WI: Sliders (TV Series) More Successful

Sliders was initially a very good concept. We'd label it ASB, but it was at least interesting. If you are unfamiliar, the series involved a group of people who "slid" from parallel dimension to parallel dimension, trying to get back to their original earth, and going through all sorts of alternate histories along the way. Seasons 1 and 2 were rather solid. However, by season 3, the network interfered and took creative control away from Tracy Torme, and appointed David Peckinpah as executive producer, and the series really went down the tubes. Scripts got much worse, the canon got wonky, and the alternate realities became more excuses for action movie themes more than alternate histories; French world is alternate history, while an episode that's a ripoff of a popular film is not. This in turn lead to a revolving door for the cast and staff, and the thing collapsed.

What if the series had been more successful, and how could it have been so? Not necessarily in terms of viewership success, but definitely in terms of the show more or less staying thematically on course and doing what it set out to do.
 
I loved the early series, but I loved them largely because they were such sedate affairs. You always knew that two of the four would get kidnapped, and it would all turn out alright in the end when they just made it through the wormhole out of there, with some interesting parallel world exposition along the way. Add in minimal and limited characterisation. And that was Sliders.

As said it just went off the rails after a while when they tried to make it mainstream/shit. But I don't think it was ever that great. It was just A Thing You Watched as A Kid so it was automatically great because it broadened your horizons.

More successful? Get someone who can write on board and who has proper creative liberty and keep them there.
 
Is there a possibility that after Season 1 or 2, that the series could get cancelled by Fox and move over to Scifi earlier than the OTL? That did wonders for Stargate. Sliders was in a similar position as it was, but it was just too late in the game by the time Scifi took it over.

I loved the early series, but I loved them largely because they were such sedate affairs. You always knew that two of the four would get kidnapped, and it would all turn out alright in the end when they just made it through the wormhole out of there, with some interesting parallel world exposition along the way. Add in minimal and limited characterisation. And that was Sliders.

As said it just went off the rails after a while when they tried to make it mainstream/shit. But I don't think it was ever that great. It was just A Thing You Watched as A Kid so it was automatically great because it broadened your horizons.

More successful? Get someone who can write on board and who has proper creative liberty and keep them there.
It was Nineties network television. More than that, it was science fiction mid-Nineties network television. More or less, it was all shittier than it should have been (unless you were Star Trek). However, things like The Legend of Hercules and Xena had similar quirks (melodrama and terrible made-for-television CGI) and those had huge success in their own right. Hell, I'd even put Stargate SG-1 in that category.
 
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It was Nineties network television. More than that, it was science fiction mid-Nineties network television. More or less, it was all shittier than it should have been (unless you were Star Trek). However, things like The Legend of Hercules and Xena had similar quirks (melodrama and terrible made-for-television CGI) and those had huge success in their own right. Hell, I'd even put Stargate SG-1 in that category.

Even by the standards of the time, it just wasn't very good. It was decidedly plodding and predictable stuff, and despite the freedom the setting could offer it was always trapped by its own format. I can sum up the characterisation in a sentence: Permanently Agitated Black Guy, Quinn 'Steve Davis' Mallory, Token Woman, and Arturo, who was good. No recurring characters bar the main, no plot arcs until they thought Oh Shit Guys Can We Get Some Cro-mags Please in I think the end of the second series or the third. That was Sliders.

I remember even at the time being fully aware that The Outer Limits was miles better. In fact the Outer Limits was the fucking nass and I won't have a word said against it. If you want to know how to write, watch the Outer Limits.
 
I'd agree that Sliders would be better thought of now if it had concentrated more on the alternate history aspect, though I think that if it had it would have been lucky to see three seasons.

And the 1995 version of The Outer Limits was IMHO mostly pretty pedestrian takes on well worn ideas with occasional flashes of brilliance. Though I did lose interest in it quite quickly but the occasional episode that I caught after that didn't do anything to persuade me otherwise.
 
Sliders was very popular in Hungary, I loved it in the late 90s and early 2000s. There were tons of Hungarian Sliders fansites on the 90s internet, and virtually everyone watched it in my class at school.

The Season 3 movie-rip off episodes and season 5 as a whole were notoriously bad in my opinion, but Season 4 could have been a good fresh start, had they not ruined it in late season, and screwed up the plotline completely in the first episode of season 5.
 
Slight digression but if folk liked sliders then they might be interested in the film Parallels that came out on Netflix earlier this year. I haven't seen it myself but I've heard good things about it. Christopher Leone the guy who wrote it also helped create The Lost Room which was another interesting little miniseries. Apparently there's been talk about a sequel either in the form of another film or as a television series.
 

Blue Moon

Banned
I loved Sliders and it really helped fuel my interest in alternate history. That said I think a key component of being interested in alternate history is being interested in history in general which is something that at least we US Americans need lots of work on :eek:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

BTW that could be a scene from Sliders don't you think :)
 
Maybe if they left the universes more plausible and the stories focused less on the weird interactions they had, that 3rd season and everyone after was crap absolute garbage.
 
