Prince of Wails


After a close run in with a tidal wave and a massive shark, the Sliders land in an America where the English won the Revolutionary War. The British States of America at first prove very welcoming to our band of vagrants as Arturo is mistaken for his highly successful other, the Sheriff of San Francisco. This works well until the British jokes run out and their car breaks down in Oakland Raider territory. When they improbably prevent the assassination of the Crown Prince, Quinn unwittingly finds himself the leader of a gang of rebels intent on bringing the monarchy to its knees. While Quinn plays Robin Hood, the rescued Prince Harold is learning about the lives of his people and falling head over heels for Wade. The Sheriff captures Quinn and schedules him for execution, but he is spared when Prince Harold intervenes and deposes himself in order to try out an experiment in democracy.

Worlds Visited

Waterworld

Sure, San Francisco may look dry, but that’s during low tide. Wait for high tide and you’ll see seven story tsunamis coming your way. Here the polar ice caps have melted leaving the city of San Francisco hundreds of feet underwater.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

British World

He shoots, he scores. An assassin’s bullet felled George Washington in the critical days of the American Revolution, leading to continued colonialism around the world by Old Europe.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Details

  • A building in the city center is called Benedict Arnold Savings & Loan.
  • The license plates of the blue and burgundy Rolls Royce used by The Royal Colony Hotel are LD-618 and DYL200. It’s possible that one plate is for its use as a taxi cab and the other is a simple DMV plate.
  • BSA Today, “first in world news,” bears the following headlines:
    • Secret Love Tapes of Prince Harold Revealed
    • College-level literacy ‘less than impressive’
    • Pesticide use on hold
    • The Bad Boys of the Queen’s Park Rangers (likely a soccer/football team)
    • Serial Bomber Arrested
  • It appears that the paper is from early February, which means that it must be from 1995.
  • The San Francisco Register newspaper blares the bold headline “King Thomas Missing in French War! Sheriff of San Francisco named Acting Regent of Western British States until Prince Harold crowned next week.”
  • Another front page headline reads “The boys are rock’n” with a graphic of a soccer ball underneath. The reference to “boys” could also mean that the BSA Today headline concerning the Queen’s Park Rangers is a reference to a soccer team.
  • The license plate of the Sliders’ ‘borrowed’ car appears to read: A F-322.
  • The headlines in The Rumor tabloid include: “Prince Harold: ‘Poor at Home with their poverty.'”
  • The black license plate on the army transport appears to read 99KA 93 while the white plate reads R 492.
  • Sheriff Arturo’s talk show appears on station KDEK, the title of his book Everything I Say Is Right.
  • The banner headline in Casual Talk: The Recorder of the Nation reads: “Crime Wave: ‘Rob from the rich, give to the poor’ terrorists vow.
  • The paper is volume 14, issue 12 and bears a date of March 24 which contradicts the BSA Today Wade picked up earlier in the episode.
  • The raiders rob a store called Royal Family Jewelers at approximately 4:43 p.m.
  • The raiders’ next hit is an armored car from the K.K.B.[?]. company and the license plate appears to read DB-868.
  • Another issue of the BSA Today has headlines pertaining to the raiders crime spree including “Sheriff decrees martial law — middle class tax cut a goner,” “Agenda set to battle crime.” In the top right corner is a graphic of a soccer ball and a headline announcing “Soccer highlights” from the Queen’s Park Rangers.
  • A tabloid article, being read by a sandwich-eating technician as the raiders raid the press conference, reads: “Surely there is someone who can offer hope to my little boy.”
  • We see Ensign Bus Lines in the background.
  • At 0900 Quinn was being held under maximum security at the Mens Correctional Center.
  • The four are scheduled to slide at 12:17 a.m.

Character Information

  • Rembrandt says that he and his group once made Top of the Pops across the Atlantic in England.
  • Wade’s job at the Doppler Computer Superstore gives her Mondays and Wednesdays off.

Money Matters

  • The Sliders steal the contents of the till from a posh hotel by using Arturo’s likeness to his double, the Sheriff.
  • A car is provided to the Sliders by the same hotel.
  • The rest of their stay on British World is taken care of by the Oakland Raiders.

Notable Quotes

  • “A little more than you can afford? Ha, oh, you kill me, sir, you … I meant that as a pun of course.” — The sniveling hotel manager, who believes our Arturo is really the evil Sheriff Arturo.
  • “Equal rights for all regardless of race, religion or musical preference.” — Rembrandt, trying to sneak a new amendment into the Bill of Rights.
  • “Awe, the hell with it. You’re on your own, lad. Wing it.” — A frustrated and time-pressed Arturo while trying to remember the Bill of Rights for the prince’s speech.
  • “And remember, the reason why the sun never sets on the British Empire is because God doesn’t trust the British in the dark.” — Arturo’s departing words to Prince Harold.
  • “Who’s James Brown?” — Prince Harold and Rebecca, reading Rembrandt’s request that the Godfather of Soul get a quick mention in the new democracy.

Arturoisms


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  • “Oh, explain to this blithering idiot, will you.” — Referring to Prince Harold.
  • “Give the people an exhibition, they’ll beat a path to your door.”
  • “Never underestimate the foolishness of your opponent.”

