The Sliders television series has a long list of proposed yet abandoned ideas, pitches that never made it to screen. Some are legendary — you’ve likely heard about “Twisted Cross,” the second season Nazi episode, “Beauty World,” a Twilight Zone-like episode redefining the nature of beauty, or even “Heat of the Moment,” Tracy Tormé’s swan song reuniting Bennish and Arturo in a vain effort to save a dying world.
But did you know “Heat of the Moment” was almost a comic? Or that Acclaim itself received a number of pitches over the years that never saw the light of day? Earth Prime has been fortunate to obtain several full proposals and a handful of brief snippets from the author’s head. There’s at least 3 Quantum Leap crossovers and some others you might find interesting.
A Quantum Leap/Sliders crossover was the likeliest one for Acclaim — with a similar science-fiction bent and no licensing problems to overcome (Universal properties were all licensed to Acclaim), putting Sam Beckett into the Sliders’ multiverse (or vice versa) should have been a piece of cake. Why didn’t it happen? Who’s to say it wouldn’t have after “Get a Life?” Below are three pitches of various lengths from three different authors.
by J.C. Vaughn (August 7, 1996)
Synopsis: “Sam Beckett, Al, and the Sliders team up in conflict against a time-and-reality traveler who is out to put an end to their interventions… and their lives.”
In the aftermath of the Ultimatum mini-series, the Sliders unknowingly return home at the moment Sam Beckett — who is also established as being from their universe — leaps into Quinn Mallory. The leap, however, leaves Quinn in full command of his memory, allowing him to help Al determine why Sam would leap into one of the Sliders in the present day.
Meanwhile, Arturo, Wade, and Rembrandt must come to terms that Quinn is no longer Quinn while evading capture by one of Sam’s scientific rivals, Doctor Donovan Kane. (Kane, explains Vaughn, serves as a “new, multi-faceted character, who could serve as a recurring nemesis in either or both series.”) Kane is a fellow tinkerer of time who came to the conclusion long ago time was too dangerous to manipulate — but that doesn’t stop him from abducting the Sliders. Rembrandt escapes, and with Quinn and Al’s help the three rescue their friends just before the slide window. Facing the situation, Quinn and Sam slide, and upon reaching another world, find they’re back in their own bodies.
Kane attempts to track the Sliders to this new world — a world where the Civil War ended in a Korean War-style stalemate — with a time probe. The Sliders and Sam destroy the probe and go in search of Sam’s double for clues to getting him back to their world. (Quinn’s double would be impossible to track; San Francisco is across a militarized border.)
The group makes it to this world’s Project Quantum Leap, a Confederate military project in the process of being disbanded for lack of funding. Kane tracks the Sliders with another probe and a battle ensues. Al — here a Confederate Army colonel — is mortally wounded as Kane is subdued. The Sliders slide, Sam leaps mid-slide, and Sam’s double, reeling from the events he’s just witnessed, uses his dismantled Quantum Leap technology to leap back in time and prevent Abraham Lincoln from being assassinated before he could name Ulysses S. Grant commander of the Union forces.
by Howard Hendrix (August 15, 1996)
Synopsis: Professor Arturo and Sam Beckett have a chance to save the lives of their respective brothers when an awry slide brings the Sliders and Project Quantum Leap together in Earth Prime’s Summer of Love.
A routine slide goes wrong when a micro-singularity causes the “alternative-universe plenum of Sliders to intersect the unitary timeline world of Quantum Leap.”
In other words, Sam leaps at the same time the Sliders slide. The result is simple — Quinn, Rembrandt, Wade, and Professor Arturo find themselves back home, only 35 years too early. They’re trapped in the 1960s; the Summer of Love is at its peak, rallies and protests are legion, and Abby Hoffman, Ken Kesey, and Alan Ginsberg all make appearances. Arturo sees this as an opportunity to save his brother from the fate hinted at in Narcotica, and enlists the aid of a former flame. In a coincidence, this love interest is the woman Sam’s leapt into. Sam takes this opportunity to unite his brother with the professor’s to save them both from fate. Naturally, the other Sliders object.
