Sliders


Quinn Mallory, a physics student at the University of California, accidentally discovers a means to form a portal to access, or “slide” to, other dimensions. To control this portal, he perfects a timer which allows him to return safely after each slide. Together with his good friend Wade Welles and his professor Maximillian Arturo, he intends to use this new invention to do a bit of exploring. A power overload inadvertently sucks washed-up singer Rembrandt Brown into the vortex as he drives by Quinn’s house, and all four are deposited into an icy San Francisco. Quinn believes they should wait the five hours he’d preset the timer for initially, but an ice tornado forces their hand. What they believe to be home is really another parallel dimension, this one dominated by the Soviet Union.

Rembrandt is arrested for using rebel currency and Wade is found out to be an alternate of an America rebel leader who is being held prisoner. A plan is hatched to rescue both Rembrandt and alt-Wade by having Arturo pose as the warden of the penitentiary. The raid is successful, though not without casualties. Quinn repairs the timer and the four slide again, only to find that they’ve become untethered in the multiverse.

Worlds Visited

Earth Prime

Basically, this is our world. Everything that we know of life on Earth also exists on this world — its history, pop culture and laws are all the same. Some fans argue that this really isn’t our world, in that on our world Quinn Mallory, Prof. Maximillian P. Arturo, Wade Kathleen Welles and Rembrandt Lee Brown would be actors on a television show, but for the sake of clarity, let’s assume that we’re watching a show about true events.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Elvis World

Very similar to Earth Prime, except for the global cooling, the ten-term President John F. Kennedy, Americans flocking to Mexico for jobs and some red light/green light confusion. Oh yeah, and compact discs lost out to vinyl. Still sound similar to you?

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Tundra World

Nuclear winter or a shifting of the earth’s axis? You be the judge, but the result is the same — frigid, uninhabitable wasteland.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Soviet World

The Domino Theory isn’t just pizza in under 30 minutes — The Russians, and communism, have swept the globe after an American loss in the Korean war.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Public Transit World

Virtually identical to Earth Prime on the surface except for one small thing — Quinn’s father is alive and well.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Details

  • Quinn’s sweatshirt in the video diary shot has the San Jose Sharks logo on it.
  • A bumper sticker on Quinn’s telescope reads: “I break for asteroids.”
  • Quinn’s alarm wakes him up at 6:59 am.
  • Sign at the entrance reads “Keep Golden Gate Park Clean.”
  • Arturo’s class is in Lecture Hall A.
  • Quinn drives across Pacific with the 1400 addresses to his right.
  • The billboard of Elvis advertises that he’s now appearing live at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
  • Attorney Ross J. Kelley’s phone number is 1-800-555-1948.
  • The answer to Quinn’s black board equation is Xr12 Å over *. Arturo calls it “proof of a unified field theory. The Holy Grail of theoretical physics.”
  • Pavel Kurlienko’s Golden Bay Cab Company driver’s number is 20394M3, issued by the police department’s board of taxicab companies. His cab’s license plate number is 3D866U4 and the cab number is 43.
  • The statue on Soviet World is of Lenin.
  • While Quinn and Wade are walking down a burned-out city street, a campaign poster in the background reads: “Let A Winner Lead The Way.”
  • Rembrandt is being kept in cell #10.

