Marc Scott Zicree, Writer/Producer for Sliders,  on June 16, 1998

Moderator: we'll go moderated...

Phil: hi marc

Moderator: welcome Marc...can you speak?

MarcScottZicree: yes

MarcScottZicree: I'm glad to be here, and I'm glad that the new episodes of sliders are finally airing.

MarcScottZicree: It's been worth the wait, I think.

Moderator: Great! Would you like to introduce yourself a little? Tell these people what you've been doing lately?

MarcScottZicree: I sold my first short story when I was 19 years old, while I was attending the Clarion SF workshop, the leading SF writing workshop in the country.

MarcScottZicree: I started writing the Twlight Zone companion when I was 22 and it came out when I was 27.

MarcScottZicree: By then, I was writing TV full-time.

MarcScottZicree: I started writing animation, for such shows as the Smurfs, and Superfriends.

MarcScottZicree: And very quickly moved over to live action, writing for the New Twlight Zone, and Star Trek, etc.

MarcScottZicree: This past season, I did Sliders and sold some DS9, and I've also been working on Animorphs, a new series coming on Nickelodeon.

MarcScottZicree: I'm also writing a novel with Barbra Hambly, the Star Wars novelist.

Moderator: <Sandyjean> to <Moderator> Mr. Zicree, I read in a Starlog article that JRD and Sabrina have agreed to do some episodes. Is this true?

MarcScottZicree: I haven't heard that, and as far as I know we haven't got the pickup yet for the new season.

MarcScottZicree: But it would be great to have them guest star, I'd certainly welcome that.

Moderator: <Sandyjean> to <Moderator> Do you think there's a strong possibility of a fifth season? What about a movie?

MarcScottZicree: I certainly hope they'll be a fifth season. The new shows have been doing very well for Sci-Fi.

MarcScottZicree: As for movie, it's been talked about a little bit but it isn't on the front burner at this point.

Moderator: <Mike> to <Moderator> Will the plot line from The Other Slide of Darkness be expanded on.

MarcScottZicree: No, it hasn't been expanded on at this point.

Moderator: <ghost1998> to <Moderator> what graphics programs for you use to make sliders?

MarcScottZicree: We used Photoshop and a number of other programs.

MarcScottZicree: We also had some matte paintings done by Eric Chauvin, who does a lot of work for Star Wars and Babylon 5.

Moderator: <AfterShock> to <Moderator> Mr. Zicree, how long does it usually take to complete on episode of Sliders?

MarcScottZicree: (laughs)

MarcScottZicree: It takes several months. But the writing can go anywhere from a matter of days to a month or two, depending on how much time we have before we shoot that specific episode.

MarcScottZicree: Sometimes, they're a long time in formulating. And other times, they come very quickly.

MarcScottZicree: Slidecage, the 2nd episode I wrote, came to me almost instantly in terms of plot, and the writing went very quickly.

Moderator: <Scorchmon> to <Moderator> Will the sliders run into any old doubles such as Conrad Bennish or the taxi driver from the pilot?

MarcScottZicree: Not doubles from the pilot, but there are some characters from previous episodes they get to see again.

MarcScottZicree: However, the fact that we used to shoot in Canada but now shoot in California on the Universal lot means that we use a different pool of actors.

Moderator: <nolram> to <Moderator> What is the big diffence from this season than from the other seasons odf sliders?

MarcScottZicree: The biggest difference - for me - is that we were determined to go back to the show's science fiction roots and take them even further.

MarcScottZicree: I grew up reading SF and am a real fan of the genre. I thought that the alternate worlds were a fabulous premise and I really wanted to explore that.

Moderator: <Slider10> to <Moderator> Hi Mark, Love what you've done to our show!! Genesis rocks!! How about a Sliders movie??? We'd love one so we can compete with the X-Files!!!

MarcScottZicree: I'd love to do a Sliders movie. It would be fun to have that much money to play with.

MarcScottZicree: The challenge for the TV show was always to suggest an entire alternate world with a few, small number of rooms and with a few extras.

MarcScottZicree: So having the scale of a major film let's you do a lot of other things.

Moderator: <Informant> to <Moderator> In the episode "Into The Mystic" Quinn's gate was fixed. Now, on the world that they think is Earth Prime, it still squeeks. Which is the real EP?

MarcScottZicree: However, the fact that we're on a limited budget makes us focus on our main characters, which I think was very healthy.

MarcScottZicree: I think the gate, even if its repaired, can always dry out and start squeaking again!

MarcScottZicree: So it's Earth Prime if we say it's Earth Prime...we make it up as we go along. :)

MarcScottZicree: The other thing is, even the house that's been used as Quinn's house in the 4's a different house in some episodes.

MarcScottZicree: There's one in Canada, and in one of my episodes we were using a house in the back lot of universal.

