Keith Damron

Written by: Earth Prime · October 31, 1998

Below is the October 31, 1998 SCIFI.COM chat session with Story Editor Keith Damron. The content has been cleaned up to promote clarity and remove any typographical errors on the part of Keith or the person asking the question:

Keith would you like to introduce yourself to the room.

Greetings America, World and all the ships at sea! My name is Keith Damron, currently the story editor on Sliders. Thanks for coming tonight and thanks for watching.

How many episodes will you be writing for season five and what can you tell us about them? Great job on Lipschitz Live! One of the best of the series!

THANK YOU for the praise. At the present time it looks like I’ll be writing two, but that is not set in stone. So far two have completed principle photography and we start on our third (mine) next week. We have four finished scripts and three more in development.

Do you personally believe in parallel universes?

Yes, I think it’s a distinct possibility. We’ve been doing research on dimensional theory and we try to be accurate…if that’s possible. Of course, what we don’t know we make up. 😉

When you’re writing stories, are there elements you want or you have to integrate in advance (actions, dialogs, etc.) or do you prefer to put them as they occur to you?

We try to come up with a concept and then structure plot around it. But most important, we try to think of the characters first and how we can integrate them into the story in a meaningful way.

How much of the earlier Sliders episodes have you watched to prepare you for writing in season 4 and 5? And what eps have you enjoyed?

I’ve been watching Sliders from day one. Some of my favorites include The King is Back, The Guardian, Asylum, and the yet to be seen Roads Taken.

Do you find that your artistic talents are better realized now that Sliders has moved to the Sci-Fi Channel?

Well, since I was not involved with the series prior to Sci-Fi, that’s hard to say. However, I think the show is definitely better served by being on the channel and was overjoyed when I heard that it had been picked up.

I wonder if you’d mind telling us your background, ie, college, jobs before you started writing for Sliders, and what, if anything, helped prepare you the most for your current career?

Well, I’m from Michigan where I started writing while working in public access television. I majored in TV/Film/and theatre but didn’t starting writing until after college. After several years of realizing that it was next to impossible to break in from Michigan, my wife and I pulled up stakes and moved to California. I’ve been here for two years now.

How will you explain the absence of the Mallory brothers ? Will they play in the first episode for the explanation?

Well, I don’t want to reveal too much about next season. As most of you know the brothers O’Connell will not be with us, so, of course we have to come up with a creative way to write them out of the series. They will not be seen in the first episode, unfortunately, we had to use doubles from afar. But the show focuses on their fate and its consequences…and it also introduces our two new characters.

Thanks for coming Keith, what can you tell us about the new characters replacing the Mallory brothers?

They are Mallory and Diana Davis.Diana is a physicist and will essentially be our group scientist. She is played by Tembi Locke. Robert Floyd plays Mallory, and, without giving away too much, he carries elements of Quinn inside him. This lab accident is brought about by a new villain who will be featured in a few episodes.

Pardon me, I should have been clearer, Mallory has part of Quinn inside him because of a lab accident.

What were you guys looking for when you went about casting the new Sliders?

Well, we needed someone who would be convincing as a scientist, who could handle some of the techno-babble, but who had a broad acting range. Same goes for Mallory. In the first three episodes we put these people through the ringer, introducing them to the world(s) of sliding and essentially opening their eyes to the wonder and danger of the multiverse.

How do you plan to overcome the fact that many viewers may see the Mallory brothers as the main and pivotal characters in the series?

Well, there’s not much we can do but TRY to overcome it. That’s the reality of series television. It’s a difficult situation for us as well. We have to try to come up with a creative and believable story that our viewers will buy into. But to do that, WE have to buy into it as well. We can only try to do our best and hope that the audience appreciates our efforts.

Will the Sliders be getting a new timer in season five?

Nope….BUT….we are giving Diana a hand-held mini laboratory to help them analyze the scientific puzzles they encounter in their travels. The timer often had too many unusual capabilities. It did things it was never meant to do. We say that and tried to correct the situation…BUT…her gadget is not a tricorder. We’re trying to limit its use whenever possible. It’s called a portable dimensional laboratory….or her PDL.

Do you see the Cryin’ Man taking a more leaderly role with the new green Sliders crew?

Yes, definitely. Both he and Maggie will be leaders and mentors to these new people.

What kind of episodes can we look forward to seeing?

At this stage the episodes will run the gambit from the light-hearted romp to stories that are very dark. We will throw in some social satire as well as some social commentary. We’re definitely shooting for variety while at the same time trying to wrap up our on-going conflict with the Kromaggs and other assorted arcs. And let me just add, there is one episode where THEY DON’T land on a parallel Earth!

What does season 5 have in line for the Kromaggs and how will it differ from season 4?

We plan on ending the Kromagg arc…we just haven’t figure out how yet. We will be discussing that next week. We turn up the heat, put our characters in a hopeless situation where they’re on the verge of defeat….and then we sort of left off there….more on Monday. 😉

Will any characters from past seasons be seen in the fifth season?