Character Information

  • Items in Quinn’s bedroom include a San Jose hockey jersey, a basketball net, a telescope (later established in The Guardian as being given to Quinn by his father), a surfboard (Jerry O’Connell is a surfing enthusiast in real life), model dinosaurs (Quinn later says in Last Days that paleontology is a hobby of his), a San Francisco 49ers hat, an Oakland A’s hat, Quinn’s cat Schrödinger, a hardcover copy of Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension by theoretical physics professor Michio Kaku, and a poster of Albert Einstein.
  • Quinn’s father died when he was hit by a car while on his way to work.
  • Quinn has two semesters of school left before he graduates.
  • Quinn began working on the mathematical sliding equation sometime in July of 1994.
  • The license plate of Quinn’s blue BMW 2002 is 3PCE295.
  • Quinn is right-handed, as is Arturo.
  • Professor Arturo has authored a thesis on “Chiral Field Anomalies” and a paper concerning “Coset Wormholes and Keller Orbifolds.”
  • At the Doppler Computer Superstore, Quinn works as a technician while Wade works in sales.
  • Wade has at least one ex-boyfriend.
  • Rembrandt recorded “Cry Like a Man” with his group The Spinning Topps and left them to go solo shortly thereafter. While Rembrandt’s career has floundered, the Topps went on to chart 13 No. 1 hits.
  • Rembrandt’s first solo album, “Toppless,” reached sales of 100,000 copies in September of 1973. Rembrandt himself has appeared on at least two magazine covers.
  • The license plate on Rembrandt’s red Cadillac convertible reads “CRYN MAN.”
  • Quinn had a black lab named Bopper that ran away as a puppy.
  • Arturo enjoys sake.
  • Arturo and Quinn both enjoy watching Jeopardy, particularly the Tournament of Champions week.
  • Quinn’s front gate has been squeaking since he was 12 years old.
  • In the early 1970s, Rembrandt tried singing gospel music. (Which he demonstrates later in this episode with “Amazing Grace” and in The Exodus, part II with “Way Over Yonder.”
  • Alt-Arturo is Citizen General of the Western Sector of the People’s Army.
  • Alt-Rembrandt was killed in the Detroit Uprising of 1982.

Money Matters

  • Many of the Sliders problems start when Arturo hands a vendor an American dollar bill and Rembrandt does the same to Pavel the cab driver.
  • At the end of the episode, Quinn unloads a big chunk of cash by quietly giving it to Crazy Kenny the homeless man. The money in that wad doesn’t really resemble American money so it’s possible that Quinn gave Kenny the last of the Soviet currency he had on Russia World.
  • On Public Transit World, Arturo casually requests that Rembrandt pay the cab driver, which he does.

Quinn’s Video Diary

  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1994: Quinn accidentally invents the timer prototype which first opens the vortex.
  • Thursday, Sept. 21, 1994: After days of study, Quinn concludes that the mouth of the vortex is some sort of portal to “another existence.”
  • Sunday, Sept. 24, 1994: Not on the video though Quinn says that he perfected the timer on this night.
  • Monday, Sept. 25, 1994: Quinn has spent the last three days sending objects into the vortex including a paper airplane, a Rubik’s Cube, a model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a basketball.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 26, 1994: Quinn announces that he himself will try entering the gate.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1994: Quinn and his companions take the quantum leap into the vortex. (Though this is a Wednesday in real life, FBI Agent Harold Yenn in Summer of Love says that the four have been missing since Tuesday. Also, in Prince of Wails, Wade says that her job gives her Mondays and Wednesdays off, however she must have been covering a shift for someone because she’s working on the Wednesday that Quinn tries out the vortex.)

Notable Quotes

  • “Hey, don’t get smart with me. This computer store pays your rent, mister. If it weren’t for my mistakes you’d be out of a job.” — Arrogant boss Michael Hurley demonstrating that it is usually better to think about what you’re going to say before you say it.
  • “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I think I’ve just seen God and I could’ve sworn he was driving a Cadillac.” — Arturo, referring to Rembrandt’s unexpected drive through the vortex.
  • “Well I wouldn’t go that far.” — Arturo, to Wade, who announces that sliding is better than sex.
  • “Wait a minute, that don’t sound right. Must be playin’ a Canadian team.” — Rembrandt’s response to Russian national anthem.
  • “Don’t you mean fifteen dollars?” — Rembrandt to Judge Wapner in response to the sentence of 15 years in an Alaskan gulag.

Arturoisms


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  • “My stomach has no political preferences.” — Before buying a kielbasa.
  • “You blithering Idiot.” — to Wilkins.

Nitpicks/Errors

  • Despite the frigidness of Tundra World, the Sliders’ breath isn’t visible.
  • Wade says she scored some hockey tickets for the weekend, presumably a Sharks game as they’re featured prominently in Quinn’s attire. Must have been an exhibition game as the Sharks season wasn’t scheduled to open for another 2 weeks. However, 1994-95 was the year of the lockout and the first game didn’t occur until February. Coincidentally, the pilot aired after the lockout had become historical fact.

