Saddled with truth collars from a previous slide, the four find themselves in an unpopulated land. Unpopulated by humans perhaps, but populated by dinosaurs! In their frantic escape, Arturo twists his ankle and loses the timer. Unsure of how much time remains or even where the timer is, Quinn heads out to recover it. The others are denied the luxury of soothing lies in this time of crisis by the collars. A holographic ranger informs them that they are in a dinosaur preserve, and that they’re all under arrest for poaching. She also reports the remains of a mangled human, and the sliders fear Quinn has been killed. Rembrandt goes out to confirm this and is saved by the real poacher from the dinosaur. He restores their hope when he tells them his partner has been killed, but now as payment he wants them to smuggle his treasure out. Quinn returns, the dinosaur gets the poacher, and Wade finally convinces the ranger that they’re not the villains. With her help, the four track down the timer but must outrun the dinosaur if they wish to slide.
The citizens here are required by law to wear detector collars around their necks that send an electric shock through the body if the wearer tells a lie. The worse the lie, the bigger the shock and it is designed to eventually kill the habitual liar. On this world, it’s a felony to remove the collars.
Dinosaurs have survived since pre-historic times (without any evolution, no less) thanks to a national effort to protect them in massive, city-sized wildlife preserves.
A place brimming with dinosaur fossils, so much so that archaeologists are scoopin’ them out of Golden Gate Park!
It’s never mentioned whether the four get jobs on Truth World even though it is pretty evident that they’ve been there for quite a while.
While going over their options, Arturo points out that between the cave and the timer awaits “the most dangerous carnivore that ever walked the earth.” Traditionally, the T-Rex has always held the honor and Arturo has already been told specifically that the dinosaur outside is not a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but an Allosaurus.
On Dinosaur World, the area of San Francisco has been turned into a national forest containing the San Francisco National Dinosaur Preserve and Spotted Owl Sanctuary. The forest is patrolled by holographic images of National Dinosaur Preserve Rangers, whose signals originate from a ranger station in San Jose. The rangers appear to be members of the CWF (California Wildlife Federation?) and the whole operation is overseen by the U.S. Department of the Interior under the umbrella title of “Forest Service.”
The preserve itself is protected by an electrical fence and there are posted signs all over the area deterring intruders. Yet despite these precautions, poachers sometimes do manage to sneak into the parks in order to kill the dinosaurs for various body parts.
Though it is even illegal to possess such items, there’s a large amount of money to be made selling dinosaur parts on the black market because they are in high demand. And for good reason, Velociraptor endocrine glands can help speed burn healing; Stegosaur lymph nodes are used in cancer research; dinosaur sinew can be used in heart surgery; and the Chinese grind up Stegosaur sex organs to use in aphrodisiacs.
The poachers use special electrical devices to jam the holographic ranger’s signal to make the image disappear, an important feature to have considering that the holograms can photograph the poachers who then become wanted criminals and are likely to end up on “America’s Most Wanted.”
“In Dino Veritas” had humble enough beginnings. It was originally conceived as a ‘bottle show.’ Sliders was way over-budget and the producers had promised the network a cheap episode. Steve Brown, the show’s creative consultant, came up with the idea of doing an episode in which the cast is menaced by a dinosaur. They would remain in a cave the entire episode, and therefore, the story could be accomplished with one inexpensive set. “I thought that we could use it as a way to explore the characters,” explains Tracy Tormé.
A couple of complications arose to thwart this plan. “We decided we’d let Jerry [O’Connell] do this thing inJerry Maguire. So that’s why Quinn leaves the cave and you can’t find him for a long time. Jerry was off shooting Jerry Maguire during those days. And then we realized we could do a better dinosaur than we thought we could for the money. At that point the temptation came to broaden the story a bit and take advantage of it, so ultimately what started as our very simple little bottle show ended up as one of our most popular shows and certainly one of our most promoted shows.”
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Fox’s promos for the episode, sort of a “Sliders Go To Jurassic Park” bothered Tormé further because he tried to get Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome to air in the May Sweeps period instead.
“I saw the promotion and thought ‘Oh, Christ’ because we can’t do Jurassic Park … to me, that’s worrisome.” The stunt worked, however — “In Dino Veritas” brought Sliders its best ratings to date.
“It worked,” he says. “That’s probably one of the reasons we came back for another season; the ratings on that episode were that good. I’ll give the devil its due.”
Still, there’s a little bit of a sting in knowing that no matter how good the writing, in general, dinosaurs will get higher ratings.
“That’s more a frustration with the world in general, though, as opposed to specifically Sliders, though, you know? I’m a really big Beatles fan, and the thing that’s interesting about the Beatles to me is that it’s the only time in history when the thing that was the best was also the most popular.”
“That was definitely a case where there was not Jurassic Park angle to it at all. Then, once it was done, Fox promoted it in a Jurassic Park way,” Tormé says.
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But the similarities may also be attributed to the fact that the company responsible for the look of the dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Park’ were also hired to work on “In Dino Veritas.”
Ken Stranahan at special effects company Digital Muse, a 20-person operation based out of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA, created a dinosaur model inside a computer based on conceptual drawings and bump texture maps. Once the model was digitally completed, it was turned over to animator Don Waller, who was part of the original team that created the effects for Jurassic Park.
Waller and company completed the model in just two weeks and it was then sent to Digital Muse visual effects producer John F.K. Parenteau who polished and completed the effect in just four weeks.
Digital Muse was also responsible for the effects in the 1997 “Titanic” mini-series.
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Tormé also gives a bit of insight into how the creative process works for an episode. “Originally, when we do the little scene with the truth collars on the other world, Wade’s boyfriend on that world…[well, we wanted to have it so] she gets out of the car with Geraldo Rivera and he comes up and he’s been told all about sliding and he believes it because this is the world where everyone tells the truth. So he meets everybody and then when we slide, he surprises us by jumping into the tunnel and he follows us to Dinosaur World — not knowing that we can’t send him back. So he lands on the next world all bummed because he was going to film sliding and put it on his show as an exclusive and now he realizes that he’s stuck, and shortly into the story, after he does a lot of grouching and bitching and gets on everyone’s nerves, he gets eaten by a dinosaur. And that’s originally how it was written.”
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This episode was nominated for a Golden Reel award on Tuesday, March 4, 1997 by the Motion Picture Sound Editors society. It’s competition included “Lois & Clark: Double Jeopardy,” Warner Bros.; “The Big Easy: Don’t Shoot the Piano Player,” USA Network; “Dream On: The Spirit of 76th and Park,” MCA TV; “The X-Files: Syzygy,” 20th Century Fox; “The Outer Films: Inconstant Moon,” Atlantis Films.
|Written by||Steve Brown|
|Directed by||Oscar L. Costo|
|Music by||Anthony Marinelli|
|Edited by||Edward Salier, A.C.E.|
|Previously:||Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome|
As every good network executive knows, dinosaurs equal ratings. The FOX execs must have nearly wet themselves when the so-called action show Sliders finally delivered them a script they could promote. And promote they did!
The sliders find themselves face-to-jaw with an extremely large (and angry) beast when they lose Quinn and the timer, in a San Francisco that's been developed as a game preserve — for dinosaurs.