing to get as much of their series as they can.
- Special Thanks to Blinker for this article
Source: Review of: Sliders: The Complete First and Second Seasons DVDAuthority.com, by Matt Brighton
Story "Sliders" was somewhat of a cult classic when it first aired. I remember watching episodes on the USA Network (if memory serves) and though it never really found the mainstream success that the Producers were looking for, it had (and still has) a niche. Science-Fiction television series are such that there will always be a group of people, and we can probably guess what that group is, that are drawn to it. Let's face it, Science-Fiction forces us to use our minds unlike most of television. We have to suspend our disbelief and accept that the unexplained will happen. Can we travel at Warp 10? Can we jump through a wormhole and end up in a parallel universe? Probably not. But it's fun to watch on TV and thus, very enjoyable. The star of "Sliders" was Jerry O'Connell, best know for his work in "Stand by Me" as Vern and as the football star in "Jerry McGuire". O'Connell, along with his supporting cast made for pretty good entertainment and "Sliders" became somewhat of a modest success. But first, what's the show all about? We begin when we meet Quinn Mallory, a grad student in Physics who is working on an anti-gravity device. He mistakenly discovers a way to open up a portal to alternate dimensions, another Earth. The closest comparison I could draw is like Bizarro world in the "Superman" comics. Everything's the same, but just a bit different. He decides to try out the device and, after a successful trip, invites his Physics professor (John Rhys-Davies) and friend (Sabrina Lloyd) to try it out. Naturally, things don't go according to plan and the three, plus a has been singer (Cleavant Derricks) end up getting pulled in and are therefore "trapped" in countless alternate Earth's. Their search is to end up back home, though each and every Earth has the basic elements of it. The concept for the show is actually quite intriguing and it's therefore very easy to get sucked in (no pun intended) to the show. While a bit corny and clichéd at times, I was thrilled to add "Sliders" to my collection. To the fans of the show, I'm preaching to the choir, I know. Audio As expected, "Sliders" comes equipped with a Dolby Surround mix. I'd have preferred a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but this certainly suffices. Dialogue is clean and natural and though there aren't a lot of ambient effects to be found, I noticed the rear speakers kick in from time to time. There's not a lot else that can be said about the audio - the show is about ten years old and was produced on a modest budget. The audio doesn't seem dated, but it's cetainly not the best out there either. Video "Sliders" is shown in the broadcast ratio of 4:3. Colors are generally sharp and on the money, though in some of the scenes I noticed some jagginess to the picture. This is common in non 16:9 transfers, especially those in the television medium. There seems to have been a bit of dirt on the print, but nothing too bad. The episodes look better than when they originaly aired and it's a testament to DVD (once again) that the format can generally improve on everything we've seen. A nice transfer and one that exceeded my expectations. Extras Maybe all of the money was used on the packaging (a very unique 3-D effect of layered discs), but the extras are surprisingly sparce. There is a commentary on the pilot episode and fans of the show will certainly want to listen to it. It contains some little know facts about the locations, dates, etc. I'm always interested to learn of the inside jokes that are shown in TV and film. Next up is a 15 minute "Making of Sliders" with interviews with two of the stars of the show. Not a whole lot of information is learned here, but it's nice to have. Unfortunately the other half of the cast seems to be MIA. A photo gallery is also included. On the whole, it's nice to have this little-known show from the mid-90's on DVD. While the price is a bit steep, bear in mind you're getting two seasons as opposed to one, so if that helps any... Video 3.5 / 5 Audio 3.0 / 5 Extras 1.5 / 5 Overall 3.0 / 5
- Special Thanks to Blinker for this article
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An enjoyable sci-fi show that unfortunately never really lived up to its potential.