The uninhabited world they’d left Maggie’s people on was inhabited after all — by dinosaurs. Having run out of suitable victims, Rickman returns to his base where he knows everyone is a match. The four pursue and discover that all is not well. A hungry T-Rex has scattered the soldiers and no one is safe. While chasing Rickman, Quinn and Maggie are pinned down by the dinosaur. With the help of Malcolm, Rembrandt and Wade distract the dinosaur while the others make their escape. They decide the dinosaur must be stopped, so they devise a screwy plan to blow its head off. The main thrust fails, but improvisation does the trick. Rickman returns and attempts to use Malcolm as leverage to obtain the Sliders’ timer, but the stalemate continues.
The classical architecture and nomadic nature of this world’s inhabitants suggests a medieval society with a class of rootless travelers.
Maggie and Quinn pick this world for where the natives are restless and dinosaurs roam the plains for settlement. Quinn remarks that this world is a few hundred thousand years behind Earth Prime and Pulsar Prime.
The native people of this world (seen dancing around a bonfire in The Exodus, part II) were unfortunately wiped out by the natural bacteria that the settlers brought with them through the vortex. As Gretchen says, “a common flu virus went through them like wildfire.” All natives in this area were killed because they wouldn’t let themselves be inoculated against the germs. Why? The native’s superstition, a superstition that also made them worship the dinosaurs (of the Allosaurs and Tyrannosaurus Rex variety) and make animal sacrifices to them in hopes they would be spared.
As the animals the natives used ran out, they asked the settlers for more — however the settlers refused to yield their livestock to the natives because 1) the food was too valuable to waste and 2) because the settlers, having never seen the dinosaurs, did not believe they existed. Then the dinos started getting hungry.
Though most of the dinosaurs have since died off due to starvation, there are at least a few left, including the dominant T-Rex which has survived by feeding off the carcasses of the other dinosaurs.
“Because of the advancements in [CGI] technology just in the last year, we were able to create over 30 shots for this episode in the same amount of time it took us to do three shots in [permalink href=20]In Dino Veritas[/permalink],” says John F.K. Parenteau, one of the owners of Digital Muse.
Digital Muse animator Dave Lombardi provides more insight into the creation of the dinosaurs in this episode, especially the long shot showing a man running from, and then being eaten by, a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
“We conceived the sequence as a long-range shot [and] photographed at about 100 yards away with a zoom lens,” Lombardi says. “Note the angle of the actor’s head as he looks back to where he imagines the dinosaur’s head would be. When we looked at the completed film, we decided the actor was looking lower than he might if he was making eye contact with a dinosaur. But because we control the animation, I simply brought the dino’s head down to match the angle of the actor’s vision. We also decided it was more dramatic if we showed the dino attacking him at the precise moment he hits the ground instead of having him lifted and kicking his legs.
“Sliders‘ special effects supervisor Ken Stranahan modeled the dinosaur from scratch using illustrations of an Allosaurus,” Lombardi says. “The original model was used a year ago on [permalink href=20]In Dino Veritas[/permalink], but the new dino was reworked virtually from the ground up. Our dino is a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We know he’s a flesh-eating kind of guy; we expect to hear from someone out there whether he was a hunter or a scavenger. If the original dude was just a scavenger, our apologies.”
“Texture mapping — the ‘pasting on’ of textures onto geometric forms — is one of the key tools used by animators of computer graphics. You never know where you’ll find a texture to fit the bill. Several people worked on texturing and contributed elephant skin, snake skin and lizard skin. The most unexpected however [was] a scan of a human knuckle, which became the dinosaur’s knee joint.”
Stranahan, meanwhile, has said that this discovery was actually made in Lombardi’s kitchen. “The environment in which the action took place was important,” Lombardi continues. “We estimated the time of day to create the appropriated lighting on the dino and the ground under it. We hope it looks like the real thing.
“This dinosaur was created jointly by a team of five artists. The final step was to merge these various elements. Once we did this, we saw the need for a few tweaks: footprints, for example. We also needed to show a ‘scrape’ where the dino’s bottom jaw hit the ground as he snapped up his lunch. We also blurred the whole image slightly. Why? Because we had to match the original background film, which, because of the nature of film, is slightly blurrier than a pristine digitally-created computer graphic.”
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This episode was filmed just outside of Bakersfield, California.
|Written by||David Peckinpah|
|Directed by||Richard Compton|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Next:||This Slide of Paradise|
“Dinoslide” is not just a return to dinosaurs, it’s also a return to the Rickman storyline, and a return to the world Maggie’s people fled to at the end of “The Exodus, part II.” Why return? Because Rickman is in desperate need of brain fluid matching his own.
When the Sliders track Rickman back to the colony they helped establish, they find it's been ravaged by a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex as well as the colonel.