Re: Rewatch Podcast - SLIDERS REBORN
Thanks for Remy impression in Episode 25, Cory and Tom!
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Thanks for Remy impression in Episode 25, Cory and Tom!
Yeowch, poor Kari. That sounds like a horrible experience and... really just sums up the whole clusterfuck of expectations on women in the media, yeah. :(
Just sent the boys all the info for an oral history of Kari Wuhrer's breasts. God help them. God help us all.
Your use of "oral history" is not lost on me.
I didn't even notice that.
I have no data on whether or not Kari ever traded sex for work. Howard Stern seems sure she did. The crew on SLIDERS had lots of ideas about that, but nothing was ever confirmed. Alan Barnette couldn't stop talking about Kari's breasts, according to various crew members, but we don't know that they had sex. Certainly, I find it doubtful that Kari needed to prostitute herself for the quality of the roles she was getting -- guest-roles, a short-lived series here and there, direct-to-video erotic thrillers.
I just think the biographical details there are illuminating, because there is a person under those leaky bags of salt water and what happened to her was tragic. Selling yourself as a body in the entertainment industry results in a lot of personal problems: intimacy issues, health issues, social disorders. Kari wasn't a talentless bimbo, she just found work as one, and it was really destructive and humiliating in the end.
Kari said in an interview at one point that when she was having sex, she wouldn't want her lovers to touch her breasts because it felt like they weren't touching her. That was one of the saddest and loneliest things I had ever read.
That is really sad and awful.
And yeah, I'd in no way meant to imply that Kari was trading sex. Just that the wording was (deliberately, I thought) slightly amusing.
But yeah, I have to agree. Like I've said before, I can hardly blame Kari; the pressures of the media and the abuses of the entertainment industry, among other things, are to blame for what she went through, all of which should never have happened.
I don't think there are many - if any - talentless bimbos in the world, really. Just an awful lot of people who want to see them, and people desperate enough or naive enough or lacking in self-esteem enough to fill the role.
w00t! New podcast! "Net Worth" and "Slide By Wire."
Loved this week's episode - I was definitely curious to hear the exclusive scoop information on "Net Worth", and you three didn't disappoint! The episode would've been so much better that way, I think we can all agree.
I hope you'll be sharing your script with us all soon. What might have been... as Cory and Tom said, that does seem like such a popular Sliders-fan refrain, doesn't it?
I was going to post the script today, but Tom and Cory said some things in their podcast that made me change my mind and made me decide to do a major course correction in how I'm going to be handling things.
Basically, they punched all sorts of holes in "Net Worth"'s plot -- holes that remain gaping and glaring even if Quinn-2 and Wade-2 are in the Rick and Joanne roles. So, I thought I'd have a go at fixing them before posting the script. Cory said that the Online/Offline divide made little sense given how fairly cost effective it is to get online; Tom noted that Jack's plan to rob the Ivory Tower makes no sense at all and also wondered how the Onliners' manufacture and maintain anything if everyone's jacked in at all times. I think there are ways to address this -- but it's going to take more time than doing a find and replace on the script.
Probably by the end of this week at the latest. It was very strange how well Colin's dialogue fit the Professor with only a few modifications here and there. There have also been some interesting discussions.
LAURIE: "You're redoing the Mark Sheppard episode of SLIDERS?"
ME: "Yeah. I think the fans will really like it!"
LAURIE: "So you're going to beef up Mark's role, right? In light of how awesome he is on SUPERNATURAL, you have to give him some cool stuff to do."
ME: "Actually -- I've decided to replace his character with Hurley."
LAURIE: "You did what?"
ME: "Yeah -- in Season 1, there's this character who's Quinn's boss at the computer store, and I thought it'd work better if the villain were someone with whom Quinn has a prior -- "
LAURIE: "Get the fuck out of my house."
LAURIE: "You've disgraced my family and my destroyed entire belief system! I want you out of here -- I don't want to see you for the rest of the week!"
ME: " -- ?!?! Because I cut Mark Sheppard out of an episode?"
LAURIE: "YES! And because I have exams, but it's mostly the first thing."
WADE: "Don't worry, Quinn says. The densi-whatever-mometer makes the slides safe. I'm telling you, Professor -- one of these days, we'll slide right into a solid object. Oh, terrific -- now I've said it -- "
ARTURO: "My dear Ms. Welles -- I hardly think we need have any fear of such an occurrence. Why, the exotic matter in the vortex can only gain dimensional stability within in an atmosphere. Were the gateway to generate within solid matter, we would be crushed to death before we realized it."
Wade looks relieved.
WADE: "Oh thank God. I'm glad you're here to tell me these things."
MATT: (reading the script excerpt) "Is th... is that 'Net Worth'?"
MATT: "I would ask why you would do this for such a non-episode, but I already know the answer. You're a loon." (watching the episode) "The opening 3 seconds of CGI indicate what a piece of garbage this episode's going to be!"
ME: "The Sliders Rewatch boys really loved this episode. Which is to say they loved watching it and imagining Quinn-2 and Wade-2 in the story."
MATT: "Hahahaha! This episode is so dumb! 'Giga-encrypted entry key.' And this is the episode that launched the BBoard Beret Wars."
ME: "This is the most interesting story of Season 4. Who cares about the Kromagg invasion of Earth or the Colin spy-plot or the Slidecage or the Slidewave? This is Quinn and Wade in a cyberpunk romantic comedy! This is what actually matters! It just needs some finessing to bring it to life properly. Some extra time and effort."
MATT: "I would absolutely say to not spend more time on 'Net Worth' than Steve Stoliar did."
Aw, dangit. Well, I'll look forward to the rewrite, in that case! I'm sure the extra time and effort will be well spent.
Seriously. The beauty of Sliders at its best was that it could make fine comedy, drama, and character development out of some pretty silly plots. I'm confident you can give this one the polishing it deserves.
Another great podcast. Rick's accent in Net Worth drove me crazy! Glad someone else noticed that too.
I'll have the "Net Worth" redux screenplay finished in 3 - 4 days or so.
Compiling behind the scenes info on "Net Worth" was one of the most confusing experiences of my time ever since I declared myself the Sliders Rewatch researcher. Matt says that I went insane on "Mother and Child," but "Net Worth" was just weird. Back in 1999/2000, I angsted to Temporal Flux about how Wade never seemed to be a big priority and how surely she should have come up in conversation during "Net Worth" with the gang talking about old girlfriends. TF said that he'd heard "Net Worth" had originally been a Season 3 script, "Onliners," featuring Quinn and Wade doubles in an Internet fuelled ROMEO AND JULIET love story. An episode with this title had appeared on a largely accurate preliminary list of Season 3 episodes. TF believed the script had been shelved due to John Rhys-Davies' firing. It was retooled into "Net Worth" for Season 4.
When writing the notes for "Net Worth," I was reviewing the script and episode for deleted scenes. And I was struck by how scene after scene, moment after moment -- in fact, even some of the dialogue -- would only make sense if Maggie and Rick and Joanne were actually Wade, Quinn-2 and Wade-2. The most striking moment: when Joanne angsts to Maggie, "He wants to get to know me! There's no me to know!" and Maggie replies with total certainty, "Oh yes there is" despite having met Joanne exactly one scene previous (two in the script). The only way that scene could possibly work is if it's Wade asserting that Wade-2 does have an identity. There were plenty of other scenes with this problem too, and I wrote out a detailed examination of how Sabrina playing Wade-2/Joanne would have added a lot of depth to the story. I wrote up the notes and sent them off.
