Marc Scott Zicree

Written by: Lloyd Quinto · December 08, 1997

In 1997, Lloyd Quinto sent an email to Marc Scott Zicree, incoming head writer and producer of Sliders, to welcome him to the show and wish him well. Along with the email, he sent a series of questions related to the fourth season of and was quite surprised when he actually responded!

Thanks to Marc Zicree for generously taking the time and effort to sit down and answer the questions. Sliders definitely looks like it’s heading in the right direction! Here now are Zicree’s detailed, exciting, shocking and very honest answers:

In general, what can you tell us about the 4th season and what can we look forward to?

Regarding Season 4, we’re doing 22 episodes for the Sci-Fi Channel to debut in June. We’re shooting here in LA, with location work and stuff on the back lot. I’m writing three episodes (my second one Slidecage is shooting now), co-exec producer is writing four, exec story editor Chris Black is writing three and exec producer David Peckinpah has written one, the season opener, entitled Genesis. The episodes are great fun and very diverse. We’re in great shape, shooting episode 9 now with 15 scripts in hand. In addition to the names I’ve mentioned, David Gerrold is writing one and Richard Manning (Star Trek: TNG) is writing two. We also hope to have D.C. Fontana write one for us. If we get another season, Joe Haldeman and Harry Turtledove have expressed interest in pitching to us. I’ve also talked to Connie Willis and a number of other SF pros about coming up with some ideas down the road.

What types of episodes can fans expect in the 4th season? (i.e. historical, character driven, fantasy, action/adventure, humorous, flashy special effects with 0 plot, rip-off/homage)

What types of stories can you expect? Good character-driven stories, logical and imaginative SF. No more movie ripoffs thank God. Lots of social satire and what-if stuff. Also “if-this-goes-on.” No fantasy or magic. We’ll have some great opticals, though they won’t run the show. My own rule with my own scripts is that they be stories I’ve never seen before (and that the writing be good, naturally). So far, with my two scripts World Killer and Slidecage I’ve succeeded. I’ve very excited and entertained by what the other guys on the show have written, too. It’s going to be a very fun season. Plenty of humor, good action, thought-provoking stories.

How will Sliders differ from the FOX micro-managed Sliders to the Sci-Fi Channel’s Sliders?

Sliders on the Sci-Fi Channel will differ in this way — their only edict to us was, “Make it smart.” Yay!

Since you started watching old episodes of Sliders, what is your favorite/least favorite episodes?

Among my favorite of the previous Sliders episodes was The Guardian, in which Quinn deals with the loss of his father. One of my least favorite was the Island of Dr. Moreau one. In fact, in one of the scripts we’re working on now, Quinn tells someone of that and they reply, “That was in a book I read by H.G. Wells!” We’ll see if that makes it to the screen…

In general, what do you like about the series and what still needs improvement?

What do I like and what needs improvement? This year, we’re all in accord how to make the show better, we’re all jazzed at what we’re creating and the cast and crew are equally thrilled. It’s a joy to come to work. As to what needs improvement, you read the pages as they’re written, watch the dailies, see what works and what doesn’t, adjust as best you can, learn from your mistakes. We have not yet stopped ourselves from doing any story based on budget. The challenge is to create imaginative worlds using what we’ve got at hand. But there’s a lot at hand. Example: In Slidecage, I was able to get hold of all the standing sets from the cancelled Timecop series and also terrific costumes from Waterworld. So the episode looks like a feature film, the sets alone cost $500,000. This is in the tradition of The Twilight Zone, which used a ton of stuff from Forbidden Planet and Star Trek, which drew upon stuff from Outer Limits.

One of the biggest loss to Sliders has been the death of The Professor. Is there any chance that John Rhys-Davies will be rejoining the cast or at least making a guest appearance in the fourth season?

Arturo won’t be back for now.

We’re sad to hear that Sabrina Lloyd will be leaving the series. Will Sabrina appear in the premier episode and is there any chance of Sabrina rejoining the cast or at least making a guest appearance in the fourth season?

Wade is not in any episodes so far this season. But we deal with how our characters face the loss of her.

