After slide after slide attempting to get home, the timer picks an inopportune time to burn out — the empty city of San Francisco is besieged by a plague of Spiderwasps. Rembrandt and Wade are able to escape, but the vortex collapses behind them. A second tunnel is opened just in time to ferry Quinn and Arturo away, but there is no sign of the others.
Unknown to them, all four have landed in an America still fighting the culture wars of the 1960s. Rembrandt and Wade’s slide is witnessed by a wealthy faction of hippies who revere them as prophets. The two scientists fare worse, holing up in a loft to repair the timer. Rembrandt, believing himself trapped forever, takes the place of his deceased double only to find the funeral had been premature. While escaping his outraged wife, he reunites with Quinn and Arturo as they flee from Oliver North’s newly empowered FBI. The damage to the timer prevents it from opening a tunnel at will. It can only access the gate at a specific time which it now counts down toward.
Venezuelan labs are about as secure as you’d expect — unfortunately, that means that they’ve released deadly hybrid spiderwasps into the wild.
Who would’ve thought losing the Battle of the Coral Sea would push the peace movement back 30 years? Or lead to the election of Oliver North and the suspension of civil rights?
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.
Watching Rembrandt listen to his own funeral while hungrily devouring a doughnut and then bump his head in a door way while being carried around the room. A classic scene.
On Hippie World, the U.S. lost the battle of the Coral Sea during World War II and the Japanese invaded Australia. When the Nazis surrendered, the Russians entered the Pacific war and helped liberate North Australia. But they didn’t give it back after the war. In 1995, the north was attacking the “Outback Cong” south and the similarities to the Vietnam War prompts Arturo to assess: “Different Earths, identical mayhem.” (Alternate America’s strained ties with Australia are later re-explored in second season’s Love Gods.)
Once the completed shows started arriving at Fox, the broadcast order of the shows diverted from the continuity established in a certain number of the shows. “There was a very specific order,” says show co-creator Robert K. Weiss. “We’d had a lot of discussion at the outset about how tightly the shows should interlock, because when shows go into syndication, they are often not shown in the order they were broadcast; it turns out that many one-hour shows that must be seen chronologically don’t fare very well. So we didn’t want to do too much of that. However, since we had our characters escaping one world to slide into the next, we had a built-in problem.
“As we laid out the air order, it all would have made sense. When the network started seeing the shows as they came in, their consideration was how to build viewership. They wanted to start with what they felt was stronger material, and that was how ‘Fever‘ moved up in the viewing order.
“They were absolutely right, because if you start off with weak shows, you’re never going to build an audience. But it affected us in two ways; it affected how we went in and out of shows, and it also affected a couple of shows internally.
“For example, there was an explanation of the timer in the ‘Summer of Love’ episode, which was originally to follow the Pilot. On each slide, a window would open up after a predetermined amount of time, which was random. So, each time they arrive on a world, they look at the timer, which tells them how much time they have before that ‘window of opportunity’ opens up. They miss that window, and they’re stranded for 29.7 years.
“So when the air order was changed, that scene didn’t play properly, and we eliminated it. When we went into repeats, there was some discussion of what order they should be rebroadcast, but — as they weren’t about to re-edit the episode to put that material back in — we decided that there was no point in going back to the original air order. For the purists who are out there spotting there ‘continuity errors,’ they are absolutely right, but it was done for the overall benefit of the series.”
· · ·
“[Fox] did not like the way ‘Summer of Love’ was directed […they felt it was] too static,” Tracy Tormé says. “I think … it was behind schedule and went a bit over budget.” As a result, Tormé feels that Fox “turned on” the director, Canadian Mario Azzopardi.
“Unfortunately, that happens way too often in this business. Somebody doesn’t like someone for a dumb reason and it stinks. They weren’t thrilled with what he did on that show — I think he did a good job — but once that [snubbing] happens, it sometimes takes a couple of years for someone to wise up and use somebody again.”
· · ·
Fans may wonder what ever became of the FBI’s investigation of the sliding machine. Tracy Tormé explains:
“Well, the idea is that back on Earth, there’s somebody back here who pretty much dissected things and knows, and we even had an idea that there might be some FBI agents or people who would go after them at some point and get caught themselves in being lost from world to world,” he says. “So that was just another one of those things, you know, that we did a lot, that we sort of set up and then it was never taken anywhere. That was one of my favorite scenes, though. I like that scene [where] Bennish is hitting on a bong when the FBI shows up and they thought it was like a vase or something.”
· · ·
There were many things that were filmed for this episode (which was also the first one filmed of the season besides the Pilot) that didn’t end up making the final broadcast cut:
While Tormé wishes that such scenes don’t have to be snipped, he realizes that it’s a fact of television but still, as he says it’s “always painful.”
· · ·
Gerry Nairn’s role as crazy Mace Moon was also cut back not because of time, however, but because the concept of the Moon character didn’t evolve quickly enough.
“I’m a Moonatic, don’t be a lunatic, come on down and buy from me,” Tormé recalls, chanting the electronics store owner’s intended jingle. “That was a character who had a lot bigger part originally as written and then it got whittled down. It was supposed to be one of the running themes throughout this episode that you met Mace Moon in different incarnations.”
It was the creators’ intentions that viewers were supposed to see Moon on all three worlds in this episode and each time he was supposed to be a “I must be crazy to have prices this low” kind of character.
“It was an idea that wasn’t really fleshed out by the time it got to the screen,” Tormé says. “It was a lot better fleshed out on the page.”
· · ·
Another instance where “it worked better on paper” is the rest of the scene that has the hippies trying to equate the Sliders’ visit with the lyrics of a song. Tormé had originally written a full set of lyrics for the song though only a line or two make it into the final version.
“I just sort of saw these hippies as a lovable, naive group of dreamers,” Tormé explains. “I wrote this very Dylanish song called ‘The Summer of Love’ (see Song Lyrics) and it was supposed to be that the arrival of the Sliders fit the lyrics of that song in their goofy way of thinking and I guess I was sort of poking fun at people who find all kinds of things in song lyrics especially in the ’60s.”
Unfortunately, once more, the clock forced a knife on the extended scene.
“Again, which so often happens, it’s an idea that’s very well thought out on paper but by the time it’s been shot and edited it sort of becomes a lot less tangible.”
· · ·
Robert (Bob) Lee, who plays Agent Harold Yenn in this episode, has fond memories from his days on the Sliders set.
“I wish that time had been longer,” he says. “I spent four shooting days [and] I remember that everyone was very courteous and pleasant, from Jason Gaffney to John Rhys-Davies and Jerry O’Connell. That might not sound like much, but it’s not always the case in TV.”
But while the filming held fond memories for Lee, the end result left him speechless — literally.
“My least favorite memory was, when the show was first broadcast, finding out that my voice had been dubbed with someone who had more of a foreign accent, which is not how I did the part at all,” Lee recalls. “I sent a message to Tracy Tormé, who took the trouble to phone me in Seattle to say that he agreed with me that the dubbing was a mistake, that I sounded like something out of a ‘Godzilla’ movie, and that he hoped to bring back my character, and that my American voice would remain.”
|Written by||Tracy Tormé|
|Directed by||Mario Azzopardi|
|Music by||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Edited by||Leon Seith|
|Next:||Prince of Wails|
Tormé’s “testament” to the 60s comes off remarkably strong humor-wise. Just don’t expect any lasting consequences to come out of these outlandish situations.
The Sliders find themselves in a present-day San Francisco where the "Summer of Love" never ended – and Wade and Rembrandt are mistaken for extraterrestrial prophets.