Audio commentary - Co-Creators/Writers Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss
Featurette - The Making of Sliders
Sliders - Season 1 And 2
R4 . COLOR . 1017 mins .
M15+ . PAL
The concept of parallel dimensions is not a new premise for a sci-fi television show. The ‘90s series Sliders, explores the idea of parallel earths with a degree of intelligence and humour that most other science fiction series fail to achieve.
I found the gateway!
Physics graduate student Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) spends most of his time in his basement science lab working on various projects. While trying to create an antigravity device, Quinn accidentally creates a portal to a parallel universe. The same time, the same earth, but different dimensions. After successfully testing the portal himself, using a remote control timer, Quinn decides to explore the other dimensions extensively and invites his physics professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies) and his friend Wade Wells (Sabrina Lloyd) along for the ride. With the portal having to be enlarged to fit three people, the ‘slide’ also accidentally naps has-been singer Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks), as he drives by Quinn’s house.
The four ‘sliders’ find themselves on a parallel world experiencing an ice age. With a twister bearing down on them, the group decide to alter the timer device to take them back home. Unfortunately, altering the timer doesn’t send them home. Instead they are sent to another parallel universe. This sets up the arch of the series involving the four characters attempting to find ‘home’ while travelling from universe to universe.
The premise behind Sliders is not original. The similarities to home seeking series like Quantum Leap, Star Trek and even the classic film The Wizard of Oz are obvious. But with each episode offering a different version of Earth with its own unique circumstances, the potential adventures for the 'sliders' are infinite.
I swear it's a real lightsaber!
The first and second seasons of the show offer some of the best episodes of the entire series run, while also including all of the original cast, which would change quite a few times in later seasons with almost every cast member exiting at some point. Almost every episode in the first season is wonderfully scripted and addictive to watch. However, having seen almost every episode of Sliders, my favourite remains the fantastic two hour pilot episode.
It should be noted that the continuity problems that plagued Sliders in its original airings have not been corrected on this DVD release. The episodes were often broadcast in the wrong order, not in the intended order. I have listed the episodes in their intended order, so although they are not in this order on the discs, the list should help you watch the episodes in the correct order.
Summer of Love
Prince of Wails
The Weaker Sex
The King is Back
Luck of the Draw
Vern, all grown up
Into the Mystic
Time Again and World
The Good, the Bad and the Wealthy
As Time Goes By
Gillian of the Spirits
Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome
In Dino Veritas
The Young & The Relentless
The 4:3 Fullscreen presentation of Sliders is plagued by constant defects. Although the overall visuals improve in the second season episodes; transfer artefacts, shadow details and overall colour saturation are consistently pretty awful. Since the show is only 10 years old, some of the problems are perplexing, particularly the colour issues. Colours in most episodes appear very dull and muted, with generous amounts of grain and dirt further damaging the image.
Shadow detail is flawed in every episode and makes certain scenes very difficult to watch. Aliasing is also a problem in most episodes. Sharpness and details are adequate in most episodes.
Although the overall image does improve as the episodes progress, the video transfer could have been greatly improved. It appears that absolutely nothing has been done to make Sliders look impressive on DVD.
The audio package, however, is pretty much problem free. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix is dynamic and offers solid front and centre speaker use and very minimal, but acceptable, use of the rear speakers. This track provides a high standard surround effect with nice ambience. This 2.0 mix is one of the better TV audio transfers I have heard and offers a lot more than a typical 2.0 mix.
Since this release contains two seasons of Sliders, it's fitting that there be some kind of extra material included.
An audio commmentary by co-creators and writers Tracey Tormé. and Robert K.Weiss is provided for the two hour pilot episode. It provides plenty of interesting information about the creation and production of Sliders. The two muse over the pilot episode in a casual conversation tone, providing various behind the scenes details and vivid memories.
The Making of Sliders is a 14 minute featurette featuring interviews with Jerry O’Connell, Cleavant Derricks and series creators Tracey Tormé and Robert K. Weiss. The absence of cast members John Rhys-Davies and Sabrina Lloyd makes this feature a little lackluster, but the four men interviewed provide interesting insights into the production and some intriguing comments about how the show was treated by the FOX network.
A very short Photo Gallery consists of a one minute montage of cast and episode photos.
Sliders often feels like a rip-off of the far superior Quantum Leap and even though both the first and second seasons are on offer, the series never lives up to the potential demonstrated in the pilot episode. There are two major issues with this release, the video transfer and the episodes being presented in the incorrect order. Most of the episodes are self contained, so the discontinuity is not a big problem, just a very annoying one. Overall, this underrated show has been given a decent release.