And with good reason — Al visits Sam and explains that if Arturo’s plan succeeds, the two brothers will combine the sciences of sliding and time travel in a way that would unravel spacetime and destroy the multiverse. “This desire to reverse the past, to change history, is what has subconsciously motivated their respective work,” explains Hendrix. “This generates the core problem, for looming behind it all is this paradox: if Max’s brother and Sam’s brother do not die, Max and Sam are never motivated to get involved in their respective work; if they are never motivated toward leaping/sliding, they never travel into the past or alternate universes; if they never Leap/Slide, then they can never save their brothers, so both brothers must die.”
Unaware of the full danger, or perhaps in spite of it, Arturo and Sam bring their siblings together and are granted a vision of the outcome — one where this earth is spun off from the multiverse to save it from paradox. “Max and Sam realize that they cannot reverse the past, because reversing it would mean that they could never be there to reverse it.
“Ultimately, they could not be their brothers’ keepers and still allow their brothers free will. The Sliders team and Sam Beckett part company gladly when the timer goes, knowing that the technologies they are involved with, if combined, could bring about the end of all Earths’ possible histories. They return to their quests — the Sliders to return to their own timeline at the right time, Sam to return to his own time and his own body.”
by Andy Mangels
Synopsis: Sam leaps into the body of Quinn just before they slide. The resulting slide switches the four of them, putting Sam in the real world and them as Leapers.
Andy Mangels isn’t just the writer of Get a Life, he’s also a prodigious author and comic book developer in his own right. Check out his website for more information on existing and upcomings projects.
Below you’ll find several of Andy’s other Sliders pitches in various states of completion. Enjoy!
(Not to be confused with When Darkness Falls)
“The quartet slide into a gothic San Francisco, all arches, towers and be-gargoyled buildings… rather like Gotham City. The populace seem skittish and afraid tonight. The moon is shining full, but the streets are almost deserted. The quartet soon finds out why; there’s a gang of werewolves that have been ransacking the city, spreading destruction and converting more humans to their kind.
“When the sliders are attacked by a trio of snarling lycanthropes, Quinn and the Professor are separated from the others; Quinn is scratched, and Arturo is bitten by one of the werewolves before they can escape. They return to the hotel to rendezvous, but both of them fall ill.
“Wade and Rembrandt must find help, and they find Juliana Pace, a doctor colleague of Arturo’s who specialized in rare diseases on Earth Prime. On this Earth, she’s a leading expert on lycanthropy. The next day, she and her assistant examine Quinn and Arturo in their laboratory, but as she discusses the matter with Wade and Rembrandt in her office, there’s a disturbance in the lab. They find Quinn battered, and the Professor and the assistant gone (as well as the Timer). Arturo has turned into a werewolf!
“The four of them begin to search the city, encountering a gang of werewolves on the way. They fight them off, partially due to Quinn, who’s starting to become more bestial. Rembrandt suggests that the Professor might be trying to slide, and they know time is running out. They follow the sounds of howling to the park, where a huge crowd of werewolves has gathered. On the center of them is Arturo and the assistant. The Assistant is behind the plague, and now wants to lead the pack to another Earth.
“Using a van, the foursome crash through the werewolves. While Wade and Juliana hold off the lycanthropes with electric prods, Rembrandt fights the assistant for the Timer. The increasingly bestial Quinn battles Arturo, subduing him long enough for Juliana to inject him with an experimental cure. She gives the same thing to Quinn as they prepare to slide. She’s going to have to go with them to save her own life.
“Strangely enough, when the vortex opens, it scares off the werewolves, allowing her to get back to the safety of the van. They slide away, with her and them both hoping the cure will work… for her world and theirs.
“Cut to the next world, where a cured quartet wanders the streets of San Francisco Island, with only four hours to go until their slide. Rembrandt suggests they take in the San Francisco zoo to pass the time, and Arturo shoots him a withering comment.”
