Interview with D.G. Chichester

Written by: Earth Prime · October 01, 1996

Just picture the ad copy…

“Come and join us on a vacation to end all vacations! Travel to distant and wondrous lands… meet exotic people from every walk of life… and experience thrills enough to last you a lifetime!”

Disclaimer: Participants in this program may never get back home!

That’s the challenge that Sliders offers… care to take a trip?

Every Friday night, the good folks over at Fox TV give us a sneak peek into alternate worlds, where life on Earth is familiar, but with a few fairly spectacular differences. For example, San Francisco may be populated solely by females, or maybe its zoo is stocked with dinosaurs, or maybe it’s a maximum security penitentiary. Whatever it might be, young quantum physicist Quinn Mallory, computer whiz Wade Wells, soul singer Rembrandt “Cryin’ Man” Brown and the pompous Professor Arturo are forced to travel these dimensional planes as Sliders, always hoping that the next slide will be the one that takes them home.

Just to add a few more wrinkles to the mix, Acclaim Comics is offering a whole new multitude of worlds to explore in the Sliders comic miniseries. Writer D.G. Chichester inaugurated the comics by bringing readers right into the heart of some of the deadliest foes our Sliders will ever face. Sliders Asst. Editor Jeof Vita sat down with D.G. Chichester to get his take on the madness and the mayhem that is Sliders.

How did you prepare to take on Sliders?

Well, Acclaim sent me, oh, somewhere around umpteen hours of the show on videotape which I watched in just under a day and a half. It got to the point where I started using the phrase, “blistering idiot” to anyone and everyone, no matter what the situation!

Other than that, I picked up a copy of the book Quinn Mallory was reading in the pilot episode. It’s called Hyperspace, and it’s this really heady, gray-cell churning non-fiction book that dealt with quantum mechanics and tachyons and stuff. Of the entire piece, I’d say 99% was over my head because of these long strings of Einsteinian equations. But I did use a lot of the info and incorporated what I could into the stories. I think it helped out the stories because it shows there is some basis for the science and Quinn actually has some foundation for all the techno-speak he spouts, so it’s not just a gimmick.

Are you a fan of the show?

Oh yeah, I was a big fan of the show well before the comic opportunity came around. It’s just such a great “What if…” concept, where the possibilities are endless. It’s also got a great cast of characters that are engaging and create a nice screen chemistry that really allows you to feel for them. The creators of the show have really struck a great balance of hyper-adventure with a sense of humor.

How much fun is it to create Earth in your own image?

That’s some dangerous stuff! Sometimes, I’ll let that mentality get the better of me and I’ll walk up to people in a supermarket and tell them what to do just because I think I can! Actually though, it’s been a lot of fun. With the comics, we were told that there are no holds barred and that really gives us room to draw up some outlandish tales. It’s very empowering but the challenge is to keep the whole thing locked in to the characters. I think the fans appreciate that. I do some trolling on the net to see how the fans are reacting to the stories and it’s pretty obvious that they know who these characters are and it would be a disservice to them and the show if we didn’t live up to that. As crazy as the worlds might get, the last thing I want to do is create some goofy world just for the sake of creating a goofy world. Keeping some basis in reality can only strengthen the overall story.

What is your favorite world so far?

On the show, I really liked the episode where the meteor was hurtling towards earth. There was a lot of characterization there between all of the players, which is something I try to do. I also liked Gillian of the Spirits for much the same reason. I think both of those stories were really character driven and it was much more “real.” As for the comics, I’m fond of the Ultimatum storyline, especially since we got to go wild and explore two worlds that are so opposed to each other — literally Heaven and Hell. Although it’s not required reading for Sliders fans to enjoy Darkest Hour, what happens to the Sliders in this miniseries is based on part of the fall-out from Ultimatum.

Jerry O’Connell is writing a plot, too. It’s called Sliders Special: Narcotica. Your thoughts?

I WANT A WALK-ON ON THE SLIDERS SHOW! I want that in print, too! Now don’t get me wrong, I like Jerry O’Connell a lot as an actor, but if he’s trying to horn in on my territory, then I just think it’s fair for me to get a little something out of it. I can stand in the background, I can read a line, I can react to a portal opening up, or whatever. Then maybe afterwards, they can give me a Sliders baseball cap to mark the occasion. Now, as for his story, I’m really looking forward to it. As with all of our stuff, Jerry’s really pushing the envelope with what we can get away with in the comics. With his Narcotica, he’s got a chance to really play with social commentary and make a statement. That’s the best part of these comics. Fans should feel like they are getting stuff in the comics that isn’t second-rate rehashes of the show. In fact, they should feel like they’re getting stuff that is of equal or even greater quality than what they are used to.

Sliders co-creator Tracy Tormé is a fan of the comics. Have you talked with him about your plots?

Tracy has been fantastic. He’s been involved since day one. The first miniseries, Sliders, grew out of a discussion over his view of the comic’s direction. Tracy gave me a brief description of some ideas that he wanted to play with — ideas that Fox wasn’t ready to to do at the time — and gave it to us to run with. One afternoon, Tracy and I held a conference call with Acclaim, and we spoke at length for a good hour or so about the first issue. He really shared his thoughts about the stuff and gave us a green light and a vote of confidence to what we were planning. He encouraged us several times to go for broke and have fun with the whole concept. Thanks Tracy!

Tormé has hinted that he could believe in the possibility of interdimensional travel. How about you?

I think it is certainly as valid as other theories out there. I believe in the definite possibility. Given the vast state of the universe and the fact that we know just a precious little of what is out there, a case can be made that there are other alternatives operating on slightly different frequencies than our own.

Let’s say there’s one world where instead of William Shakespeare, people were reading the complete works of D.G. Chichester. How would life be different?

Oh boy. Well, I guess instead of kids groaning over having to read complex English accents and phrases, they’d be complaining about having to learn a new phrasing system that works in fractured segments and syntax! One definite outcome would be a generation of people with silly haircuts — short on top and sides with a weird ponytail growing out of the back of their heads. That would be my legacy. Other than that, Americans would have the right to be really snotty about their literary backgrounds as opposed to the British today.

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