A Thousand Deaths

The Sliders are chased by fast food workers in clown costumes and their huge jack-in-the-box leader, who is holding Diana hostage. In the midst of a hail of gunfire, they vortex out in the nick of time but Diana is experiencing terrible claustrophobia from her capture. They arrive in a vacation resort called The Arcade, a state-of-the-art family entertainment center which offers role-playing scenarios. Rembrandt chooses to play a Shaft-type detective dressed in a polyester leisure suit and platform shoes. Mallory, portraying a Confederate soldier, witnesses a holographic soldier “die.” But before his image disappears, he tells Mallory, “This is no game.” Meanwhile, Diana and Maggie are kidnapped to become the human hosts that drive each simulation. In their efforts to locate the women, Rembrandt finds Diana’s hologram soliciting on a New York street while Mallory returns to the Civil War battle. Suddenly, he sees Maggie leading the Union infantry line. She disappears after being mortally wounded, proving that she, too, is a hologram. Mallory and Rembrandt confront Hal, a maintenance man, who takes them to the underground complex. They save Diana from among the rows of unconscious victims who experience a real death each time it occurs in the games. It’s a race for the Sliders to disengage Maggie from the program before she is further traumatized by another painful death.

Worlds Visited

MSG World

Price wars have been taken to another level on a world where fast food restaurants like Flannigan’s and Burger Monarch will do anything — including gunfire — to beat the competition.

Fun World

Intricate VR simulations are cheap sources of entertainment on a world where people are completely absorbed in games, not work.


  • The clowns are from Flannigan’s; their competitors, Burger Monarch.
  • Burger Monarch’s owner is named Hubert.
  • Hubert napalmed a shipment of Zany Meal Toys en route to Flannigan’s.
  • The sign in the alley reads:
K Family Shoe Co.
260 South Los Angeles Street.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
TEL:  (213) 626-6651
      (213) 626-0409
FAX:  (213) 626-3266
  • California residents with a valid driver’s license get $10 off a family admission pass to Einman Entertainment.
  • The following VR simulations are available at the Einman Entertainment Chandler (sorry, but the Chandler can’t double as everything):
    • Western Roundup
    • Civil War
    • Street Cop
    • Fighter Pilot
    • Mars and Outer Space Fantasy
    • Roman Spa
    • E.R. Doctor
  • The computer screen outside the Roman spa reads:
         Einman Entertainment
        Roman Holidays and Spa
        Visitors Registration
                          LOG IN  LOG OUT
NAME: RISA BLEWITT         8:15    10:15
NAME: MELANIE BURZYNSKI    8:30    11:00
NAME: TERESA LEONARD       8:30    11:00
NAME: JUDY DAVENPORT       9:00    12:00
NAME: EVE BUSHMAN          9:20    12:15
NAME: ED BUSHMAN           9:20    12:15
NAME: SKIP ALLIOTI        13:00    15:15
NAME: LAURA SANCHEZ       14:00    16:30
  • Rembrandt and Mallory find Diana in Siphoning Room B.
  • The controls on the power switch read:

BNL 35
EF 35

  • Networks on this world include SBN and TGC.

Character Information

  • Diana developed a very real sense of claustrophobia as a child, when she locked herself in her teacher’s closet. Unfortunately, no one noticed and she spent an entire weekend in pitch black. At one point, she thought she was dead.
  • In the 70s, at the height of the Spinning Topps’ fame, Rembrandt was offered a job as a television cop a la “Starsky and Hutch.” The deal fell through, however, and Rembrandt has always wondered what that might have been like.
  • When Mallory ended up in a wheelchair, he became fascinated with all kinds of history, especially the Civil War. Mallory idolized Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
  • Maggie has always been more comfortable around men than around women. As a result, women shy away from her because of her aggressive nature.
  • Growing up, Rembrandt worked in a greasy spoon of a diner.

Money Matters

  • Rembrandt stole enough money from his double’s ATM to pay for hotel accommodations as well as several games and the Roman spa.

