Still reeling from the deaths of Arturo and Stephen, the Sliders arrive in a world populated by flesh eating zombies. A diet fad has gone terribly awry and those infected have a never ending hunger for fat. They manage to find a woman with a natural immunity, but only after Quinn has been infected. They take the search for a cure to a hospital where Quinn can work on a cure. Quinn sends Wade and Rembrandt away, keeping Maggie to kill him if he fails. A doctor has managed to get halfway there but he needs the blood of the immune woman to perfect it. A zombie-like Quinn makes a run for her, saving her from other zombies and drawing her blood. Before he can give in to his cravings, the doctor sedates him. The cure works, but their friend is dragged below ground for a final showdown with the zombies.
Did the vortex scare a bunch of locals into tying Quinn to a cross?
Where the general population has turned into flesh-eating zombies thanks to a weight loss product gone horribly wrong.
After the Sliders rescue Debra from the zombies, they travel to a tunnel toward the hospital above ground. As they do, Rembrandt says “God, it stinks man.” After that, they break through the hospital doors and into the sunlight. In closed captioning, Rembrandt says: “God, it stinks. I can’t take this much longer.”
Zombie World is called that for one simple reason: zombies. Not just any zombies, mind you, these are the kinds of zombies that feast on human fat. And you can thank the government for that.
How so? Well, it seems that on this world, natural additives and supplements are banned in favor of artificial products. Caffiene is contraband (as it speeds metabolism), and those that want to take advantage of all Mother Nature has to offer have to purchase their wares from black-market herbal sources.
The layperson, however, purchases products like Geni-Trax’s Lipron. Initially engineered as a weight loss pill that attacks body fat, the lack of proper testing sent users out of control as the medicine forced them to crave more and more fat until, finally, cannibalism resulted.
Those that weren’t taking the product but were attacked by those who were found that they were infected. The degeneration from person to mindless fat slave is pretty fast, and the process makes one photosensitive and an incoherent rambler.
This epidemic quickly spread around the world. Cities decayed in months. This world is in chaos.
“My agent called me and said that David Peckinpah … wanted to me to pitch ideas for Sliders,” says first-time Sliders scribe Steve Kriozere. “He said to come in with 3 ideas and to have them very well thought out, including all the teasers, act breaks, character stuff, etc. Since I was new at pitching, I didn’t realize that this is usually more than necessary.
“Also, Peckinpah told me that him and his staff were having trouble getting story ideas cleared by Fox so if my ideas could liken to popular movies, the network execs would ‘get it.’ Now that you see what I was told to bring in, “zombies” might make more sense.
“They purchased the story with an option for me to write it. Fortunately, they liked my enthusiasm and my outline so my option to write the teleplay was exercised. [Producer Tony] Blake later told me this wasn’t usually the case with freelancers on the show. I can’t remember the specific time I was given to write the outline, however, or the first draft.
“In my pitch I had Wade getting infected by the zombies and having her want Quinn to kill her. Sabrina Lloyd is adorable and I wanted to really feature her. Obviously this was changed to Quinn getting infected after various meetings with Peckinpah and Blake. Also, I had the ‘Debra Carbol’ character as the only non-zombie character the Sliders meet in this world. In my draft of the script her husband was infected and she had him locked up. The Sliders find a cure for him in the end. The “Doctor Tassler” character was added to the “Maggie” draft, which I had nothing to do with writing. Also, I didn’t have a reason for the zombie outbreak in my initial pitch. The producers came up with the ‘slimming medicine’ turned virus later on and I expanded on it.”
But what happened when John Rhys-Davies was fired?
“I didn’t hear anything from the producers for a while and I figured my script must have been shitcanned because he was in it,” explains Kriozere. “Eventually, I called Peckinpah’s office and left a message, dreading that my show would never be produced. I got a call back from Scott Smith Miller, who wrote on staff and said he was overseeing the rewrite on my script and that Peckinpah would be directing it. I was very happy to hear this. I ran into Paul Jackson many years later and introduced myself. I remember him telling me that he and Tony Blake did a big rewrite of the draft too.”
So what’s it like to have an episode of television with your name on it, but little in the way of what you wrote?
“Honestly, it was strange at first, but as I worked more in the biz I realized that writing for television is very collaborative,” he says. “Things get rewritten all the time. Especially freelancers. I only turned in a first draft to Sliders. Scripts go thru MANY drafts. I never got a chance to rewrite mine because of the “Arturo-leaving-the-show” factor. Still, I was happy to see that my initial story idea was still there. This was my first produced episode of TV. If it all ended right there, I’d still have that super cool moment.”
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“I remember during the first couple of episodes I was a little bit stiff, not just because of the character, but because I was working with Roger Daltrey, and a new cast entirely, who could have resentment towards me,” explains Kari Wuhrer on her comfort level on entering the series. “So it was hard to snap into this easy-going character. But I worked hard at it, and by the third episode that I was in, ‘Soul Survivors,’ I had a much better grasp on it. The cast and crew made it easy, but it was difficult trying to be a tough character. I have never really played anyone like Maggie before.”
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In the first episode with Kari Wuhrer as a full cast member and John Rhys-Davies gone, John Rhys-Davies’ voice can still be heard performing the ‘Sliders’ phrase at the end of the opening credits. While some may think that this is an homage to the professor, it’s really more simple than that — JRD agreed to make the voice-over long before his character was bumped off.
“We tested every actor on the show for the voice-over,” says one post production technician. “And John was the best one we heard.”
As a result, JRD’s voice remains with the series for some time to come. Was JRD paid for the voice-over? You betcha.
|Written by||Steven Kriozere|
|Directed by||David Peckinpah|
|Music by||Stephen Graziano|
|Edited by||Michael B. Hoggan, A.C.E.|
|Previously:||The Exodus, part II|
|Next:||The Other Slide of Darkness|
For those of you not into titles, this is the zombie episode. I don’t like zombies, but I do like this episode.
The Sliders encounter a world infected by bacteria that transforms the inhabitants into flesh-eating zombie-like creatures — one of which takes a bite out of Quinn.