Matt glanced over my notes and promptly blew them to hell. "You spin a fine tale," said Matt, "but it's all horseshit." Matt had been in touch with Steve Stoliar, writer of "Net Worth." Stoliar said: "It's hard for me to remember the circumstances that led up to each script I've written for various shows, but I don't recall 'Net Worth' starting out as anything else or ending up as anything other than what it was in terms of which season and which characters were focused on."
Matt had also met with Season 3 producer Paul Jackson at one point, and Jackson had listed the scripts that had been reworked post-Arturo: "Sole Survivors," "The Breeder" and "The Other Slide of Darkness" -- and Paul had never heard of "Onliners" or any story like it being set aside due to John Rhys-Davies getting fired.
At this point, it was looking like TF was wrong and there had never been an "Onliners." Except Matt and I both noticed: "Onliners" shows up in Tracy Torme's November 1996 notes on Season 3. "More Quinn and Wade stuff; Onliners comic." However, Torme had no memory of what "Onliners" had been. The fact that he'd considered it as a comic, however, made it expressly clear: whatever "Onliners" had been, it had not been shelved due to John's departure.
The notes were dated November 1996, well before "The Exodus," and Torme had left SLIDERS very early in Season 3. Furthermore, all of Tracy's comic ideas were based on episodes that had been pitched or written but never filmed. Torme must have seen "Onliners" pitched, liked it, known that it wouldn't be filmed, but imagined it having a second life at Acclaim Comics.
Around here, Temporal Flux got back in touch. When we'd talked about "Net Worth" in 1999/2000, he had believed that "Onliners" was a script. Since then, he'd tried to locate a draft but come up empty -- and he believed it was because there was no script to find. "Onliners," TF now thinks, was at most a pitch, possibly written, but more likely pitched in the context of a conversation.
TF does think that Steve Stoliar did pitch "Onliners" Season 3 and I think that's likely; "Onliners" uses a term from "Net Worth" as the title and its concept of an Internet-fuelled ROMEO AND JULIET love story is too similar to "Net Worth" to be unrelated. Also, Stoliar was a personal friend of David Peckinpah's and leveraged that relationship to write "Paradise Lost" for Season 3 and "A Current Affair" for Season 5. Why didn't he remember? It's been over 17 years and Stoliar has written, directed and produced many projects since then. He's forgotten.
Torme would have been present for the "Onliners"' pitch for it to appear in his notes; I would speculate that Torme knew "Onliners" wouldn't make it to air in Season 3 because it didn't have any monsters in it and while Torme liked "Onliners" and would have liked to champion it, he may have been slightly preoccupied with watching his father slowly die and understandably didn't give a crap.
When Season 4 came, Stoliar re-pitched his concept, this time successfully -- but when writing the script, he no longer had the Quinn and Wade pairing to use as an entry point and a mirror within his story.
As Tom put it in the podcast, on some level, it doesn't matter if Sabrina Lloyd were originally meant to play Joanne's role in "Net Worth" or not -- because in either scenario, "Net Worth" has a giant gaping Sabrina Lloyd shaped hole in its story. Rick and Joanne are strangers to the audience; "Net Worth" is burdened with trying to construct a moving romance on the spot. It's a burden that "Net Worth" should not have had to bear.
If Sabrina Lloyd had still been on the show, it would have been insane to create Rick and Joanne and also completely unnecessary. Stoliar would have been able to use Quinn-2 and Wade-2 far more effectively than any original guest-star because the romantic tension and underlying relationship would already be in place, having been established simply via Jerry O'Connell and Sabrina Lloyd having been in many, many, many episodes of SLIDERS together. Stoliar would have been able to take that audience investment for granted rather than needing to earn it and failing to do so.
And it goes back to my overall opinion of SLIDERS; this show was a very carefully designed storytelling engine where each original character played a vital and critical role, and removing any one of them was catastrophic and disastrous and made it very difficult and often impossible to tell SLIDERS stories properly.
Anyway. We'll have "Net Worth: The Quinn and Wade Edition" in 3 - 4 days' time. Stoliar's script was *extremely* short on description; it needs to be added.
Thank you for all you do for us, ireactions. I'm serious.
Also, I humbly suggest that the theme song for this rewrite should be Roxette's "Almost Unreal". Cheesy yet sincere, roughly of the era, and was originally set to an extremely 90s virtual reality-themed video.
I'm not much of a music person. The only music I've felt compelled to seek out in the last 15 years is Garfunkel and Oates.
I should be asleep, but I got caught up in reading Steve Stoliar's memoirs about his time as Groucho Marx's administrative assistant. It's pretty messed up stuff. It makes you understand the kind of twisted mind that not only wrote "Paradise Lost" but successfully sold it. Interestingly, there's a small portion devoted to how Stoliar responded to Marx's fan mail for him and began engaging in correspondence with a lady pen-pal, Diane, with whom the letters became romantic and lead to a relationship.
Season 4 producer and Season 5 showrunner Bill Dial also makes a few appearances as someone Stoliar worked for as an assistant.
Once again, I was totally at a loss for what the hell to talk about with "My Brother's Keeper" -- so I gave the boys at Sliders Rewatch a lengthy history of Slide It Yourself. Doug Molitor, the writer of "My Brother's Keeper" went on to act as a judge in this contest hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel where fans could submit story ideas and develop them into beat sheets and scripts with the top three scripts (as chosen by the judges) would receive prizes. It's kind of insane that I had more to share about Slide It Yourself than I did about this actual episode.
I have to go to bed now, but I'll do "The Chasm" notes in the morning and I honestly have no clue what to do for that one, either. I sometimes suspect Tom and Cory can see my desperate scraping of the bottom of the barrel, trying to find something, anything to talk about. Um. Marc Scott Zicree watched all of Kari's movies to try to understand her acting skills! Kari Wuhrer's breasts! Jerry O'Connell's post SLIDERS career and why his movie star career died and a detailed psychoanalysis of why he suddenly got all SLIDERS-fixated last year!
Tom and Cory should feel free to use none of this stuff. The only thing I have on "The Chasm" right now is that a producer on the show publicly urged fans not to watch it.
As the episodes get worse, clearly we loop back around to re-deconstructing the earlier episodes. Thoughts on the Pilot, anyone?
Actualy, speaking of the Pilot, that'd be an interesting thing for Tom and Cory to tackle. Not the Pilot itself per se, but the novel that was based on it. It's very faithful to the show for the most part, but with some interesting differences. I actually enjoyed it a lot, in that cheesy 90s tie-in novel way, although I could have done without trigger-happy Wade and descriptions of Alt-turo's sexual dalliances.
There was a review of it on YouTube recently, but it didn't really go into any deconstruction, just gave a synopsis of the story. I was kind of disappointed.
The only thing I have on "The Chasm" right now is that a producer on the show publicly urged fans not to watch it.
