In a deserted city, the four come under attack by an alien spaceship. Quinn manages to scramble its gyroscope by activating the timer, taking it down. Arturo is unwilling to pass up the opportunity to investigate, and the two discover an ape-like creature known as a Kromagg. Arturo pockets a souvenir, setting off an alarm. As the four escape, Quinn and Wade look back to see a disturbing sight — another spaceship is arriving through a sliding tunnel. The Kromaggs are not aliens, they are an alternative evolutionary path for humans. The four debate how to sound the alarm to the rest of humanity, but the Kromaggs pursue and abduct them. Held prisoner, they quickly come to realize they are no match for their captors, who do not believe them to be accidental tourists. To save their own earth, they must escape at all costs — or perish before they can inadvertently betray themselves.
The only information known about his world is that Rembrandt bought safety equipment — a helmet, knee and elbow pads — there for protection against the bumps and bruises incurred by sliding. He is wearing them when he enters the next world. This world also likely has legalized gambling in San Francisco, because Arturo asks Rembrandt to pay for something with winnings from the last casino.
Kromagg Outpost 66
On this world, the population has been either eradicated or imprisoned by the invading Kromagg Dynasty though the mentally ill have been left to roam free, possibly because they weren’t deemed ‘good stock’ by the Kromaggs.
North America, France-style. Vive la difference!
Kromagg Outpost 113
A barren prison planet. Aside from Kromagg terraforming, no significant life developed on this Earth.
The sign outside of the carnival midway, though spray painted over with “They’re Coming,” “Kromaggs Rule” and “The End Is Here” reads: Bay Area Development California Department of Transportation Project Funded by (logo) Caltrans.
It’s interesting that Arturo calls Rembrandt “our treasurer,” though it seems that Rembrandt didn’t do such a good job this time. When they first land in Versailles West, Rembrandt pulls out a wad of cash and gives a bill as a tip to an accordion player. Later, after the Sliders have finished lunch at the bistro, Arturo asks Rembrandt to pay for the lunch using the small pieces of silver he won “at the last casino.” But uh, oh. Rembrandt seems to have lost his wallet, or the silver or that wad of cash he was carrying. Thus, rather that be stuck doing dishes, Arturo pays for the lunch using his expensive watch, and no one mentions Rembrandt’s goof again.
In the park, the man Arturo landed on seems ready to whack Arturo over the head with a big loaf of bread. If you listen carefully, Arturo cautions him otherwise: “Nasty, garlic-eating… don’t you dare, you little…”
Not much is known about Kromagg Outpost 66 except that only a short while ago, the Kromaggs invaded, destroying much of civilization and enslaving those who survived the onslaught. Now under control, the Kromaggs have cruelly released the insane to wander the streets.
· · ·
Nouvelle Versailles is part of a world where the French dominated much of North America. Where San Francisco sits on Earth Prime is its counterpart Versailles West. This country has everything you’d expect in France: snooty, cliché-riddled waiters, mimes, boulangers and accordion-playing monkeys. Truly, mon frere, this is paradise.
· · ·
Kromaggs come from a world that followed a different evolutionary path. They communicate telepathically with one another though they do have the power of distinct speech.
On Kromagg Prime, cities are built into gigantic trees that would make redwoods seem like matchsticks. It is a hellish place where tribal warfare was endless until the discovery of sliding. When they ventured into the vortex they were shocked to find other worlds where humans had developed rather than species such as their selves. This frightened them and the “people” of their world banded together to fight a now common enemy — humans. To do this, they created a single, military government that dedicated itself to traveling to other worlds, via sliding, in order to eradicate all of the human races encountered. As a result of the endeavor, the civil wars ceased.
The Kromagg Dynasty has been invading worlds for at least 10 years (surmised because the 20-something Mary says that she was recruited as an interpreter when she was just a little girl) and their conquests have always been successful.
When the Kromaggs conquer an earth, they kill most of the humans while saving others for slave labor or food… it seems they have an appetite for human eyes. When they take humans with them, they are first brought to Outpost Earth 113 where they are kept in prisons until such time that they would be brought along to the Kromagg Prime, probably for further study.
Mary says that the Kromaggs’ encounter with our Sliders scared them to death because it was their first meeting with homo sapiens who could control sliding. Because of that, the Kromaggs wanted to find the Sliders’ Earth Prime and destroy it so as not to encounter any sliding humans ever again.
One of Tracy Tormé’s, and to an extent John Rhys-Davies’, favorite episodes. Tormé had always wanted to do an episode that was a little more steeped in traditional science fiction but couldn’t really pull one off due to network resistance.
“We finally did … ‘Invasion’,” Tormé recalls. “But that was only by my going to the network head [John Matoian] and saying ‘Please let me do this, because I’ve been stopped from doing it for a year.’
“I [also] wanted to clear a few things up because I had gained the reputation as being ‘difficult’ when I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer on the cliffhanger (Into the Mystic), so I wanted to make sure that he knew where I was coming from. I told him I wanted to create this villain, and wanted to do something more science fictiony, and all the reasons why, and [Matoian] said ‘Great, do it; why wouldn’t you do it?’ I said ‘Well, because they’ve been stopping me.’ So he overruled the people working under him.