Notable Quotes

  • “Eat lead, you monarchical puke!” — Clown.
  • “Talk about destroying the competition.” — Rembrandt, talking about the events on MSG World.
  • “Maggie, how about those guy games?” — Rembrandt, asking if she wants to sign up for Street Cop.
  • “That’s the matter with bein’ flavor of the month. It’s only a matter of time before you melt away.” — Rembrandt, about his shot at T.V. stardom.
  • “Things just keep getting better.” — Rembrandt, about the car he and Fred drive around in in Street Cop.
  • “Some women find me threatening.” — Maggie.
  • “Platform shoes… what the devil were we thinking?” — Rembrandt.
  • “You are messin’ with my groove, man! You are messing with my groove!” — Rembrandt.
    “Oh, you wanna get real, huh? You wanna get real with me?! Bring it on, daddy! Bring it on!” — Fred.


  • Why do Maggie and Diana bring up finding Rembrandt’s home world as one of their objectives? Shouldn’t those coordinates be stored in the timer?
  • What is the deal with that ham-handed speech Maggie gives in the Civil War VR? Lame…
  • How did Hal have access to the rooms with captive humans. Does a maintenance guy really need to sweep up in there? And if so, why is he so surprised when they go in there?
  • Just how did Maggie get into the Civil War hologram program? Does the unconscious mind of the person still get to choose what simulation they die in? I thought inhibitors repressed the host’s brain.
  • C’mon. The Chandler is the headquarters for Einman Entertainment in Los Angeles? And it just happens to change places to Universal City Walk?


  • Danny Lux finally pulls his musical scoring ability out of his ass with the great 70s funk music while Rembrandt is in Street Cop.
  • Well, they mentioned Colin…

Rewind That!

  • One of the bar patrons is wearing a UN uniform from Roads Taken.

Rewind That!

In closed captioning, Spinning Topps is spelled Spinning Tops.

History Lesson

Einman Entertainment controls the world. Literally? Perhaps. But his Arcades, placed in major cities around the globe, attract millions of people a year because of their realistic scenarios.

Visitors can choose to play any number of simulations: Western Roundup, Street Cop, E.R. Doctor, the visitor is immersed in a holographic environment that is totally lifelike. However, this realism is supplied by a neural network of captive humans who become NPCs inside the games. When those people die on the battlefield or in the game, they experience a real death. Too many of those deaths, and their body gives up. They die for real.

It’s unknown what will happen now that all this has been revealed. Einman himself is in prison facing innumerous murder and kidnapping charges, and the Arcades themselves have been closed pending a federal investigation.

The Inside Slide

“The idea for ‘A Thousand Deaths’ came to me in a Las Vegas video arcade,” explains Story Editor Keith Damron. “I had become quite fond of a game called Time Crisis. During one particular game session I was doing fairly well, racking up a pretty impressive body count of cyber-terrorists, when I caught sight of a young lad out of the corner of my eye. He too was playing a similar shoot-em-up and seemed utterly hypnotized as he mindlessly blew away each human simulation. It really made me stop to think about what I was doing. On one hand I was simply playing a game similar to those I had played all my life. But the bad guy images I was splattering, soulless as they were, were still of people. I really had to wonder if activities such as these can desensitize a certain few to a higher reality. I also knew there was a story in this somewhere.

“The basic concept was, ‘what if video game characters were really living beings?’ I managed to write a pre-production draft in five days.”

· · ·

“A Thousand Deaths” gave Damron the opportunity to use an idea he felt harkened back to the early days of the show.

“It gave me a chance to put in the ‘fast food war’ gag,” he says. “Sort of a throw back to some of the first season alternate world vignettes, I had been saving it for just the right episode.”

· · ·

“I really enjoyed any opening to build on Rembrandt’s backstory, particularly where his career was concerned,” Damron says. “This script provided me with a chance to explore a television opportunity for The Cryin’ Man. One that could have been but wasn’t. Plus, as a general rule of thumb, it’s always a good practice to try to occasionally put your main characters in a situation that will show them in a different light.”

· · ·

Principle photography on A Thousand Deaths was completed on February 12th 1999.

Guest Stars

In Brief

Written by Keith Damron
Production # E0815
Network # SL-513
Directed by David Peckinpah
Music by Danny Lux
Edited by Casey Brown



In Review


The main gist of it appears to be “playing video games might be bad for you”, but the approach makes no sense. It’s going to be hard to find too many viewers who went into this episode approving of kidnapping and mental rape as forms of entertainment, but now see the error of their ways. How are the illegal actions taken by the evil corporation an indictment of gamers?

Read the review »


A layover on a world immersed in entertainment turns deadly when Diana and Maggie are abducted and forced to participate in virtual reality simulations where they experience death over and over.