Rewind That!

  • While fleeing down the alley, Arturo looks at his recently purchased kielbasa, groans and then throws it up into the air, angry that he won’t get to eat it.
  • Watch the reactions of the Sliders when Mike Mallory walks into the Mallory household.

History Lesson

Tundra World is a frozen mess, the devastation fairly severe. The Golden Gate Bridge has been decimated, and San Francisco’s skyline looks rotted and decrepit.

The Quinn Mallory of this world had a younger sister and never lost his dog Bopper, a black labrador retriever, before the cataclysm came. It’s unknown if he and his family slid before the devastation, but the basement lab wasn’t there, so it isn’t likely.

· · ·

On Soviet World, America lost the Korean War in the 1950s, which opened the door for the Sino/Soviet Empire to make a bid for world domination. First, the empire conquered Indochina, then Europe and finally South America. Eventually, in what’s called the Domino Theory, the United States became politically and economically cut off from the rest of the world. In the end, there weren’t any allies for the Americans to call upon and Russia finally had its way with the U.S.A. As a result, many of the Soviet Union’s societal traits came over to America.

In this America, there is only one communications company called the People’s Telephone and Telegraph which branches off into two services, PT&T and PT&T 2. These government-controlled firms don’t allow direct calls so callers must first identify themselves to the operator with a telephone permit number then the call will be made through that operator. Failure to provide the identification number violates section 33956 of the California Penal Code and prompts and investigation from a communication security team.

Anyone even suspected of being a fascist sympathizer is forced to stand trial in the “People’s Court.” On Earth Prime, the “People’s Court” is a televised small claims court but on Russia World, it’s a televised criminal court.

The Russian one dollar (or ruble) bill is similar to the American dollar except that the ink is red instead of green, the saying reads “in the state we trust” and the picture replacing George Washington is that of 1960s Russian Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev.

Political prisoners are sent to the NorCal Federal Penitentiary, which is run by Maximillian Arturo.

The Inside Slide

“The inspiration for Sliders was twofold,” says Tracy Tormé. “I was reading about George Washington nearly getting killed in the American Revolution, and I wondered, ‘What might have happened had the bullet hit him just a few inches from where it did?’ There would have been no United States, and I would never have been born.”

· · ·

“It had been a concurrent thought in both my mind and in Tracy’s,” says Robert K. Weiss. “For years, I’d wanted to do a show about parallel worlds. I’d been a great Time Tunnel fan, and there had been a few Twilight Zone shows about alternate realities that stuck with me. Over the years, there have been a few series involving time travel, but nothing about parallel universes.

“The shorthand in my head for this was ‘Time Tunnel sideways,’ where it was the present year in each visited universe, but small or large details were different, with alternate histories and cultures producing variations on our own.

“Tracy, meanwhile, had read a story that, if I recall properly, concerned a world where George Washington had been killed in a Revolutionary War battle, and how things had turned out differently. Then he and I met, and right around that time, Discover magazine ran a story about parallel universes, and right on the cover was an illustration depicting parallel Earths, multiple images of the planet with each one colored a bit differently — in fact, you’ll see some resonance with that image in our main title.

“So when the two of us began to talk about working together, and this particular topic came up, we wound up talking for hours. We made a list of the Earths we might like to visit, and that’s what sparked it. We decided to work together on this as co-creators.”

· · ·

“Parallel universes are not a wild theory, they’re now accepted as fact,” says Weiss. “Scientists can’t explain quantum physics unless they assume that multiple worlds really exist.”

“If alternate worlds do exist, someone will discover them by accident, a scenario which we mirror in our show,” adds Tormé. “In Sliders, our lead character is not looking for parallel universes, but it happens when he’s working on something else.”

In science circles, there is some confusion as to the origin of Einstein-Rosen-Pudalski Bridge because the bridge is more commonly known as the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.

“[The Pudalski part] was something that Bob Weiss insisted on and we later found out that he was kind of confused,” Tracy Tormé says with a chuckle. “There were actually some arguments at the time and the director [Andy Tennant] was convinced that it was Einstein-Rosen and Bob was convinced it was Einstein-Rosen-Pudalski and Bob, being the executive producer, won the argument.