“‘Invasion’ was an important show for a number of reasons. Number one being that no one was sure we could pull it off. We were having trouble doing straight-forward shows and meeting our budgets. So to do a show with an alien invasion, spaceships crashing and going to a prison planet; there were many people who felt we couldn’t do it. At the same time, I wanted to give the fans something special. They had wanted to see Bennish all year, and Fox wouldn’t let me use him, so I put him in a prison and didn’t give him a name, and took his eyes out.”
But why wouldn’t the network, or the studio for that matter, let Sliders bring Bennish back?
“The main reason you haven’t seen much of him lately is that the studio didn’t want to pay to bring them down from Vancouver [during the third season],” Tormé says. “Bennish is one of my favorite characters and [Jason Gaffney] is also a good friend of mine. His wife and my wife are very good friends. We travel together. And it was very embarrassing that we couldn’t use him again. Now, the reason Bennish wasn’t … seen more is because there was a character on VR-5 … that had long hair and was sort of smart, and they decided that that was too close to Bennish. So right from the beginning every time we had Bennish on the show they’d want to take him out. He was in a lot of other shows.”
“[His appearance in “Invasion”] was my little shot at Fox and never told them that’s who was going to play the part. So I really did it just for the fans so that I thought, you know, once you really see the guy and some people would say ‘My God! That’s Bennish!’ you know? And that’s the reason we even got him into [this episode]. If they had known it was him, they wouldn’t have let me do it.”
· · ·
In the end, Tormé was very happy with the outcome of “Invasion.”
“I thought it was exactly the kind of show we should do. Our necks were on the line to prove we could produce an out-and-out kind of sci-fi show, doing it under budget, doing it in Canada, so I worked very hard on that one in a very small space of time. I worked with the make-up guys from The X-Files who were fans of the show and were willing to do this as a one-time shot, and we designed the Kromaggs carefully. Of course, there was a lot more in the script than hit the screen.”
“I also worked a lot longer on the sound editing than on any other show. It had a lot more layers, and in fact, we were nominated for an Emmy for the sound — our first. For all those reasons, plus the idea of setting up something in the future — an enemy that could return — it felt like the most important show we had done since the pilot.”
“That’s one of my personal favourites actually. It pays homage to my favourite Outer Limits episode, as well as The Prisoner to some extent. There was a lof of stuff I really loved in there, and I worked very hard with the guys who do the make-up for The X-Files, who were fans of the show and came over for that episode, and we carefully sculptured the Kromaggs out. Looking back, there are a few things I wish we hadn’t done, but given the time and the money restraints, they turned out pretty well.”
The episode ended up being John Rhys-Davies’ favorite, Tormé adds. “He wrote letters to everyone saying, ‘This is what we should be doing.'” But some felt otherwise. “I screened it for the new executive producer [Alan Barnette], and after it was over he said: ‘Well, this is exactly the sort of show we should not be doing this year’ … he said it was ‘too dark.’ It was sort of the ‘anti-family values show’ … when I heard that, I realized that he and I just were not going to see the show in the same way.”
· · ·
Will we see the Kromaggs again?
“I have a very trippy, surrealistic show in mind involving the Kromaggs. It wouldn’t be us landing in the middle of another invasion; it would start in a way that you wouldn’t know it was a Kromagg show.”
Tormé adds that they’ve had many requests to bring the Kromaggs back.
“If we do so,” he says, “we must be careful that it’s handled with taste and doesn’t devolve into some kind of monster show sequel. And, yes, we will eventually find out which Slider was implanted [with the homing device].”
Years later, Tormé elaborated on his sequel to “Invasion” in a 2009 interview.
· · ·
One nitpick that fans picked out was the scene where Arturo and Quinn are investigating inside the Kromagg Manta ship while Wade and Rembrandt wait for them outside. While it seems that the Professor and Quinn are only scouting the ship’s interior for a few seconds, it grows dark outside.
“I remember we had to do [that] particular scene at night [but] it was written to be [filmed] in the daytime,” Tormé explains. “[So] we did this sort of cheesy dissolve when Wade and Rembrandt are walking outside the ship and Wade says something like ‘I hope they hurry, it’s almost dark’ then we dissolve into darkness and cut back to Arturo and Quinn inside the ship and they looked like they were in the same place doing the same thing seven hours later.”
Still, Tormé feels that the plot device used to compensate for the restriction worked, and he doesn’t think that casual viewers really noticed it.
· · ·
Lastly, a first for Sliders — an Emmy Award nomination for this episode in the category of Outstanding Sound Effects Editing for a Series. Honorees were; Kyle Wright, Supervising Sound Editor; Charlie Crutcher, Sound Editor; Steve Burger, Sound Editor; Lydian Tone, Sound Editor; Mike Gollom, Sound Editor; Laura Macias, Foley Artist; Sharon Michaels, Foley Artist.
Other shows competing in this category were Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (CBS) for “Halloween III,” Law & Order (NBC) for “Hot Pursuit,” Party of Five (Fox) for “The Wedding,” Strange Luck (Fox) for “The Liver Wild” and The X-Files (Fox) for “Nisei” (which won the award).
|Written by||Tracy Tormé|
|Directed by||Richard Compton|
|Music by||Anthony Marinelli|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Next:||Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome|
There’s no getting around it. “Invasion” is a big episode for Sliders. It is far darker than anything we’ve seen yet and casts a very long shadow over the series. They can no longer just go home for that would mean potential devastation to their earth. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of the Kromaggs.
The Sliders encounter a vicious race of technologically advanced aliens who hold a nasty surprise for the quartet — they can slide at will, and intend to conquer every Earth in the dimensional spectrum.