You could always play a game of Where's Waldo and look for the singer from Fastball who was a non-speaking, background extra for a day. I'm going strictly by memory on this, but I believe it was Miles Zuniga. He mentioned in an online interview that he did one day on Sliders; but when it came time for day two, he heard that Fastballs's new song "The Way" was taking off on the charts, so he blew off Sliders and just didn't show up for the rest of his time there.
He didn't have any kind words for his brief time on Sliders. I remember him saying he didn't feel like he was treated well and believed he was basically just walking furniture (Interestingly, JRD once mentioned even he felt the same way).
I'd like to see this JRD interview. And for that matter, I'm really curious about Jerry's sudden Sliders fixation.
I dunno. John Rhys-Davies was loving but grumpy and super-critical of the writing in Seasons 1 - 2, describing Torme's writing as formulaic and unimaginative. John was also personally offended everytime the Professor wasn't a pillar of moral integrity, as though he couldn't tell the difference between himself and his character. After Season 3, John completely revised his opinion of Tracy, declaring Tracy had done a nice job. Clearly, John saw what happened after Tracy left and realized what he'd been up against. His complaint about being "walking furniture" was simply that he felt the Professor was there to drop in cutting remarks and not driving the story forward.
Slide It Yourself was just bizarre. TF, you seemed quite happy with how your pitch turned out based on your comments under the beat sheet. I wasn't happy with it at all. I thought your original idea was simple, straightforward and effective -- the sliders encounter a world with a superhero. But the superhero's powers are revealed to be repurposed sliding technology. The hint that the superhero was Quinn but never to be unmasked was perfect. I didn't think your story benefited from the SIY process in which teams of 8 - 10 people were made to work together on producing one and only one story per team. That's a ridiculous arrangement that, to my eyes, results in 8 - 10 stories overlapping and working against each other. But the judge's selection process for the pitches was also indecipherably nonsensical.
My theory about Jerry O'Connell is the theory I have about every actor who makes a bit of a name for themselves. I think every heartthrob Caucasian actor likes to think that one day, they'll find a brilliant role that fully defines their talents and career -- and until then, they'll just pay the bills with this little-known TV show. But then they experience the horrific revelation that this tiny little role they didn't think much of and weren't concerned by will in fact be that career defining role. It happened to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy; Jerry's just has a slight twist on it; he didn't respect the show or care about it, but he saw it as a stepping stone to film roles and he was sure that after SLIDERS, he would be a Tom Cruise level movie star, especially given all the rave reviews he was getting for his SLIDERS performances. He knew that SLIDERS would be useful to the career and cache of Jerry O'Connell, and he expected he'd be bigger than SLIDERS.
After SLIDERS, Jerry did MISSION TO MARS, which was a disappointment that earned only $11 million in profit and Jerry's performance was totally unmemorable. He did TOMCATS, which was a crass sex comedy in which Jerry performed poorly again with no comic timing and no ability to make his character likable. And then he did the film DOWN UNDER, which was a cluster of unfortunate events which saw Jerry nearly fired for being out of shape due to his excessive drinking and then the entire film was reshot to feature a computer generated kangaroo more heavily and left Jerry playing a supporting role to a special effect. After these three flame-outs, Jerry O'Connell could no longer be taken seriously as a movie star and his film career aspirations evapourated. And now, years have passed, Jerry has grown up a bit, quit drinking, reflected heavily, taken some acting classes, gotten married, had children -- and I think now he realizes the truth: SLIDERS was his career defining role and he blew it.
And I think that's why he suddenly regained interest; Quinn Mallory is the only character Jerry has played before or could play again who could be a universally known fantasy icon like Batman, Sherlock Holmes, Doc Brown and Mr. Spock. Quinn Mallory is Jerry's only shot at cultural immortality.
I'll save my second theory for the podcast.
When rewatching "The Chasm" -- I noticed it has a similar storyline to "New Gods for Old," which was originally a Season 4 episode where the sliders, one-by-one, fall prey to a force that controls their emotional states and minds -- first it's Quinn, then Rembrandt, then Maggie -- and then it's left to Colin to save the sliders. This script was eventually retooled for Season 5, but that chain of events is surprisingly similar to "The Chasm" -- Quinn, then Rembrandt, then Maggie -- and Colin is the only one left.
Last episode of the year! We discuss "Data World" and "Way Out West"- http://rewatchpodcast.podomatic.com/ent … 7_47-08_00
Last episode of the year! We discuss "Data World" and "Way Out West"- http://rewatchpodcast.podomatic.com/ent … 7_47-08_00
Data World is a bad episode. Way Out West isn't great, but it is fun.
I've only listened to "Data World"'s segment so far. It's great!
I felt that I didn't have a lot on "Data World," so I gave Tom and Cory the secret history of Kari Wuhrer's breasts. But, to my delight and amazement, the boys mined the deleted scenes material for a ton of insight! Fantastic. Here are the full notes I gave Tom and Cory for this episode.
This episode was written by Joel Metzger and directed by Jerry O'Connell.
Reading the script, it's clear this was meant to be a parody of video games that was not adequately realized onscreen, although there were plenty of problems with the story even before the budgeting issues.
During this episode, Kari Wuhrer, when playing the reconstituted Maggie, grabs her breasts to convey her relief at being in her own body.
According to Temporal Flux of the Dimension of Continuity, Cleavant spotted this and mercilessly mocked Kari throughout the filming of his scenes as Maggie-in-Rembrandt's body.
During numerous takes, he would come up with different ad-libbed lines to express Maggie's horror at being in Rembrandt's body, including "Eeeeeeeeeeeek! I'm black!" and "Nooooooooooooooooooo!" (grabbing his chest) "Do you know how much these things cost?!!"
According to Temporal Flux, Cleavant and Kari did not get along well in Season 3. You can actually see this in "This Slide of Paradise" in the opening teaser; Cleavant is struggling to make it to shore in the water, Kari Wuhrer reaches out to help him and Cleavant knocks her hand away.
By Season 4, however, Cleavant and Kari had started to get along much better. You can see more comfort in their physical interaction and Kari laughing with Cleavant. TF is not sure what changed.
In 2000, Matt Hutaff of Earth Prime met Cleavant at a CD signing. They talked for several hours.
(Matt wishes to inform us that his name is pronounced You-Taff with a silent H).
Matt learned that Cleavant was friends with David Peckinpah. Cleavant and his wife and kids would have family evenings with the Peckinpah family.
Temporal Flux is of the opinion that this was a business relationship; Cleavant used Peckinpah's influence to achieve his goals as Peckinpah, for all his faults, had a lot of connections.
Matt disagrees, feeling that Cleavant simply found something good in Peckinpah to appreciate and befriend. God knows what it was, but he found something. And he did the same with Kari.
Therefore, I am inclined to think that Kari was okay with people making fun of her breast implants and that this was something she and Cleavant had between them.
However, Kari grabbing her breasts in this episode seems to be a prelude to "Way Out West" where she repeatedly grabs her breasts throughout that episode, as though she's experiencing pain and soreness.
Breast augmentations are never a single operation; they are the start of a lifetime of surgical adjustments and upkeep.
Breast implants can tear, harden, leak and get infected. Kari, during "Data World" and "Way out West," may have been experiencing increased sensitivity of sensory nerves or a capsular contracture where the implant tightens due to scar tissue hardening. This is treated with medication to soften the scar tissue or surgically removing the tissue.