(Not to be confused with Steve Kriozere’s pitch)
A freak cosmic storm rips through the sliding belt as the quartet slides to a new Earth. They’ll soon discover that they’ve all got super-powers: Quinn can create illusions, Wade can teleport anyplace she’s seen, Rembrandt has super-speed, and Arturo has super-strength. They’re going to need those powers, as San Francisco was one of the beach-heads for a hostile invasion from the Union of Soviet Asia, and it’s overrun by soldiers.
The quartet is ambushed by a patrol, and the three of them discover their powers in the process. Wade teleports to safety at the hotel, but can’t figure out how to get back. Rembrandt and Arturo do some damage to the soldiers and their equipment, while Quinn can’t figure out what he can do. Wade finally teleports back, and gathers the group together to teleport them. Only problem is — Quinn has been captured, with the Timer!
While Quinn is being interrogated about the Timer, he finds out that his double was one of the scientists that the invaders had forced to work with them, and that he had created the technology that powered the cloaking devices for the U.S.A.’s fleet. Unfortunately, the power cells are waning, and the secret of the cloaks only existed in the other Quinn’s head. Since he escaped in the first wave of the invasion, they think this Quinn is the real one.
The other three sliders soon find themselves targets of manhunts and wanted posters, so they decide to disguise themselves to avoid detection while they search for Quinn. Arturo’s Russian language skills come in handy when they hear of the others, so they have to coordinate an attack to free Quinn.
As some of the enemy scientists are about to attach a device that will scan Quinn’s brain (although it will also destroy it), he discovers his powers. Using them to escape the operating chamber, he tries to find out how to stop the invaders. While he’s fighting his way out, the other three are fighting their way in. A huge battle ensues, and the quartet use their powers to help defeat the enemy.
In the middle of the battle, Quinn projects the illusion of American counter-attackers, only to be surprised that the American’s really have retaliated, using the cloaking devices that the escaped Quinn gave them. The Americans and Russians engage in combat with their fighter craft, which begins to bring the base of the invaders down. As the invader’s headquarters begin to crumble, Quinn spots the Timer in a room on one of the security monitors. Wade decides to teleport in, knowing if she materializes in the middle of falling rubble, she’s dead. The monitors blink out, and Wade steps into thin air.
Tense moments pass, as the battle mops up around them. American craft trundle forward toward the three survivors, looking ominous. From out of an open hatch, the Quinn of this Earth stands up, looking at his double. Wade teleports back, unharmed, just in time to activate the slide.
Cut to Windy Earth, where the four of them of them are trying to make their way up a windy street. Their powers are gone. A Fantastic Four comic book slaps Arturo in the face. He looks at it, harumphs, and throws it away.
The Sliders land on a world where time travel isn’t just science fiction, it’s everyday life.
Doomsday prophecy become the Sliders’ stock in trade when they must convince the world they’ve just landed on the moon will strike it within the month — and they know because they were just there, watching it all happen. (Time travel trickery afoot!)
A routine slide turns eventful when the world the Sliders land on has a reverse rotation — leaving the foursome stranded in Russia!
The Sliders find a fantasy world come to life, complete with mythological creatures. Wade searches for unicorn, Rembrandt falls for the siren’s lure, and is that a mermaid with the Timer in her hands?
Oh yeah, all right/
Are you going to be in my dreams/
Tonight? — Lennon/McCartney
Heat of the Moment was Tracy Tormé’s final stab at a script for Sliders. Meant to be the third season finale, it featured a host of wacky stuff — a millionaire Bennish, an Earth falling out of orbit, Quinn and Wade getting married, Rembrandt dying…
Tormé has talked about it at conventions and in chats, but he never told anyone he was developing it for the comic franchise. Jeff Gomez, the head of Sliders comics, says there was a plan in place, and that it was a heartbreaker it didn’t see newstands.
“One of the most spectacular Sliders projects we were preparing was something of an alternate series finale conceived by Tracy about how the gang found themselves on an Earth where the sun was about to burn out, ending the world,” he says. “In order for others to escape the dimension, Quinn was forced to remain behind, sacrificing himself in a truly touching and noble way. We were definitely going to do that one!”