MarcScottZicree: So that also affects the mix.

Moderator: <overko> to <Moderator> Mr. Zicree, should we expect any celebrity cameo's ? If so who ?

MarcScottZicree: Roy Dotrice, from Beauty and the Beast, is in one of our episodes.

MarcScottZicree: Adrienne Barbeau is in one...

MarcScottZicree: who else did we use...?

MarcScottZicree: Malcolm Jamal Warner also.

MarcScottZicree: And a few others that I'll let be a surprise.

Moderator: <Elimanator> to <Moderator> Where was the tracking device implanted in Quinn?

Moderator: For those of you who've just joined us...please send your questions for Mr. Zicree to the Moderator as a private message (/msg Moderator ...)

MarcScottZicree: We haven't been specific on that, deliberately so.

Moderator: <Quinx> to <Moderator> how do you feal about sliders fan fiction on the web?

MarcScottZicree: I'm in favor of it - I'm in favor of any creativity from anyone, although obviously I can't read it for legal reasons.

Moderator: <bravehert> to <Moderator> will they ever find wade?

MarcScottZicree: We'll see...if we get another season. I think it would be a very interesting story to have them find Wade.

MarcScottZicree: I think both Arturo and Wade were really good characters, and having our guys encounter them in the future would be really interesting.

Moderator: <HOBYMANofQ> to <Moderator> Hoe do the sliders get different clothes on each world? It's just like Gilligans Island.

MarcScottZicree: This is something that we also noticed when we started this season, and we took steps to explain that.

MarcScottZicree: One idea was that in each world Remy tries his ATM card on the theory that every now and then he'll hit paydirt.

MarcScottZicree: So in some episodes, we have him going on shopping sprees and soforth.

MarcScottZicree: It would be dull if they were always in the same jumpsuits.

Moderator: <Scorchmon> to <Moderator> Have any of the actors suggested ideas to the writers that have been included in the show?

MarcScottZicree: Yes. This season, Jerry O'Connell came up with an idea for an episode set in an alternate earth that has certain "wild west" elements.

Moderator: <nolram> to <Moderator> An obvious question...which was your favorite episode/ It does not have to be one you wrote your self.

MarcScottZicree: Chris Black did the script and it came out well. It's a wonderful episode.

MarcScottZicree: My favorite episode that I wrote was called "World Killer" and it had a duplicate of Quinn.

MarcScottZicree: Jerry did a great job playing the 2 versions of himself.

MarcScottZicree: My favorite episode written by some of the other guys...there's an episode called Lipschitz Live! written by Keith Damron that dealt with tabloid TV and is very funny.

MarcScottZicree: And Chris Black wrote an episode called "Slide By Wire" that deals with Maggie's grief over her husband's death, and I thought that was very well done too.

Moderator: <Informant> to <Moderator> will Maggie ever see a double of her husband, and fall in love again?

MarcScottZicree: Um...yes, the episode I just mentioned by Chris deals with that element.

MarcScottZicree: Interestingly enough, we wanted to do a story about Maggie and her husband and that was in my story, Slidecage.

MarcScottZicree: But there was so much in that episode going on, we felt it didn't give that story room enough to breathe.

MarcScottZicree: So Chris took that element and ran with it, and I thought he did a really good job.

Moderator: <Zampzon> to <Moderator> Now that we have two races terrorizing the different worlds will we ever see the two meet up?

MarcScottZicree: What other race are you refering to (aside from the Kromaggs)?

Moderator: <Dagmodian> to <Moderator> How many more episodes before we see Quinn's brother?

MarcScottZicree: Colin comes in in episode 6, called "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"

MarcScottZicree: So just 3 more weeks!

Moderator: <Dreadnaught> to <Moderator> Marc I really like the darkish side that Remy's character seems to have taken on (I can certainly understand why.) can we expect more of the same or is he going to resolve all of that anger and hate in the near future episodes?

MarcScottZicree: We do several episodes where Remy's working through his personal demons, including Slidecage, and an episode called Asylum that Bill Dial wrote, that's a romance.

MarcScottZicree: We worked in a lot of humor as well, a darker side and a lighter side, to make him a well-rounded character.

Moderator: <Katieb> to <Moderator> Will doubles of the hacker from Genesis ever appear?

MarcScottZicree: we haven't reused him at this point, but you never know what the future might bring.

Moderator: <shocker> to <Moderator> can u give out any details on the 'happy ending' this season has?

MarcScottZicree: It can be interpreted several different ways, and we play a lot with the expectations of where the season would end and where we'd want our characters to end up.

MarcScottZicree: We put in a lot of twists and turns to keep everyone guessing.

MarcScottZicree: Beyond that, I don't think I want to spoil the surprise.

Moderator: <rob1234> to <Moderator> Will the sliders ever be able to control what worlds they slide to.

