Sliders was a science fiction television series that aired on the Fox network in 1995. The story followed a young brilliant student named, Quinn Mallory, played by Jerry O’Connell that found a way to open a gateway to alternate dimensions. Along with his best friend Wade, his professor Maximilian Arturo and signer, Rembrandt Brown, the group traveled from parallel world to parallel world trying to find their way home.
What made this show interesting and fun is that creator, Tracy Tome used the parallel worlds to not only tell a story, but teach us about the human condition and issues we are still dealing with in real life. There were some stories that were action oriented or sci-fi for sci-fi sake but many told meaningful stories such as the differences in the way women and treated to men or the divide between rich and poor and race relations.
Unfortunately, network executives did everything they could to ruin a good thing. First Fox began by airing some of the episodes out of date because they wanted to push the action-oriented episodes on high ratings weeks. In season 3, the oversight by FOX reached epic proportions and the storyline of Sliders was changed taking it away from stories about the different alternate earths to focusing on fighting the Kromagg and chasing down a man who stole their device that could get them to their original home.
In the later seasons of Sliders, when it moved to the Sci-Fi Channel, some of the original storytelling was restored, but by then Tracy Tome had left the show, as did many of the cast. Like many sci-fi shows Sliders allowed moral, societal and human condition stories to be told in a way that could appeal to a younger audience. While a “we have to find a way home” story can wear on the audience Sliders did it well because their journey was interesting enough that even if they did not reach home you still wanted to watch. In addition, the character development was well done and you felt the group had a sense of family so you cared about each one of them.
Sadly, another executive heavy-handed move saw Wade, played by Sabrina Lloyd, pushed to the side to bring in someone who they believed would keep the younger boys watching because she was sexier. This move eventually led to Lloyd leaving the show and only returning in a very small voice over capacity.
The show is definitely worth a look and you can find all the seasons on Netflix. I think a remake of the show could work if done on a cable network because on network television it would die a quick death or be retooled to crap.