I'd agree that Sliders would be better thought of now if it had concentrated more on the alternate history aspect, though I think that if it had it would have been lucky to see three seasons.

creating an fully fleshed ATL for each episode would have been a bitch. the only way I could see it working would be to limit the number of alternate earth visited, perhaps the could travel back and forth.
 
creating an fully fleshed ATL for each episode would have been a bitch. the only way I could see it working would be to limit the number of alternate earth visited, perhaps the could travel back and forth.

Another problem is that elaborating on a fully-fleshed ATL, is that you only have 50-55 minutes per episode, and no one wants to hear someone rant along the lines,"Thank god our timeline went the way it did, ....thank goodness President Donald Trump sold Alaska back to the Russkies..." during that time.
 
Even by the standards of the time, it just wasn't very good. It was decidedly plodding and predictable stuff, and despite the freedom the setting could offer it was always trapped by its own format. I can sum up the characterisation in a sentence: Permanently Agitated Black Guy, Quinn 'Steve Davis' Mallory, Token Woman, and Arturo, who was good. No recurring characters bar the main, no plot arcs until they thought Oh Shit Guys Can We Get Some Cro-mags Please in I think the end of the second series or the third. That was Sliders.

I remember even at the time being fully aware that The Outer Limits was miles better. In fact the Outer Limits was the fucking nass and I won't have a word said against it. If you want to know how to write, watch the Outer Limits.

In defense of the character Rembrandt Brown, he was just some poor schmuck who was driving by the house when the Mad Scientists let loose an uncontrolled inter universe wormhole!:eek:

Permanently Agitated was completely justified.


But yes, some story arcs would have been nice, NOT the Cro-mags.

On the other hand as had been mentioned 5 seasons is a success for a low budget sci fi tv show.
 
On the other hand as had been mentioned 5 seasons is a success for a low budget sci fi tv show.

http://www.dimensionofcontinuity.com/bts.htm

Even Star Trek Enterprise got four seasons and it killed the franchise. In the modern era of television, longevity doesn't necessarily mean much. Sliders limped through after the first two seasons, and those three subsequent seasons were part of series decline even if there was still a rather sizable cult viewership. That's the problem. Season three should have been when the show really found itself. Instead, it was a season of a lot of network interference and behind the scenes office politics that hurt the show's quality, and that would get bad as things went on. Early episodes were always nineties kitsch, but it was par for the course. Things got craptastic later. Tracy Torme left, and he was the heart of the series. John Rhys-Davies left because someone who became an executive didn't like him, and because he felt the script quality was in the tank. Look at episodes like "Exodus" and you can't disagree. By the end, no one except Cleavant Derricks remained from the original cast. Scifi did not even expect to renew the show after it's season, but higher than expected viewership lead them to. By that point, it was too late in terms of quality. Scifi didn't cancel it for that reason -- it was a budget problem. But there was a rot that was irreversible, and it didn't end up like how the series could have been.
 
I think Season 4's "Kromagg Wars", more Stargate SG-1-esque plotline could have turned out well. The original idea was, that although Quinn found out that he wasn't from Earth Prime in the episode "Genesis", and spent most of season 4 finding his lost brother, Colin in another world, and locating his futuristic homeworld where there is weapon to destroy the Kromaggs, in the last episode of Season 4, "Revelations", Colin would have been revealed to be a genetically engineered clone of Quinn, designed to lure the Sliders to a Kromagg trap, and the world visited by Quinn in "Genesis" was just a close copy of Earth Prime, implying that Quinn's real homeworld, a Kromagg-free, one and only Earth Prime was still waiting for them.

Instead, we got a season 4 episode, that featured a parallel double of Colin (indicating that he wasn't a clone), and the second half of "Revelations" was changed, to have the Sliders end up in a world that is very similar to Quinn's Homeworld, but there the Kromaggs are good and the Humans are evil.

The sliders escape from this world, and the next episode, the first episode of season 5, completely destroys the plotline.
 
"Sliders" suffered from bad writing from the very start. The "losing the timer" gimmick was lame the first time; the second, it was stupid. (You'd think they'd have learned from "ST:TOS".:rolleyes:)

They were limited by the format. Their stories were pretty flimsy as AH goes, generally. They could have done what "HSB" did, & have continuing stories, but IMO that would have made it harder for viewers to follow the show, unless they came in at the start. It also would have made scheduling an issue; could the producer or the network guarantee shows would be aired in order?

The geographic restraint on the timer didn't help, either. That was a show concept problem. Fixing it was partially an issue of show budget; going on location would cost a fortune. (IDK if it was possible to shoot on the backlot & make it credible.)

Making it more successful is harder than it looks.
 
Slight digression but if folk liked sliders then they might be interested in the film Parallels that came out on Netflix earlier this year. I haven't seen it myself but I've heard good things about it. Christopher Leone the guy who wrote it also helped create The Lost Room which was another interesting little miniseries. Apparently there's been talk about a sequel either in the form of another film or as a television series.

sliders wasn't the first to do this on tv
in 1993 there was a (tv) movie called doorways, that used the same principle (original idea George RR martin), i am pretty certain that sliders was inspired by this
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106752/
 
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