MarcScottZicree: In certain episodes this season they do have that control,.

MarcScottZicree: We were careful to limit it, because the quality of never knowing where they'll go is part of the fun of the series.

MarcScottZicree: They could aim for Santa Monica and end up on "mars" - no literally, of course, but so to speak.

Moderator: <mab> to <Moderator> What happened to the fantasy trilogy you were putting together?

MarcScottZicree: I sold it to Harper Collins. It's called "Magic Time" and I'm currently writing the first book with Barbara Hambly.

MarcScottZicree: Also, Davis Entertainment - the company that did The Firm and Preditor - has optioned it, and we've pitched it to NBC as a series, so we're waiting to see what happens there.

Moderator: <Mike> to <Moderator> Is there any chance that differnt people will travel with the sliders for a few episodes.

MarcScottZicree: Yes, we also play with that too this season.

Moderator: For those of you who've just joined us...please send your questions for Mr. Zicree to the Moderator as a private message (/msg Moderator ...)

MarcScottZicree: Though, usually it's only for one episode that we'll bring someone along for a specific purpose.

MarcScottZicree: For example, in World Killer, Quinn's duplicate goes to one world.

MarcScottZicree: It's fun to see Quinn's duplicate react to his first slide - he's a lot more hot headed than the Quinn we know.

Moderator: <Katieb> to <Moderator> Do they find other sliders?

MarcScottZicree: Yes...they do find others who've had similar experiences.

MarcScottZicree: Also, of course, the Kromaggs are all sliders in their way because they've been exiled from their homeworld and are conquering alternate earths.

Moderator: <thacker> to <Moderator> how did you come up with the idea that if they miss the vortex after the timer ran down that they would be stuck on a world for 29 years?

MarcScottZicree: I just got here this season so I don't have that answer...

MarcScottZicree: I found it a very fun menace and we were able to utilize it well this season.

MarcScottZicree: Next week's episode, Virtual Slide, plays on that dilemma very expertly.

Moderator: <mobius13> to <Moderator> How did you get into Sliders (after it left Fox, I mean)?

MarcScottZicree: I'd just finished as a producer on Lazarus Man for TNT, and I met with David Peckinpah (the exec producer of Sliders) and we hit it off immediately.

MarcScottZicree: he decided then and there to bring me on as the "science fiction guy" and we were off and running.

MarcScottZicree: We all worked hard to make the show the best its ever been, and we're all truly greatful for the chance Sci-Fi has given us to dos.

MarcScottZicree: to do so.

Moderator: <lucy> to <Moderator> Do the kromaggs only come from one world?? If so why?? Shouldn't they exist on other worlds??

MarcScottZicree: Good and see. ;)

Moderator: <Servo56789> to <Moderator> Will we be seeing any "friendly" Kromaggs this season?

MarcScottZicree: Yes, we will, though in general the Kromaggs are fairly nasty - and that was deliberate. We want to keep them as strong adversaries.

Moderator: <Grey> to <Moderator> "Will the Kromaggs ever slide on-screen?"

MarcScottZicree: yes...there's an episode called Mother and Child where we see that.

MarcScottZicree: what we tried to do with the Kromagg stories is make them very different from each other.

MarcScottZicree: I think with every episode that deals with the Kromaggs we try to illustrate a different aspect of their personality and culture.

MarcScottZicree: We didn't want to do the same old Kromagg story again and again, it gets very repetative.

Moderator: <Katieb> to <Moderator> Will we see more alternate history worlds or will it mainly be Kromag territory?

MarcScottZicree: We only did 6 Kromagg episodes out of the 22, because we didn't want it to become "The Kromagg Show."

MarcScottZicree: Sliders has such enormous possibilty so we wanted to explore it as fully as possible.

Moderator: <Brett> to <Moderator> Marc, thanks for finding the time in your busy schedual to chat with us. I am sure a fifth season is going to happen (optimist here). My question is, I am curious, would you ever concider accepting fan's script ideas?

MarcScottZicree: It would have to be through an agent, just for legal reasons.

MarcScottZicree: But certainly fans have many great ideas. I started as a fan myself.

Moderator: <rob1234> to <Moderator> is Quinn and maggie going to fall in love, Like Quinn was with wade

MarcScottZicree: It's not going to be that simple. We play a lot of twists and turns in their relationship.

MarcScottZicree: We've worked very hard this year to make Maggie a more fully-grounded character, so she gets to laugh & cry, sing & dance...and also kick butt.

Moderator: <Slida> to <Moderator> HAve you guys thought of pairing Maggie with Remmie? they have a great friendship going at the moment :)

MarcScottZicree: We do a lot of that this season because they play off each other great.

MarcScottZicree: It's great fun to write the two characters playing off each other, and both the actors have a great chemistry.

