Twenty years ago, Sliders fans learned that third season episode “The Other Slide of Darkness” was born under a different name. It’s not uncommon – “The Fire Within” began life as “The Substance of Fire,” “The Prince of Slides” started as “The Once and Future King,” and “The Breeder” was Species. (Just kidding – its original name was “Cold War.”)
But “Raging Quinn?” What did that title mean? Could the shift in title have to do with the fact that, while commissioned second, it was twentieth to air that year? That, with Maggie replacing Professor Arturo midway through the season, the original story had changed?
Based on what aired, speculation grew that “Raging Quinn” was either Tracy Tormé’s third season Kromagg follow-up or a return to the Smarter Quinn storyline begun in the Pilot. One website, purported to be ghostwritten by a member of the writing staff, intimates “Raging Quinn” was outlined in early June and heavily rewritten by Tormé himself before he left the show to be with his father, singer Mel Tormé.
What if I told you that was all wrong? That “Raging Quinn” was a balls-out crazy entry in the Sliders pantheon that featured ultraviolence, grand theft auto, and murder by dolphin?
You read that right. Murder. By. Dolphin.
“At the beginning of the year, shows have to get a bunch of ideas together,” says Scott Miller, credited co-writer and story editor during Sliders’ third season. “Stuff the writers come up with to give the network an idea about what they want to do. I think eight of our fifteen ideas were mine – and one of them was that the Sliders slid to a world where there was this dolphin swimming in a pool.
“The idea was just that one visual. And Fox loved the idea. I mean they loved it.”
So why was the storyline scrapped? A number of reasons, chief among them finances.
“The Producers realized early on in the year that were burning through money and couldn’t produce it,” Miller notes. “Too expensive.”
What else in the script blows the budget out of the water? Many, many things – click the link below to read the script yourself and find out. That still doesn’t explain how the final result retained the same production code (K1802). If you follow those codes, you’ll see the third season had 29 stories up in the air, but only 25 episodes. So why not just give “The Other Slide of Darkness” one of its own and shelve “Raging Quinn” for another time (or network)?
That goes back to writing assignments – and credits.
“David Peckinpah had a tough job keeping everyone on staff happy — giving us each enough script assignments,” says Miller. “But so many of the working ideas they pitched to the network that year were mine that David gave one of them to a freelancer.
“Guild rules dictate a certain number of scripts have to go to freelancers. But the freelancers never came up with anything good, so he gave one of them ‘The Dream Masters.’ David expected me to suck it up; I told him it wasn’t okay not to credit me. Even though he liked me as a person, it made him mad a lowly story editor had muscle. So, to kill a bunch of birds – including one that would cut down on my script credit tally for the season and add to hers – he had me write it with Nan Hagan. I didn’t mind because Nan and I were really close.
“But even with Nan’s ‘help,’ the script for it was David’s least favorite of the year,” Miller notes. “His notes were just total vitriol. Nan and I were shocked. We thought it was okay by Sliders standards, and I don’t know if David really had cause to hate it.”
The end result is the scrapped script you’re about to read. It’s dated July 8, 1996 – the first draft submitted – and includes handwritten notes from someone on staff. And it is one wild ride.
“I came up with a whole different idea later and wrote a draft of ‘The Other Slide of Darkness’ that was really dark,” says Miller. “I figured, ‘okay, David, you want to be your uncle? How about this?’
“It was really crazy,” he adds. “Peckinpah loved it, but said it would never see the light of day. And it didn’t.”
Who knows? Maybe it’ll come up for air on Earth Prime someday.