“I think it was actually a mistake,” Tormé admits, “and then we sort of stuck with it so it’s almost like a running joke.”

· · ·

Tormé says he came up with the idea of Quinn’s video diary to serve as a kind of prologue to give the audience some insight as to what has been happening in the Mallory basement for the last few months.

“The video diary was really a device that I created to try to get the technical back story into the viewers’ head as quickly, and hopefully, as visual as possible.”

· · ·

According to the September video diary, Quinn created the bulky timer prototype on September 13 — which also happens to be the birthday of Tracy Tormé’s father, singer Mel Tormé.

“I tend to do that in a lot of my scripts,” Tormé admits. “I always put little things, names, characters, whatever, into them that have some meaning for me.”

Other inside character names include Bennish, named after Tormé’s friend since the second grade who has a lot of the same hippie-like characteristics.

“He’s not a physicist, but he’s a smart guy,” he says. “And that was funny because his mother saw the show and called up and said ‘Oh my God, my son’s a drug addict!’ and freaked out. It was great.”

Reportedly, the character of Michael Hurley is based on former Star Trek: The Next Generation producer-writer Maurice Hurley whom Tormé worked with during ST:TNG‘s first and second seasons. When asked about the connection, Tormé chuckled and said only “you’ll have to use your imagination with that one.”

Also, the name [Ross J.] Kelley pays homage the popular Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly who helped Tormé write the song “Cry Like a Man,” as well as Larry H. Parker, a popular shyster lawyer in Los Angeles with commercials similar to the one seen in the show.

· · ·

Tormé gives some insight into the genesis of the classic scene in which Rembrandt, getting ready for his big comeback, comes out of the bathroom sporting numerous ’cause’ ribbons on his lapel.

“I saw the character … as a guy who was really out of touch with the world,” Tormé says. “He had been a big star [but] as soon as he left his group they had 13 number one singles and now he’s like playing bar mitzvahs on the side and [the anthem] is going to be his big comeback, you know? So, originally, when he stepped around the corner and he was wearing a red ribbon … and the deal was that he didn’t know what the red ribbon meant. He had just seen all these people wearing at thought ‘Oh, this is cool,’ you know ‘I’m back!’ Well that, of course, caused a big problem [with the network]. That was one battle we could never win because they thought we were going to offend the gay audience or offend people who were into the AIDS issue and all that. So then we put eight ribbons on him. That was the solution to that.”

· · ·

Rembrandt may not have made it to Candlestick in the final cut, but his version of the National Anthem was filmed.

“We did shoot [that scene],” Tormé says. “We went up to Candlestick Park in San Francisco, and in fact, the Atlanta Braves were playing here, and 40,000 people were attending and Cleavant went out to the pitcher’s mound, we all stood out next to him. It was really exciting. He sang his version of the national anthem before the game and with the cameras on him and his version is hilarious, it’s like an eight minute version. And the people in the stands had no idea what we were doing but they loved it. They just gave him a huge ovation afterwards. And we had planned to use that in a scene where he’s in jail in communist America and he’s daydreaming [about] singing the national anthem in Candlestick Park. And that was not in the [episode] because that was an editorial decision. That kind of slowed the story down a little bit at that point.”

· · ·

Two classic out-takes that regularly makes an appearance in the office blooper tape have to do with John Rhys-Davies trying to perform his own stunt work.

“John decided in the Pilot that he was going to do his own stunts,” Tormé says. “One [blooper occurred] when we were running, you know that shot that we use a lot where they’re coming across the bridge and they’re silhouette and we use it [in the opening credits] of the show and there’s a lot of smoke and stuff. They ended up diving into the wormhole near the statue of Lincoln in the park and John just landed … I mean, John dove into this flower bed [beside the statue] like an anvil … and, uh, we were like ‘Oh no!’ and he dusted himself off. He was a total trooper.

“Then there was a scene where they’re escaping the Soviet prison and John has to roll underneath a truck and come up on the other side. And I was watching on the monitor. This was like [at] three in the morning in Vancouver on like a freezing night and there’s John, he’s dressed as a KGB general, and he starts to roll under the truck and I hear this horrible clang. Then he comes up on the other side with a gash, and [he was] bleeding. He hit a pipe or something when he was rolling.”