Kari got the surgery in 1989. This was due to the urging of her music producer at the time, Rick Rubin.
Rubin, working with her on an album, had less interest in her music than he did in her appearance and image for marketing -- he told her it would be best if her breasts were visible even from behind.
Kari eventually dissolved her association with Rubin and music went on the backburner as she pursued acting. Her implants were getting her a lot of acting offers for direct-to-video softcore porn.
Kari accepted all these offers because they paid a lot for very short shoots.
While there is little data on her surgical situation between 1989 and 2000, it is unlikely -- in fact, it is impossible -- for Kari to not have had various problems that required further medical attention and adjustments. That's simply the nature of this kind of surgery.
I believe Kari grew to despise her body and the work she got in exchange for nudity.
According to TF: when "The Exodus" was about to film, Maggie Beckett had yet to be cast even when it was the day before filming was to begin.
Alan Barnette suddenly burst into the SLIDERS production office, exclaiming, "Check out the tits on this one!" He held up a photo of Kari and she was hired immediately.
Crew members informed Temporal Flux that Alan Barnette was constantly commenting on Kari's breasts.
Matt recently sent me a box of the Sci-Fi Channel's press files. I found a 1999 interview with Kari Wuhrer.
In the 1999 interview, Kari confessed that she was abusive towards Sabrina Lloyd because she was jealous; she was jealous that Sabrina inspired respect for her talent while Kari was simply a masturbatory object to her hirers.
In later interviews, Kari confessed that her breasts embarrassed her and when she was with men, she asked them not to touch her there.
In 2000, Kari got her implants removed and replaced with smaller sized implants.
In 2002, Kari woke up one morning preparing to shoot a sex scene for THE SPIDER's WEB and discovered her right breast implant had encapsulated -- the implant had hardened, pushing her right breast upward and making her nipple point downward. She looked deformed and lopsided.
The director and actor were sympathetic and helped her film the scene with the right breast obscured from the camera.
Embarrassed, Kari decided there and then that she would get the implants removed.
Afterwards, Kari found difficulty acquiring the sex-driven movie roles she'd found before and found work in a soap opera, GENERAL HOSPITAL, in 2006.
When she got pregnant and gained weight, GENERAL HOSPITAL fired her. Kari sued them. The case was settled out of court.
Meanwhile, Sabrina Lloyd went back to college (Columbia University in New York), adopted a little girl from Uganda, seems to be moving between Rome and Uganda and seems pretty happy.
Awesome stuff. Is there a copy of that 1999 interview uploaded? I'd never heard that about Kari's jealousy before - suspected it, but not heard it from the horse's mouth.
How goes "Net Worth"?
ME: "I think it'll be done by -- "
MATT: "STOP GIVING DATES BY WHICH YOU THINK YOU'LL BE DONE JUST RELEASE IT WHEN YOU'RE READY AND SHUT UP ABOUT IT."
ME: " ............................................................. yeah, you're right."
I don't know what happened this past weekend. I remember finishing the find and replace work and formatting, taking a short break to review "My Brother's Keeper" and "The Chasm" and got totally caught up in re-reading Slide It Yourself. Then I got my mother a new smartphone but had to set it up and suddenly it was Monday. Is that really what I did on the weekend?
Recently, I wrote to Nigel Mitchell, asking if he'd write a Christmas SLIDERS story.
NIGEL: "I don't celebrate Christmas."
ME: "Holy crap. You don't celebrate Christmas? You don't believe in the holidays? That is so weird! Because neither do I. I thought I was the only one in the world."
NIGEL: "There are more of us than you might think."
But I do treat Christmas as a series of statutory holidays during which I do all the stuff I didn't have time to do before such as transcribing articles, writing screenplays and maintaining IT in the home.
ME: "I think it'll be done by -- "
MATT: "STOP GIVING DATES BY WHICH YOU THINK YOU'LL BE DONE JUST RELEASE IT WHEN YOU'RE READY AND SHUT UP ABOUT IT."
ME: " ............................................................. yeah, you're right."
In fairness, if I did say this (and there's no reason to assume I didn't - we talk a lot and my memory is terrible), it was probably sandwiched between Ib getting moody over some Canadian Robocop TV show or wondering why a waitress he sees regularly in a diner he frequents would give him a Christmas gift even though they don't say more than 5 words to each other on Friday mornings.
To be accurate -- that exchange had nothing to do with the "Net Worth" redux. Matt was chastising me for giving release dates for SLIDERS REBORN in advance, especially when I kept blowing them due to professional responsibilities and narrative issues that I needed to bring to Matt to resolve. (ME: "I've made a mistake. I've put the sliders in a situation I can't resolve. If the doomsday clocks are scattered across billions of parallel Earths, while would confiscating three Earths' worth stop the destruction of all reality?" MATT: "Let's think big to small -- can the clocks just be on three Earths?")
Anyway. I've reviewed my weekend activities. I got side-tracked by reading Slide It Yourself. I guess -- I was so short on information for "My Brother's Keeper" that I decided to read all the Slide It Yourself story discussions and beat sheets in order to offer the Sliders Rewatch a full account and I got completely swept away by some of the bizarre exchanges. (REALMKEEPER: "What if Mallory were to meet a double who is still in the wheelchair and Mallory has to confront his former disability?" OTHER POSTER: "That's a great idea! And what if Mallory-2 is evil and trying to steal the timer and he's only faking being crippled?")
Thoughts on "Mother and Child": Cory talked about how he totally lost interest in this episode at the halfway mark. He didn't care about the Kromagg trying to get the antidote to the virus, he didn't care about the action. And I really understood what he meant. The second Wade was raised and dismissed, it was impossible to stay invested in the episode because it focused on things that could not possibly be more important than Wade. There's also a joking, lighthearted tone to the scenes that is completely at odds with the Wade plot. Rembrandt joking about getting a dog, Quinn joking about a continental breakfast -- these lines desperately needed to be played with bleak despair. Had Jerry played Quinn as emotionally disintegrating after the teaser and the episode built to a crazed, violent outburst, the episode would probably have held the attention by holding Wade in the heart of the story.
Thoughts on "Way Out West" -- I laughed when Cory and Tom said they couldn't quite tell that Colin had been shot in the teaser and they in fact got the impression that Rembrandt had seen Colin get shot and thrown him off the carriage as dead weight. It was also interesting how Cory, Tom and EP.COM's Mike Truman all took issue with Colin's gunslinger skills resolving the story, saying that it was awkward to have Colin declare that violence solves nothing when in this story, violence solves everything. Interesting and odd -- because from what I could tell, Colin's gunplay only resolved a few immediate threats -- he saved Quinn and Rembrandt from being hanged and defended the widow and her daughter.
Tom and Cory observe that Kolitar, merely wounded at the end, could easily return with his gang and that Colin hadn't solved anything. That was precisely the point of Chris Black's story: the plot of forcing people off their land is resolved by Ben Siegel refusing to invest in tyranny and then discovering the land can be purchased for reasonable prices. That is what defeats Kolitar; Kolitar has nothing to fight for now that the land sales have been made fairly and without violence. Colin's gunfight didn't resolve the story; fairness and equality did. That was Kolitar's defeat and his desire to shoot it out with Colin was a primitive desire for violence that would have won him nothing because he'd lost his stake in the land once Ben decided to buy it rather than take it.