Yes, we will be bringing back a few….expect to see Holly from Alternateville. You will also see Hal from Lipschitz…we loved that guy.

Any new love interest angles in the next season?

We’re trying to develop a romance show for Maggie. But as general rule we don’t want to do too many. That stuff gets old and after awhile is rather uninteresting.

In season 5, are you thinking of using short scenes just before the end of the show, scenes which were so interesting and which let the viewer imagine the continuation?

Unfortunately, no. We’re generally discouraged from directly linking episodes by higher powers because it creates problems when the show goes into syndicated re-runs. Very often the shows are not re-run in their original airing order.

Keith, what is your opinion of the 4th Season and your role on the show this past season? Did your scripts come out how you wanted them to come out?

Yes! God bless the Sci-Fi Channel. I thought the show made a smashing comeback. The scripts were good, some better than others, but that’s the case with any show. I was very happy with the way mine turned out and was very proud to be part of the show. At the time I was just freelancing. It’s great to be on staff.

Have you ever checked out the ‘On-Line Slides’ and what do the writers think of them?

Well, I think very highly of them considering I wrote half of them. Richard Manning, another top notch writer wrote the other half. I just hope YOU ALL like them.

With the old team broken up, why shouldn’t Maggie & Remmy pick a nice world and stay?

Well, that would end our show real quick, wouldn’t it? 🙂 The trick is to come up with new reasons for them to keep sliding.

How many writers are currently on staff?

Three. We rely on freelancers for the other episodes. Presently, the staff includes Bill Dial, Chris Black and yours truly. And they’re the best.

Freelancers? Does that mean Sliders is accepting spec scripts?

We do accept specs from agented writers…but unfortunately, as of this week, all submissions are closed. We will be developing the rest in house.

How did you get started writing science fiction?

I sat down one day, turned on my computer and… started. Actually, I’ve always wanted to write sf television since I read The Making of Star Trek at age 12. But I didn’t actually give it a shot until I was in my twenties… and of course, I started off writing Trek specs.

What is it like working with the cast of Sliders? Any funny anecdotes?

It’s great, but it’s too early in the season to report anything out of the ordinary. We’re not punchy enough yet. 🙂 But I’m sure as things progress I’ll have a ton of stories to share. I will say this is a fine crew, the people are the best and I feel blessed to be a part of this show.

So was Earth Prime really the Earth we saw in Genesis?

Yes, that’s our Earth. We call the Quinn homeworld Kromagg Prime… for the time being. Remmy decided he had the ability to find a way to defeat the ‘maggs. Rather then live under Kromagg rule he decided to act to save his world.

Will we see a new vortex in season 5 or will it stay with season 4?

I’m not sure, I haven’t had a chance to see what the CGI guys have cooked up yet.

I’d like to take a moment to quell some rumors. There seems to be a lot of talk about 18 episodes that have already been written. I will say, this is a fabrication. We don’t know who’s done it, not that it matters, but we only have a handful of scripts that are near completion.

Rest assured, we are doing our best to put out quality material… and we do hear what the fans are saying. Probably the best source for accurate info is right here at the Dominion and on the Sci-Fi Wire.

If Quinn isn’t in the show anymore, who will do the monologue in the beginning of the credits?

We’ve talked about using all four actors but that is not yet in stone.

Will the fifth season be the last season for Sliders? If it is, will you guys try to wrap up as many loose ends as possible?

We have been told that this will be the last season. And, yes, we are trying to tie up all the loose ends… of which there are quite a few.

Thanks again for watching. We know that many of you have reservations about the changes for next year. All we ask is that you give us a chance. We love the show as much as you do and it’s important for us to do quality work. Also, please don’t buy into rumors. There’s a lot of false information out there.

I wouldn’t lie if I said I find this story of merging strange… 🙁

We deemed it a far more creative way of handling the situation then just killing him off. Just think Doctor Who, he retained elements of his previous self through subsequent incarnations. We wanted to do something similar.

And I can tell you categorically….there is no “Sleepless in San Francisco,” or “Amnesia,” or any other of those titles that have been posted.

What about the weapon that affects female Kromaggs? This is why they breed with earth females; will the Sliders find this weapon and save Earth Prime?

Well, my script deals with that weapon… and you’ll be in for a little surprise at what we discover.

Will we see Logan St. Clair?

No, no Logan St. Clair, sorry. At this point, no Bennish either – although we have discussed it.

What about Wade?

We’ll reveal what happened to Wade. We hope it will be one of our best shows. We don’t know if Sabrina will be in the show yet.

In spite of the enormous success of the season 4, why would be the season 5 the last one?

That question can only be answered by the guys who sign my checks. I do know that they want a full syndication package for re-runs.

Get [Leonard] Nimoy on Slidersthat would be good.

Well, we can’t get Mr. Nimoy, but we do have Jerry Doyle and Peter Jurasik!

Is it true you are going to blow Colin up?

Well, again, don’t listen to rumors. He doesn’t blow up – but that’s all I can say about Colin.

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