Written by: Matt Hutaff · January 26, 1998
Marc Scott Zicree is best known as the author of the Twilight Zone Companion. He has also penned scripts for such science fiction shows as Babylon 5, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Twilight Zone. He has also written for the television series Beauty and the Beast. This year, Marc adds yet another science fiction series to his resume, as he tackles double duty as both a producer and writer for the television series Sliders, which moves to the Sci-Fi Channel in June of 1998.
As part of the Sliders Online Convention held January 26, 1998, Sliders producer/writer Marc Scott Zicree agreed to sit down and answer questions from the fans:
It’s possible – I’d say even probable (now that Barry Diller owns both Universal TV and the Sci-Fi Channel) – that more episodes would be ordered of Sliders. But I don’t assume that will happen until late Spring or early Summer.
Well, it does get confusing. This season, we’ve been playing it that our guys have only one timer. Anything more than that would be confusing. And whatever Remmy had when he arrived on Earth Prime, the Kromaggs soon captured him and no doubt took it. As to the “Future World” Quinn and Maggie landed on, we haven’t yet dealt with it but are talking about a story which would examine it.
We’re not planning that at this time – but that doesn’t rule it out down the line.
So far, the Sliders haven’t gotten a new timer this season. Though they do utilize the Slidewave Device in my episode “World Killer.”
I don’t know what ratings the Sci-Fi Channel would need to consider Sliders a success. Certainly ones lower than the broadcast networks.
Our new Slider, Colin Mallory, Quinn’s brother, comes from a non-technological world, yet is himself a genius inventor (along the lines of a Leonardo or Benjamin Franklin). His wide-eyed innocence allows us to see worlds like our own through new eyes. We’ve used him to great advantage both in serious and comedic episodes. It’s great fun to see Charlie get comfortable wit the role and flex his acting muscles. We’re giving him a wide variety of notes to play, and both he and we are having a good deal of fun with it.
We haven’t used them this season (partly due to the show being filmed this year in L.A. rather than up north). We haven’t introduced new characters that we meet more than once. Our main focus this season has been to examine and expand our regulars.
I haven’t talked with John Rhys-Davies. At this point, there’s no plan to bring him back. But the good side of this is that not having Arturo has allowed us to focus more on the others, who have grown as a result. Quinn is now more the leader and expert. And Remmy has become something of “the wise old man.” Fun stuff.
The episodes to be rerun have not been set yet. Naturally, the key episodes that establish Sliding, the characters and the Kromaggs would be likely candidates. As to the fans voting, I’ve mentioned the idea to the Sci- Fi Channel and they’re open to it. You might want to drop them a note via DOMINION, their website.
We here on staff all agreed that was a great idea. Bill Dial, our co-exec producer, and Chris Black, our executive story editor, both come from comedy writing backgrounds. So a number of our episodes have both big laughs and sharp social satire. And in some of the other ones we just blow stuff up (just kidding…).
The answer is no, at this time. However, we do have various character beats that we set up in one episode and pay off in another, etc.
I could give you a pseudo science answer, but the real reason is whatever serves a given story. Besides which, it’s fun to have them one place for an hour in one story and a few days in another, it shakes up the mix.
In terms of Tracy Torme’s role this season. He’s busy with many other projects, so he’s not hands-on this year. But we do speak to him periodically. We’re glad to be brining back the Kromaggs. They’re great characters and have sparked a number of fun episodes this season.
We have a bit of that threaded here and there throughout the episodes but we don’t linger. For one thing, we want an hour of adventure, drama, humor, etc. – not a lecture.
I guess we should ask Max. 🙂 Seriously, though, the slides remain largely random this season, with the exception that if the Sliders find the coordinates of a specific world they can slide to it – but only when the timer counts down to zero. There are exceptions to this, however, which we learn about in my episode “Slidecage.”
I’d have to say I think we’ve taken what’s best of each and jettisoned the weakest elements. We’ll see if the audience agrees. But we’ve definitely tried to get a good mix of action, humor, science fiction, social satire and moving human moments.
The look this season is great. We have the same Director of Photography as before and are shooting on the Universal Lot on 35mm film.
Co-executive Producer Bill Dial replies, “If we could have the Sliders slide into any other show, it would be ER – for the ratings.”
I loved TWILIGHT ZONE, OUTER LIMITS and STAR TREK as a kid. Wrote THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION right out of college. Broke into TV writing animation (SMURFS, SUPERFRIENDS, etc.), then segued into live action — the recent TWILIGHT ZONE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, STAR TREK – TNG, and so on. It wasn’t so much fate as obsession.
If there’s another season, what will my role be? Um, on to the next question…
I don’t know when it will air in the UK, but I’m sure it will be soon.
We won’t see that this season, but in the future anything is possible.
I’ll ask Joe (the Great Maker) next time I have lunch with him. But I wouldn’t count on it…
There’s an episode guide coming out in paperback, and the Sci-Fi Channel will have a cool website. Beyond that, we’ll see what develops.
At this point, we don’t send out scripts, so I wouldn’t know what to suggest.
Remmy sings a song Cleavant composed in “Asylum,” a love story written by Bill Dial.
We’re currently filiming our 15th episode this season – out of 22. I don’t want to give out all the specifics (let’s leave some surprises), but there’s a wide variety of stories taking place on many delightful and surprising alternate Earths. Best of all, each of our main characters gets to take center stage in several episodes, so it’s a true ensemble.
Yeah, we’ll have a mix of genres like in the first season. Or put more simply, more of what we all like and less (or none) of what really ticked people off last year.
Just watch the new episodes. You’ll be pleased. She’s funny, complicated, compassionate, charming – all the things we hoped she’d be. Just wait and see.
It’s a possibility.
Possibly, if a cool story occurs to us.
The radius and number of people the Egyptian timer allows is similar to the other one. Or even identical (they push the button and it goes…).
We’re trying to stay as consistent as possible. We’re mostly concerned that the characters be smart and that they care about each other, treat each other with compassion. As to the rules of sliding, we’ll sometimes bend them a little (if we have a great story) but we try not to break them. And if we do bend them, we come up with some scientific rationale to explain it.
We’ll be seeing more doubles of the Sliders – in ways we haven’t seen them before. It’s a lot of fun. One has to be careful not to use it too much, though. I think we’ve got a good mix this season.
We haven’t made any of them. And since they’re unproduced, we really can’t send them out. Sorry.
We’re doing an episode called “The Alternateville Horror” that should have some very fun visuals. It’s a very funny piece written by Chris Black, our executive story editor.
Bill Dial suggests calling Central Casting. Beyond that, I don’t know.
Watch and see.
When Maggie comes back to Earth Prime, we find that her sliding to so many Earths has allowed an adaptation where she can breathe, albeit with some difficulty.
Quinn will mourn the loss of Wade and try hard to find her, but it won’t be something that takes center stage.
It won’t happen this season, but who knows.
Bill Dial answers, “I have no idea.” I think I’ll let that answer stand.
And that’s it! Let’s all give Marc a big hand for putting up with our questions! 😀 And, on a side note, if you’re interested in seeing some of Marc’s work, he passes along this message:
“Oh, and you might mention to the fans to watch DS9 the week of Feb. 9th. The episode is “The Far-Off Stars.” Yours truly thunk it up. It takes place in Manhattan, 1953, and all the DS9 characters have double roles as science fiction writers.”
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