Neatpicks

As the Sliders jump into the vortex to leave British World, there is a sign high above in the background that reads “Eaton’s,” which is a popular Canadian department store.

Rewind That!

Just after Sheriff Arturo finishes getting made-up for his second press conference, he stands before the mirror, removes the tissues stuck in his collar and whispers “God, I look good.”

Rewind That!

  • At the beginning, when Rembrandt complains about sliding, he says “Now you dropped us in a world where the polar ice caps must have melted and flooded the city,” but in closed captioning it says “Now we’re stuck in a San Francisco that’s been covered with melting ice”.
  • At one point, sheriff Arturo is talking on television, but you can’t hear him. The CC picks up his conversation: “You see, this is a government that cares….It wants to make sure that your lives are enriched…Look what the masters have taught us. I think back to Machiavelli, that major, major political thinker. What would Machiavelli have to say?”

History Lesson

On this world, the American colonists lost the Revolutionary War to the British and remained under the rule of the British Monarchy. George Washington was hanged in 1779 and as a result, his inspiration to take arms against oppressors never really caught on and none of the great revolutions in history took place. Today, the world is ruled by a handful of monarchies. The American territory is referred to as the British States of America.

Maximillian Arturo is the Sheriff of the Western Americas, and has executive power while King Thomas of Britain is lost on the battlefields of France. In an attempt to please the commoners, Arturo, established a 74% tax for the people.

The city of Oakland was never developed and the land is used as the private game reserve of Prince Harold III, prince of the Americas. Still, revolutionaries called Oakland Raiders, roam the woods.

Prince Harold’s father, King Thomas, was the most popular monarch of the 20th century.

The second Magna Carta gives the prince the power to relieve the sheriff from his post.

The Inside Slide

The working title for this episode in pre-production was “A Royal Pain.”

· · ·

“It’s going to be interesting to see the response to that one in the UK!” laughs Tormé. That was written by two writers who had just spent a year in England, and although they had many good things to say about the place, it was also their way of exorcising a lot of things they didn’t like — the food, British engineering breaking down… It was almost a parody of British things. I think in general terms, the show is fairly universal. Even the parts that deal with American history. A lot of Europeans know American history pretty well, so there really shouldn’t be a cross-cultural problem there.”

· · ·

The idea behind “Prince of Wails” served as the genesis of the series.

Tormé stumbled on one classic example of [alternate history] while researching a Revolutionary War project. He learned that eight enemy sharpshooters once took aim at George Washington as he was leading his army on horseback — and all missed.

“The only thing holding the army together at that time was Washington,” says Tormé. “So, if any of those eight guys is any kind of decent shot, Washington’s killed, the revolution is over, none of us are here and there is no United States.”

 

· · ·

The producers had originally meant for “Prince of Wails” to air the week following Summer of Love but Fox opted not to use the suggested order. As a result, the Sliders are dressed in hippie attire as they climb to the top of the Trans-America Tower at this episode’s opening because the flooding in this world was supposed to have been a result of the final tidal wave in Summer of Love. “FOX wanted the ability to always air the show in what ever order they chose and they thought that was much more important than the continuity of the show,” Tormé says. “They just really frowned on any endings that would lock them into running another show after it.” As a result of this tug-of-war, Tormé says that the people behind the show simply moved away from tying the end of one episode into the beginning of another. “We weren’t going to use [that plot device] every week but we wanted to be able to use it fairly frequently,” he says.

“But [Fox] just really wouldn’t let us do it, it just wasn’t worth the fight anymore because they just frowned on it so much, unfortunately.” It should be noted that when Fox repeated the first season’s episodes during the summer of 1995, the network did show the two episodes in the order that the producers intended.

· · ·

The prop newspapers, flyers and signs, which the Sliders rely so heavily on to get information about their current surroundings, are thanks to the property department head and his team. “Basically there’s somebody whose job it is to go through [the script] and pick all of those things out and make sure they’re done right,” Tormé says. “If we were in Vancouver we would look at them or if we were in L.A. they would fax them to us and we would either approve it or ask them to take a second stab at it.”

Guest Stars

Co-Starring

Unaccredited

  • The man who questions Arturo’s policies on the talk show.
  • The hotel manager.
  • The elderly couple who are robbed by the raiders.
  • The jeweler who chases the Raiders out of his store.
  • The armored car guard.
  1. Gary Jones reprises his role from the Pilot, a role he would take over again in Time Again and WorldTime Again and World.
  2. Gerard Plunkett would return as the superstar priest in Gillian of the Spirits.

In Brief

Written by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin
Production # 70403
Network # SL-104
Directed by Felix Alcala
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Edited by Alan Shefland

Chronology

Previously:
Next:

In Review

B-
Good

In interviews, series co-creator Tracy Tormé has talked openly about the idea of a world where the United States lost the Revolutionary War as the genesis of the show. This is his vision made manifest.

Read the review »

Logline

In a world where England won the Revolutionary War, the Sliders are embroiled in an assassination plot involving the heir to the throne and an evil Sheriff of San Francisco.