Tracy Tormé also made a brief appearance. Miss him? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

“I had a cameo … as one of the American underground revolutionaries but it ended up on the cutting room floor,” he says.

· · ·

“The Communist world was fun to visit, and it was interesting to see what the world would be like if it as all governed by Communism, but I really wouldn’t want to live there!” enthuses Jerry O’Connell. “I was happy when they yelled ‘Wrap!’ and I was able to go home to watch my choice of capitalist TV stations!”

For O’Connell, the most interesting shot was the group’s arrival on Ice World. “We were supposed to have gone to an ice world,” he says. “They put snow on an entire street — foam and snow on houses for an entire square block. I had never really seen anything like that before in my entire life — I thought it was pretty extravagant!”

· · ·

At a Fox press conference on Jan. 14, 1995, Robert K. Weiss told television reporters that he might like to bring Judge Wapner and Doug Llewellyn back for another cameo in the future. “I mean, we’ve even talked about situations where we might return to the “People’s Court” and this time Rusty the bailiff is the judge and Judge Wapner is the interviewer outside and Doug Llewellyn is the bailiff,” he said.

Tormé, however, adds that the network really didn’t understand the subtle humor in the “People’s Court” segment.

“… [It] really horrified them because they thought, you know, ‘You’re going to do this sort of comedy thing right in the middle of a sci-fi show. You’re going to lose the audience, and everyone in Cincinnati is going to turn the set off the second this happens.’ [But] I really fought them for this … and just said ‘It’s gonna work, trust me.’ So we got to shoot the Judge Wapner stuff with the attitude basically they had that they’ll probably cut it out and it’s probably not going to work, but they’ll at least let us shoot it. And so we shot it and it was one of the most popular things that we did.”

Guest Stars

Featuring

Unaccredited

Also unaccredited are Montague, the two executives in the computer store, the dim-witted construction worker in the Ross J. Kelley commercial, the angry driver who chastises Quinn, Remmy’s back-up singers on the music video, Rembrandt’s prison guard and the man in the trenchcoat who demands to see the Sliders’ papers.

  1. Linda Henning reprises her role as Amanda Mallory in The Guardian, The Exodus, part I, Genesis and The Seer.
  2. Yee Jee Tso later appears briefly in Fever.
  3. Gary Jones appears as Michael Hurley in Prince of Wails and Time Again and WorldTime Again and World.
  4. John Novak returns as Ross J. Kelley in Into the Mystic.
  5. Don Mackay plays Artie Field again in Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome.
  6. Alex Bruhanski stars as Pavel again in Fever and Into the Mystic.
  7. Tom Butler plays Quinn’s dad again in Gillian of the Spirits.
  8. Jason Gaffney would return as Bennish in Summer of Love, Last Days and in Invasion. Gaffney is, surprisingly, not listed among the guest cast members but he is clearly seen, and mentioned by name, in Arturo’s classroom.

In Brief

Written by Tracy Tormé & Robert K Weiss
Production # 83535
Network # SL-101 & SL-102
Directed by Andy Tennant
Music by Dennis McCarthy
Edited by Ron Spang

Chronology

Next:

In Review

A-
Great

The final sequence, which is perfectly realized, showcases just what kind of emotional resonance traveling to different worlds can have. Arturo’s speech on the dangers of sliding, Rembrandt’s thoughts of gospel music, Quinn’s overwhelming enthusiasm… all leading to a crushing conclusion where they realize that their journey is far from over.

Read the review »

Logline

While researching anti-gravity, brilliant grad student Quinn Mallory accidentally opens an inter-dimensional portal which sends him and three companions on a cosmic roller-coaster ride to parallel Earths.

Timer Status

As a result of its corruption on Tundra World, the timer's preset controls are shorted out, the Sliders' home coordinates erased and the drop off location control has been compromised. Arturo and Quinn fix the timer near the end of the episode and Arturo voices his belief that they will increase their chances of getting home by sliding out in the same location where they slid in — Golden Gate Park.