The reason I suspect this fell under the radar of Tom, Cory and Mike: the sliders don't actually contribute to fair deals being made; they find out about it after the fact.
I have no real fondness for Colin or Charlie O'Connell -- but I confess that I really like his performance in this episode. I enjoyed his instant cover story to Ben Siegel. I love the quiet, burning rage he plays when facing off against Kolitar. This episode actually makes me feel bad about refusing to include Colin in SLIDERS REBORN, although not bad enough to change my mind about it.
Tom and Cory noted that "Virtual Slide," "Net Worth," "Slide By Wire" and "Data World" are horribly similar in being computer driven worlds. The impression I'm getting -- the story editor had given up on the series. TF revealed that Marc Scott Zicree was hands-off as of "Slidecage" and after "Lipschitz Live" was used as an excuse to destroy the Season 4 arc, I can't imagine Zicree seeing much point in continuing to contribute creatively. The similarity of all these pitches gives me the sense that no one was bothering to vet them or didn't see any reason to try given he'd simply be overruled out of spite.
So, Maggie's singing. I don't get it. When has Maggie ever been portrayed as someone with a penchant for musical performance? Were there a lot of karaoke nights on that military base? Yes, Kari is a singer -- but why is Maggie a singer? And, as Tom and Cory noted, why is Maggie being portrayed as someone who shrinks from a fight in "Data World"? And why was Maggie telling Rembrandt, "You're the man, act like it" in "Lipschitz Live?"
We have with "Way Out West" a script by Chris Black, who seems to be obsessed with Maggie's character. Every script he ever writes for SLIDERS in Seasons 4 - 5 are Maggie centric: "Common Ground" focuses on Maggie and Kromanus, "The Alternateville Horror" lavishes attention on the Maggie-double and Maggie's horrified reaction, "Slide By Wire" is a Maggie episode, "Way Out West" has Maggie in the lead role for half the story. Except -- looking at his work, I must come the the conclusion that Chris Black isn't interested in exploring Maggie. He's interested in giving Kari Wuhrer things to do because he enjoys her work, so she gets to face off against Kromaggs, play double roles and sing.
The end result is that there is no Maggie, there's simply a role where different aspects of Kari's skills are fed into a script. None of it adds up to a coherent character. In-universe, Maggie is a former spy and fighter pilot, but the fact that she's a military agent and soldier only occasionally informs her character. This is a Marine who cowers in a fight, defers to men in conflict, performs skillfully as a lounge singer, goes from having no human resource skills in Season 3 (what kind of spy is so incapable of getting along with people?) to being a random mess of characteristics in Season 4.
The only way to justify any of this onscreen material is if Maggie isn't actually a former spy, soldier and Pilot, but instead a Hollywood MTV hostess turned actress who somehow ended up a slider and has some fighting skills from training for roles but has little real combat experience -- and in "The Exodus," she was just job shadowing for a role but somehow got mixed up with the real Maggie Beckett in the confusion of the pulsar.
Oddly, however -- Chris Black could have sorted this out. I think the key to reconciling all this would be to highlight how Maggie was once a spy. As a female spy, playing the seductress and the harmless female would be essential. The breast implants could be something she did to make it easier to make men dismiss her or to make her more convincing in her various cover roles. The trauma of Steven's death in Season 3 caused a split personality that resolved itself during the time she slid alone with Quinn. The singing? It's from one of the undercover roles she performed on a spy mission. The cowering from fights? The truth is that much of Maggie's work was tricking people out of information; she's been combat trained but she rarely had to fight or kill anyone in the field. Maggie is constantly being written as a skin for Kari Wuhrer the actress; maybe it could've been restructured into Maggie Beckett the espionage agent.
There is the Espionage angle of Masks and Immersion too.
She was abrasive and Hostile in Exodus because either her Mask was not on eg not in Mission Mode/Mindset while on Home Soil/Back on Base..... OR..... That Maggie was a Mask too! She was on a Mission perhaps where that Personality and Character Traits were her Required Role.
What if she was assigned to get close to Rickman.... Or Dr Jensen?!
Sliding Tech even if only Theoretical/Prototype is valuable Tech full stop but during a potential Amageddon? Vital National Interest are the words that come to mind.
For ANY Nation!
Which Country did Maggie really serve?
As to her Role itself.... Maybe Psychological Profilers determined that Persona to have the most effect on Jensen or Rickman?
Jensen is Paralysed and so might crave a Strong Woman... Perhaps unhealthily so in a way that veers away from Admiring Strength and towards Masochism.
As to Rickman... Maybe he only respects Women in the Military who try to emulate Machismo etc?
Las Vegas is only about 270 miles from LA, well within range of the timer.
Tom and Cory were marvelling over how Cleavant Derricks and David Peckinpah were friends when Peckinpah got rid of John and Sabrina and ultimately permitted the show to decay so much that it led to Jerry leaving as well. How is that even possible for these two guys to be friends outside the business relationship that Temporal Flux imagines it was? How can it be that Cleavant and David would get their kids and wives together to hang out?
In DOCTOR WHO: "Vincent and the Doctor," the Doctor at one point remarks, "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant." I suspect that's Cleavant as well.
First Sliders episode of the year is in the feed now! We discuss "My Brother's Keeper" and "The Chasm"
Yay! We've missed you!
Sorry for the delay on the "Net Worth" script. I thought I would have a lot of free time during the holidays. I was wrong. And there have been some other changes in my life. I've come to realize that I won't ever be able to do the marathon approach on fanfic anymore, so instead, I just devote 30 minutes to an hour to it when I can each day and it'll get done eventually. Same with REBORN, which will be released in 2016 -- it just won't be January 2016.
I was really not expecting to have so many people request my company during the holidays, and their activities would run really late and the time I thought I'd spend doing nothing but writing, I instead spent sleeping or putting in appearances. It was really nice, but not as productive as I'd hoped.
If you want a progress report -- I am currently thirty per cent finished with the beat sheet for the last SLIDERS REBORN script (doing all my research in advance this time) and for "Net Worth" -- I finished rewriting the scenes in Joanne's apartment where I worked in a new explanation for what a digijob is and why Joanne/Wade-2 wanted to see Rick/Quinn-2 before she got 'cabled' as well as explanations for how this world has food and maintenance and raw materials and manufacturing of technological goods and other items.
The reason I thought I would have this sooner -- originally, I was just going to post my notes on what I thought "Net Worth" might have been, but then thought a script would be more fun and easy to do as it'd just be find and replace. Then Cory and Tom punched so many holes through "Net Worth" and I couldn't bring myself to post the script as-is.
First Sliders episode of the year is in the feed now! We discuss "My Brother's Keeper" and "The Chasm"
Here are my notes on "My Brother's Keeper":
In a rare development, all the trivia for this episode comes from me.
This episode was written by Doug Molitor.
Very interesting man: he was a 1987 JEOPARDY contestant who won four times and competed in the championship for that year.
He also wrote for tons of shows: POLICE ACADEMY, HE-MAN, NINJA TURTLES, JAMES BOND JR., BILL AND TED, BEETLEJUICE, FREE WILLY, SINBAD THE SAILOR, CARMEN SANDIEGO, X-MEN EVOLUTION -- a lot of children's TV and animation.
