The four crash land into a deadly war game, where teams compete to survive a lethal obstacle course for prize money. With too much time left until the slide and no safe houses to sit the game out in, the Sliders are forced onto the playing field. Their chances of survival are further damaged when the Professor is blinded by a flashpoint. He gives into despair and urges the others to leave him behind, but they won’t comply. Rembrandt and Arturo end up split from Quinn and Wade, who enlist the help of Laurie, another player who has lost all her teammates. A blind Arturo must shoot his way out of a booby trap that’s ensnared Rembrandt, and his success heartens him. Reunited, the five reach the final level. Laurie is killed, and Quinn decides to win the competition to honor her sacrifice.
A world that’s, well, cold. The Sliders are wearing parkas and Quinn relishes the thought of going to “the beach.”
Guns and gamesmanship are the order on this world. Win and live comfortably for life, lose and you’re left to die and rot in the streets.
“A pen is a mighty instrument.”
Ten years ago, the nation was poised on the verge of civil war. In an odd move, the government banned sporting events as a way of controlling the population. That was obviously unsuccessful.
When the citizens began to clamor for entertainment, the Games sprang up. They were government sanctioned and were immensely popular. To date, 228 million Americans watch the Games weekly.
There is a National League for the Game. Teams must first compete in regional playoffs in order to make it to the big leagues. There are five levels in the game. If a player makes it to the finish line, all of their family gets a piece of the prize money, five million dollars.
Someone who makes it to the end of the game must place their CD-like medallion in the recorder, which is guarded by well-armed android soldiers.
They used to hold the games at the “old coliseum” but the popularity of the contests dictated that there needed to be a bigger venue so the owners built a wall around the part of the city and held the games within. Then, any sponsor willing to put up the money could headline a team to compete.
The original concept sounds slightly different than what eventually aired.
“There’s also one about very wealthy people who contact these computer games, but they happen in real life, where you have to survive from level to level, and finally win a prize when you make it to the end,” says Tracy Tormé. “The Sliders accidentally slide right into it, so that’s going to be a very visual affair.”
Eventually, though, Tormé’s distaste for the show’s ultra-violence came through. Tormé cringes as he describes the ill-conceived one-line high concepts which mark the third season. Executives chose “Rules of the Game” as the first episode to air, suggesting what Tormé can only laughingly describe as ‘video game world’ as a prototype for the season: sleek, fast-moving and replete with eye candy.
“[It’s] video game world,” he laughs.
As Tormé recalls, the shift from quirky, imaginative stories to uninspired gimmick of the week-type episode began here.
“They were so gung-ho that the first show of the season was ‘Let’s have skate boarders! We’re going to hire those kids who do skate boarding tricks; that’s cool, that’s going to get us teenagers!'”
Ultimately, there were no skateboarders — but there were exploding Humvees, androids shooting fireballs and pointless gunplay.
· · ·
Rembrandt in the Navy? What that’s all about? It’s just one of many character changes that began at the beginning of the season — and Cleavant Derricks thought it was a good idea.
“I have never been in the military, so I find that fascinating about the character,” he says. “It gives him discipline, a sense of taking care of himself and those around him, and not thinking so much of himself.”
Eventually, Derricks would retract that statement in an interview with EP.COM, saying that it was just another thing they piled on the character of Rembrandt in an attempt to figure out what to do with him.
“Why add a whole new side to the character and then downplay it?” he asked. “It defeats the whole purpose.”
· · ·
For the third season’s premiere, three mechanical robot spiders, fangs bristling with deadly electricity, menacingly scurry down a metal web toward Rembrandt. The spiders were designed and modeled by John Daniel and animated by David Lombardi.
· · ·
The aerial footage shown in the airplane simulator is taken from high above Universal Studios — landmarks such as Universal Citywalk and the Universal corporate building are visible among the lights.
|Written by||Josef Anderson|
|Directed by||Oscar L. Costo|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Edward Salier, A.C.E.|
|Next:||Dead Man Sliding|
“Rules of the Game” means well. It’s a guilty pleasure. And that’s about it.
Arturo is seriously injured when the Sliders become unwitting participants in a bloody game in which there is only one rule: stay alive.