MarcScottZicree: We did a lot with Remy this season and everything he did he was wonderful with.

MarcScottZicree: Same with Maggie - I think Kari got a bad rap last year because she wasn't given enough to do. This year, I think she shines, in many episodes.

Moderator: <seconstar> to <Moderator> Has it been easier to give Maggie a more developed character without Wade?

MarcScottZicree: The fact that Arturo and Wade were gone forced us to focus on the characters we still had, and expand them.

MarcScottZicree: I think it made Quinn a stronger character and certainly allowed us to explore Maggie more fully.

Moderator: <Alan-H1> to <Moderator> Are all of the eps for this season done?

MarcScottZicree: Yes. Which is unusual in TV to be done with the entire 22 before they air, but it allowed us room to grow and explore.

MarcScottZicree: I think we covered a lot of ground - there's tremendous variety in the eps this season.

Moderator: <Servo56789> to <Moderator> With all 22 eps done, what (if anything) is the crew working on now?

MarcScottZicree: Because we haven't gotten our pickup yet, a lot of them are on other TV shows.

MarcScottZicree: For instance, our assistant director Bob Williams worked on Mercy Point, a new SF show on UPN.

MarcScottZicree: A number of our crew are working on different shows at various studios.

Moderator: <Katieb> to <Moderator> Will we see more of the weapon showed in Common Ground?

MarcScottZicree: We'll see a varient of it, but used to a different purpose.

Moderator: <ghost1998> to <Moderator> is there any other ways to contact yo other then this?

MarcScottZicree:, but I should say that I've been really flooded with e-mails since the debut of the new shows, so it may take me a while to get back to anyone.

MarcScottZicree: I should caution everyone that I can't read any story ideas, so don't send them.

Moderator: <maddog> to <Moderator> doesn't the timer they are using have Earth Prime's COORD ? Why do they behave as though they can't return to EP ?

Moderator: last few questions please...

MarcScottZicree: They're no longer trying to get to EP. They're trying to get to the world that Quinn and Colin originally came from, the Kromagg homeworld, and they DON'T have those coordinates.

Moderator: <Scorchmon> to <Moderator> Are you constantly studying scientific books and magazines when writing an episode to make sure that all scientific aspects are correct?

MarcScottZicree: (laughs)

MarcScottZicree: We _tried_ to be scientifically plausaible if possible - and there was one point where I actually contacted the Star Trek techincal staff for physics about alternate worlds and such, because at that point I was also dealing with them on my DS9 episode.

MarcScottZicree: I should add that Mike Okuda, who's in charge of technical issues for Trek, is a big Sliders fan.

Moderator: <Mike> to <Moderator> Will any of the unresolved plot lines from the first three seasons be explained this year.

MarcScottZicree: Some of them, but that wasn't our main priority.

MarcScottZicree: The main plotline that we're following is Quinn trying to find his parents, his home, and how to save Earth and locate Wade.

MarcScottZicree: So we set up a number of dilemmas that he has to pursue.

Moderator: <ramirez> to <Moderator> How difficult (if at all) was it to write Colin into the story (his character)?

MarcScottZicree: It was a challenge because we didn't want to just have 2 Quinns, so our main task was coming up with a personality and backstory for C that was different from Q.

MarcScottZicree: We came up with a number alternatives, and finally we came up with C coming from a farm world - in house, we called it "Amish World"

MarcScottZicree: And when we heard that, we new it was a great idea and we could run with it.

MarcScottZicree: Additionally, the template we used for Colin was Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes To Town - a man who is innocent, but very smart.

Moderator: <PlazGirl> to <Moderator> In the Kromagg-related episodes of the new season we see the Kromaggs in Nazi-like jumpsuits, was this intentional?

MarcScottZicree: There's a certain nazi element to the Kromaggs, but they're not Nazis. They're fascists, essentially.

MarcScottZicree: But that was the look we went for, and I think it works.

Moderator: <Informant> to <Moderator> why did other countries get this season before the US?

MarcScottZicree: It may have been that the rerun season in America is very specifically the summer..

MarcScottZicree: so they probably held back the new episodes here while other networks are running old episodes.

MarcScottZicree: And I'm very glad they did, because it allowed Sliders to get the highest rating of any series that's ever been on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Moderator: Many thanks for coming and chatting with us, Mr. Zicree. Any final words for the fans before i un-moderate the the room?

MarcScottZicree: I think we all want Sliders to be on the Sci-Fi Channel for many many years.

MarcScottZicree: I just want to thank everyone for their loyalty to Sliders and it was really fun working on such a great show.

Moderator: Everyone be sure to visit the special online-only sliders content at Visit each episode guide page for each new season episodes in order to "slide" into each week's world.

Moderator: We'll now go un-moderated.

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