He is also one of the most despised people in SLIDERS fandom, although not for this episode, which was generally considered to be okay.
In 1999, Sci-Fi held an online contest: Slide It Yourself. This was a contest where fans could submit ideas for a SLIDERS episode.
Ten ideas would be chosen to be developed into a beat sheet and three ideas would be chosen to be developed into a script.
The prize for being the best script, as decided by the judges, would be a series finale script autographed by Cleavant Derricks and a leather jacket worn by either Cleavant or Tembi Locke and signed by the star who wore it. SCIFI.COM T-shirts would also be awarded for the top three ideas chosen to be developed into scripts.
Doug Molitor would be the one choosing the ideas to be made into beat sheets and the beat sheets to be turned into scripts. His credentials were his extensive TV writing experience and his one episode of SLIDERS. The other judge was someone named Patrice Wright who, from what I can tell, wrote for the Sci-Fi Channel's web content division.
The Slide It Yourself contest is considered by SLIDERS fandom to be a complete and utter disaster.
The first problem was in Stage 1: pitching brief ideas. There was a lot of blatant plagiarism: Temporal Flux of DoC submitted five ideas and two of them were simply copied by other posters. There was absolutely no moderation done; none of the submissions were held in queue for initial review, so the submissions became a pile of incoherent posts.
Molitor and Wright were clearly unable to fully review all these submissions.
As a result, of the ten ideas chosen to be made into Stage 2 beat sheets, two were Temporal Flux's ideas but attributed to others. One was stolen wholesale, the other mutilated.
Stage 2 made it very clear: Molitor and Wright had exercised poor judgement in several of their choices.
Temporal Flux had proposed a superhero story that was misattributed to a plagiarist and a story about the majority of the population being mentally ill that had been copied and altered into a world where the majority of the population had low IQs and anyone with above average intelligence was lobotomized.
How a modern civilization of idiots could function, measure intelligence or perform lobotomies was not explained.
One pitch was that the sliders encounter a forest fire. That's it.
Inexplicably, this bare idea with no sense of characterization or world-building was deemed worthy of being fleshed out.
One pitch was about a world where no black people never invented any kind of technology, so this world had no potato chips or light bulbs or blood banks -- which suggests a fundamentally unworkable perspective on technological development.
One pitch was about how it was illegal for anyone to not be part of a rock band. It's impossible to think that Molitor and Wright were reviewing these pitches with any thought to quality.
That said, there were some neat ideas: one where Rembrandt is living the same day over and over again (derivative but intriguing), one where Rembrandt wakes up to discover time has been rewound to the Pilot (quite good), one where Y2K has crippled all technology and Diana's double is to blame, one where copyright law has run amok, and one where Mallory meets a double who is still in a wheelchair.
Actor Robert Floyd made his one and only message board post to say he thought this last one was a cool idea.
In Stage 2, each of the 10 ideas had a message board thread where any poster could post on the concepts, offering feedback and ideas. Chaos resulted; the poster who'd originated the idea found themselves deluged by opposing and unrelated story ideas.
For example, Temporal Flux, who eventually got credit for his superhero concept, had conceived a story where the sliders visit an Earth where there is a superhero who fights crime.
The sliders observe, however, that the superhero's powers are all vortex based; this superhero's superpowers are created through repurposed sliding technology and the sliders, in trying to learn more about the superhero's tech, accidentally get involved in a plot to destroy the hero.
The hero's identity would never be revealed, but the story would heavily hint that it was Quinn Mallory under that mask.
TF found himself buried in comments from posters suggesting that the superhero story be changed to remove the superhero, have Dr. Geiger in the Quinn role and to turn the story into a Kromagg invasion.
Realmkeeper's idea for Mallory meeting a double who is still crippled was buried in bizarre recommendations such as Mallory-2 being an evil villain who was faking his paralysis and planning to take over the world and the idea that Mallory-2 be replaced with Dr. Geiger.
Matt Hutaff's idea to have Rembrandt explore what his life would be if he'd never gone sliding was buried in bizarre proposals like a teaser where the sliders see a man fall off a building and find a timer on the corpse and to bring Dr. Geiger into the plot.
Once again, there was no moderation on these threads, so the people who'd originated these ideas were not being permitted to lead the development of their ideas and the discussions were impenetrable and totally unproductive in fleshing out these story concepts.
For Stage 3, Molitor and Wright selected posters from each thread and assigned them to 10 different teams, one for each idea, with the poster who'd originated the idea serving as the lead writer.
This team arrangement made little to no sense for the stronger pitches (Mallory meets a crippled double, the sliders meet a superhero who uses sliding tech to fake his powers, Rembrandt discovers time's been rewound to the Pilot).
The people who had originated these pitches were capable of completing their own stories; forcing eight people to write one story would only create an unreadable mess.
The team arrangement was also deeply unhelpful for the weaker pitches where the lack of a strong premise meant a lack of strong leadership. The majority of the resulting beat sheets were an incoherent mess.
The idea had been that Slide It Yourself would let contestants feel what it was like to write for television. But in television, you rarely have eight to nine people working on a single script and overruling each other; generally, a writer does a draft and may do additional drafts or may see their material rewritten by a story editor or another writer.
To be fair, many of the pitch leaders were pleased with the beat sheets. Matt and Temporal Flux were happy with "Legacy" and "Opportunity Cost."
But I'd argue that Matt Hutaff and Temporal Flux are perfectly capable of writing stories without having to fight through 7 - 8 people.
For Stage 4, three ideas were chosen to be developed into scripts and compete for the first place prize.
Quite inexplicably, the ideas chosen for Stage 4 were the one with a world where everyone has a low IQ, the one where black inventors don't exist and so neither do indoor toilets, and the one where anyone not in a rock band is breaking the law -- the three with obvious logical errors and historical impossibilities that are glaring even from a one-sentence summary.
It is impossible to discern any meaningful standards of quality from Molitor and Wright regarding their selections for the Stage 4 scripts.
I can only speculate that they were not being sufficiently compensated for the time needed to fully review all the beat sheets and discussions, and so chose the story ideas where there was the least in-fighting, even though the in-fighting resulted due to the uncontrolled and poorly organized nature of the contest where strong ideas were being diluted by unrelated concepts.
The script set on a world where the vast majority of the population is stupid won first prize.
I've never been able to identify any further writing from Patrice Wright or find any credits to her name, which fills me with relief.
Doug Molitor went on to write numerous scripts for children's TV shows and one can only hope he never tried to teach screenwriting again as all of his students would have to spend years unlearning his lessons.
The entire mess is archived here. https://web.archive.org/web/20021226003 … /siy.cgi/1
So the winner turned into the movie Idiocracy, except with time travellers instead of sliders? Interesting.
The civilization of idiots idea is hardly a new or original one in sci fi. Cyril Kornbluth published The Marching Morons in the 1950's. HG Wells had the Eloi in The Time Machine. Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men has a number of civilizations suffering a decline due to lost intelligence. Of course Stapledon also wrote a novel about living flames, so using him as inspiration for Sliders episodes might not be the greatest idea...