One of the major points of criticism of the 3rd season was the poorly executed introduction of Maggie Beckett who suffered from poor planning, bad characterization, bad motivation, and too much emphasis on her physical attributes while not enough emphasis on making her a three-dimensional character. What has been done to improve/reinvent the character of Maggie Beckett?

Maggie Beckett. You’re going to be amazed at the change. She’s assertive but compassionate, a person you’d want to know. We have done a lot this season to make her someone we all like. And Kari has been thrilled at what we’ve given her to do. She’s a talented and hard-working actress, a truly sweet person. This season, you’ll get to see all that, and more.

What can you tell us about the new character of Colin Mallory (is the correct spelling “Colin” or “Collin?”) and new cast member Charlie O’Connell?

Colin is Quinn’s brother, who grew up on a non-technological alternate Earth. He’s smart but not savvy about 20th Century stuff, much like Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. He’s played by Charlie O’Connell, Jerry’s real life brother. You’ll meet him in episode six and he’ll be with us from there on out. The fun part is that this character isn’t just a second Quinn, who’s a totally new personality for a Slider and it’s very fun to see his “outsider’s” take on things we all take for granted. Bill Dial, who wrote brilliantly funny stuff for WKRP and other sitcoms has made Colin into a delightful character.

We love to hear the Cryin’ Man sing! Will he be singing in the 4th season?

Yeah, Remmy will sing more this season. We like it. One gag I had in World Killer that was unfortunately cut for time had Remmy seeing a full-size cut-out of himself in a music store window dressed as Pagliacci. In this world, he was another Pavorotti.

How will Rembrandt’s role in the group change when he becomes the oldest Slider?

In terms of Rembrandt’s role changing, he’ll come to be relied on as the steady one, the wise one. We’ll continue to explore his belief in God and his gospel roots. We’ll play humor with him, but we’ll laugh with him rather than at him. He’s smart, compassionate, steady.

Will any of the previous story lines be resolved, such as the revelation of the true identity of the Professor in “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome,” the return of Logan St. Clair, or the FBI following the Sliders?

As to resolving Logan St. Clair, the fake Arturo, the FBI tracking the Sliders, etc., we haven’t pursued any of that. We are, however, bringing back the Kromaggs in a big way. We’ve batted some of the other stuff around in-house, but haven’t come up with any stories that spark for us. And we don’t want to do anything that we don’t feel strongly about.

Will there be any new recurring characters and will any of our old favorites return? (i.e. Bennish, Gomez Calhoun, Quinn’s parents, Wing, Ross J. Kelly, & Diggs)

As to recurring characters, we haven’t pursued that much. Four Sliders and various Kromaggs is plenty.

How much of an involvement will the Kromaggs play in trying to stop the sliders? Will they be mentioned in every episode? What are the logistics involved in bringing heavily made-up characters into episodes where you’re trying to keep the budget down?

The Kromaggs will be an ongoing threat to our guys, and we’ll deepen and expand our understanding of them with each episode that features them. But they won’t take over the show. At this point, it looks like 6 of the 22 will be Kromagg or Kromagg-related. And each of them is different from the others. The makeup is a redesign of what you’ve already seen, we like it better. We tend to have a more-detailed Kromagg design for our lead Kromaggs and less-detailed for the spear-carriers. Not a budget-breaker. In Slidecage we had something like 20 of them.

Will there be any romantic involvement among the Sliders, in particular, between Maggie & Quinn?

As to Quinn/Maggie’s romance, right now we’re down-playing it. They’re friends on a great adventure, they care about each other, there’s a mutual attraction but they’re not acting on it for now. But as to their fantasies…

Will Tracy Tormé return in any capacity to Sliders in the 4th season?

Tracy is an advisor but is onto other projects. We talk to him periodically, it’s friendly and good. In terms of his complaints about the show last year, the above notes should indicate that we’re in accord with a lot of what was bothering him and have fixed it, or at least tried to.

Thank you for your time and effort, Mr. Zicree. By the way, is there any chance of making a small reference to Henry the Dog from “Luck of the Draw?” I happen to love that sliding dog!

As to Henry the dog, no promises, but I’ll look into it. Cheers.

Once again, thank you and we’ll all hope that Sliders will become a huge success!

« »