This week we're finishing up our discussion of Sliders season 4 and discuss "Roads Taken" and "Revelations" http://rewatchpodcast.podomatic.com/ent … 9_48-08_00
Hi. Here are the notes for "Revelations" that I sent Rewatch Podcast.
As for the "Net Worth Redux," I am at the point where Quinn-2 and Wade-2 / Rick and Joanne are talking in person in the Dominion/ Chandler hotel. The majority of the plot holes are fixed except for Jack / Hurley's nonsensical plan for robbing the Magenta Towers.
I could write scripts on my tablet (with a bluetooth keyboard), but Windows 10 is still repatching my computers, so I won't be able to post the podcasts until tomorrow night. My password managers are stored on the PCs and I never commit passwords to memory.
Season 4: Luck of the Draw
When Marc Scott Zicree interviewed for SLIDERS, he was not entirely sure what he was getting into. He had a passing familiarity with SLIDERS. Most of the junior Season 3 producers had moved on. New writers were needed.
USA Networks (which owned Sci-Fi) had a VP who'd liked Zicree's writing on science fiction shows and recommended him to David Peckinpah.
Peckinpah hadn't been looking for a talented science fiction writer. As Season 3 showed, Peckinpah was not concerned with scripts he wasn't writing, he saw hiring screenwriters as the equivalent of hiring typists.
It was an astonishing stroke of fortune for a writer of Zicree's pedigree and caliber to be interested in SLIDERS and to be approached for a story editor role.
According to Temporal Flux of DoC: Zicree, in the interview with Peckinpah, repeated everything Peckinpah said in paraphrased sentences, echoing Peckinpah's views on production and scripts.
Peckinpah declared Zicree to be a genius and hired him as the Season 4 executive story editor -- a position that usually entails commissioning scripts, directing or performing rewrites, leading the writer's room,etc..
As noted in many interviews, the Season 4 budget was low. The writing staff consisted of David Peckinpah (1. executive producer), Bill Dial (2. co-executive producer), Marc Scott Zicree (3. story editor) and Chris Black (4. producer).
Most scripts would come from freelancers and need to be rewritten once submitted.
Because the writing staff was so small, the task of rewriting scripts had to be distributed and delegated and Zicree expected he'd take the approach of giving notes to writers on their treatments. When drafts came in, he would again write notes and he expected would distribute the task of rewrites among himself and his colleagues.
Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome
Zicree, at this point, began to further familiarize himself with SLIDERS, having long talks with his friend Tracy Torme, rewatching old episodes, reading the Dimension of Continuity articles and deleted scenes, watching Kari Wuhrer's movies.
He realized SLIDERS was in trouble: down two original (and essential) cast members, a problematic character in Maggie, the remaining regulars had gone from charming and lively to hostile and miserable.
To make matters worse, the leading man had forced his talentless brother into a regular role on the show.
According to TF: Marc attempted to make a meal of the mess. He wouldn't try to do the grounded SLIDERS of Season 1 - 2 -- he couldn't anyway. And he wouldn't do the movie ripoffs of Season 3 -- he had no budget for that anymore.
Instead, he'd try a more hard-sci-fi and myth approach.
He proposed an ambitious story-arc to really raise SLIDERS' profile: the Kromagg invasion of the sliders' home Earth. This way, the damage to the series in losing John Rhys-Davies and Sabrina Lloyd could be expressed and mined for drama. The Colin character could be a Kromagg spy, an altered clone of Quinn created from DNA samples taken in "Invasion."
It would be hinted throughout the season, however, that the Earth Prime invasion had been staged to manipulate Quinn into believing a false backstory, a theory all but confirmed by the third episode.
The season 4 finale would bring all the subtle clues into a massive climax and a shocking cliffhanger.
Looking at the interviews, it would seem that for episodes between the premiere and the finale, Zicree hoped for imaginative and intellectually challenging science fiction drama with more of a fantasy-adventure approach rather than the social commentary of Season 1 - 2, but with a focus on situational character drama rather than action and eye candy (which couldn't be afforded anyway).
The Other Slide of Darkness
According to TF: Peckinpah approved of Zicree's Season 4 arc. However, Peckinpah also took the task of writing the season premiere and immediately, the Zicree/Peckinpah relationship began to take a turn for the worse.
Peckinpah wrote the Kromaggs as overt soldiers, thugs, interrogators and torturers rather than distant figures acting through human agents -- and he also wrote Sabrina Lloyd out via sending her to a rape camp.
Zicree argued against these plot elements, providing Peckinpah with pages and pages of corrective notes and creative suggestions.
For example, Peckinpah misunderstood the concept of doubles and wrote a double of Quinn's mother to be played by a different actress.
Peckinpah ignored this and "Genesis" was filmed.
At this point, Zicree's protests took on the form of modifying his Season 4 plans. He proposed the concept of the Humaggs, suggesting these were the products of the rape camps. He suggested that the vaguely defined superweapon had sterilized the Kromaggs, requiring the camps.
Zicree believed that if this plot were present, it would force the episodes to focus on the sliders searching for Wade, giving him opportunities to resolve Wade's fate either via a guest-appearance or an offscreen mention.
Zicree was met with resistance and refusal by Peckinpah as well as Bill Dial. Dial had been unable to find work in recent years until his friend Peckinpah hired him for SLIDERS and his loyalty was to Peckinpah.
Zicree continued to argue for the Humagg storyline. This led to a rift between him, Peckinpah and Dial, who began to find him obnoxious.
Zicree also continued to contribute corrective notes to completed scripts, seeking to distribute the task of rewrites among the producers.
Dial refused to address the notes, declaring that all the scripts were adequate as written. Dial regularly refused to discuss stories in writers room meetings, preferring to play Solitaire on a computer.
Zicree chastised Dial for his negligence and demanded Dial's full attention. Dial came to despise Zicree and soon, Peckinpah hated Zicree as well.
When stories for the middle of the season were being determined, Zicree succeeded in getting two Humagg episodes commissioned due to the lack of alternatives on the table at the time.
He was also writing "Slidecage" and an episode of DEEP SPACE NINE.
The Exodus Part 1
According to TF: around this period, Peckinpah and Dial decided to drive Zicree off the show. They did this by destroying his Season 4 arc.
Zicree's Season 4 arc was building to the revelation that Colin Mallory was an altered-Quinn clone created by Kromaggs.
Dial and Peckinpah commissioned "Lipschitz Live," an episode with a Colin-double. They then declared that since a clone couldn't have a double, Zicree's plan for the Season 4 finale would need to be abandoned.
They did this despite the fact that they had bought the Season 4 finale story from Zicree already.
Zicree completed his work on "Slidecage" and gave up on actively contributing to SLIDERS, simply performing his managerial duties and letting Peckinpah, Dial and Chris Black carry on without Zicree's input.
As I look at Season 4, it would seem to me that with no story editor reviewing scripts or overseeing their commissioning, various oddities resulted such as (a) Rembrandt acting like he never met Dr. Jensen in "Slide By Wire" (b) "Virtual Slide," "Net Worth," "Slide By Wire" and "Data World" being the same computer world concept four times over (c) the sliders knowing Kolitar by name in "Way Out West" even though it was never spoken onscreen in "Slidecage" (d) the Kromaggs issuing a kill order on the sliders despite "Common Ground" establishing the sliders were off limits and (e) a truly puzzling Season 4 finale.
As articles indicate: the Season 4 budget was small. Only one story bought for Season 4, "God's Country," by David Gerrold, was not filmed.
Season 4 could not afford to let anymore purchased stories go unused -- meaning that Zicree's purchased Season 4 finale story had to be scripted -- by someone -- and filmed. No alternatives could be bought.
Bill Dial proceeded to take Zicree's story and remove the intended Season 4 arc elements. He then took what was left of the story and stretched it out to fill in the time, either by extending existing scenes to fill more acts than they'd been designed for or writing new scenes that simply reiterated previously stated information.
This approach to screenwriting is also predominant in Season 5, in which anything expensive or complicated to film would be removed and the remaining material would be stretched to fill the resulting gaps.
The original plot for "Revelations" as intended by Marc Scott Zicree was to begin with the sliders relaxing on a world in which Rembrandt would find a novel -- a science fiction novel with a plot that mirrored the human-Kromagg war.
What follows is my extrapolation of how the basic story could have gone -- I gave you the vague outline in earlier E-mails. What follows is me (as opposed to Zicree) fleshing out the vague into the more specific. My speculations are in italics. Anything not in italics was a definite story element as communicated by Temporal Flux.
The sliders would locate the author, who would help work out the secret of how to bypass the Slidecage.
The sliders would then slide back to Kromagg Prime.
Dial's script stretched what should have been no more than a teaser and a first act into the very end of the third act.
The original idea was that the sliders would land on Kromagg Prime and instantly cause an alert to go off. Their arrival is detected; the human inhabitants believe the sliders are the first of a Kromagg invasion and must be met killed on sight by soldiers who've been preparing for a Kromagg incursion for almost two decades.
In fleeing, Quinn is separated from Colin, Maggie and Rembrandt.
As Colin, Maggie and Rembrandt evade the soldiers, Quinn searches for his birth parents.
As Colin, Maggie and Rembrandt defend themselves, Colin begins to exhibit odd behaviour. He uses lethal force, casually murdering several of the soldiers without Rembrandt and Maggie seeing due to the confusion of the fight. They escape.
Colin, Maggie and Rembrandt find a safe place to hide and look up information to find Mr. and Mrs. Mallory.
Quinn locates his birth parents. They do not recognize him and believe him to be a Kromagg agent, either compromised or brainwashed. Quinn convinces them to hear him out, producing his microdot and a photograph of Colin, explaining that his foster parent-doubles hid him when his birth parents returned to Earth Prime for him.
Mr. and Mrs. Mallory protest: they never left their son with doubles. Their son died in the human-Kromagg war. And they have never heard of anyone named Colin Mallory.
We go back to Maggie and Rembrandt: Colin is holding them at gunpoint. They are his hostages; Colin will need them as leverage because if Quinn has found their 'parents,' then he now knows the truth.
Quinn and his 'parents' realize: there is no Colin Mallory. Never has been. All the sliders were scanned on arrival; the man known as Colin who came through the vortex is genetically almost identical to Quinn -- a clone with surgical alterations to make him look like a relative.
The invasion of Earth Prime, the appearance of Amanda Mallory, the microdot, Colin's convenient location -- all this has been staged by the Kromaggs to give them a way back to Kromagg Prime -- by sliding a Kromagg sleeper agent onto the Kromagg homeworld to shut down the Slidecage from within.
Quinn and his 'parents' race for the Slidecage control facility, realizing the truth. They have to stop Colin.
It's revealed that the Slidecage can be unlocked with the Mallorys' genetic code -- however, a clone wouldn't be able to access the controls. Nevertheless, Quinn is convinced that if the Kromaggs manipulated them this far, then Colin has some sort of plan for that place and that's where he'd go.
Quinn begins to wonder: what else has been a trick? Was the Earth in "Genesis" really his homeworld? Was the invasion real or was what he saw of it staged? What happened to Wade?
The Mallorys arrive at the Slidecage facility to find the guards murdered. Colin is inside with Quinn's friends; he orders Quinn to enter alone.
Quinn complies, shouting questions to Colin over comm-link -- is the Colin he knows in there under the sleeper programming somewhere? Is anything of the brother he loved real?
Colin mocks Quinn, declaring him to be an impulsive, gullible, impotent pawn, powerless and helpless -- completely controlled by the Kromaggs even now that he knows the truth, because Colin holds Maggie and Rembrandt's lives.
Quinn confronts Colin, succeeding in trapping him in one of the control center's chambers and rescuing Maggie and Rembrandt. But Colin has triggered a self-destruct sequence for the facility to explode, which will shut down the Slidecage and open the door for the Kromaggs to return.
Quinn uses his genetic signature -- the same as his 'father's' -- to shut down the self-destruct. But then he realizes that Colin has tricked him -- the self-destruct sequence was faked; what Colin really made him do was unlock the Slidecage.
Colin unlocks his chamber -- Quinn never succeeded in locking him in. Colin congratulates Quinn: Quinn Mallory is the Kromagg Dynasty's greatest hero. He has achieved his mission. Now he can die.
Rembrandt and Maggie make it outside the Slidecage facility, finding Mr. and Mrs. Mallory.
Then suddenly, in the air above, red vortexes appear and Kromagg manta ships emerge. Filling the sky. The Mallorys, Rembrandt and Maggie look up in horror.
Inside the facility, Quinn and Colin battle, Quinn desperately trying to immobilize the man he sees as a brother and Colin the sleeper agent trying to kill Quinn. Brother against 'brother' fighting --
And the Kromagg ships descend upon this world in a triumphant homecoming.
To be continued in Season 5.
The Last of Eden
Dial's awkward rewrite of Zicree's plot involved ripping out most of the critical scenes.
The approach of stretching and extending the remains resulted in massive plotholes, obvious filler and nonsensical characterization.
Quinn and Colin have developed the means to bypass the Slidecage and have the coordinates for home. As Dial had removed the original outcome and decided on a wrong-Earth plot instead, he was required to provide some explanation for why the sliders make it to a completely different Earth.
His explanation was that Isaac Clarke changed the coordinates -- which does not account for why Quinn and Colin wouldn't protest this or why they couldn't simply apply the bypass formula to the correct home coordinates.
When all the sliders meet Mr. and Mrs. Mallory, they do not request the anti-Kromagg superweapon to liberate Earth Prime. Instead, it comes up in conversation incidentally. At this point, Quinn declares he will not be leaving Kromagg Prime and gives Rembrandt the timer to liberate Quinn's adopted and Kromagg-dominated Earth alone.
Quite inexplicably, Rembrandt is untroubled by Quinn abandoning Earth Prime and its people -- and is then told by Quinn he must go to Dr. Clarke to procure the weapon -- even though it was previously established that the Mallorys created the weapon.
This characterization is another "Mother and Child" level disaster of characterization, rendering Quinn as having abandoned his mission to liberate his adopted Earth, being uncaring about the fate of his mother and being indifferent to sending Rembrandt into a Kromagg war zone.
This sequence of events also makes no sense: if the sliders now think Clarke has the weapon, why didn't they stick with him instead of approaching the Mallorys?
Given that Quinn is the one who chose to search for the superweapon, why is he now uninterested in acquiring and deploying it?
Why is this shift in his goals not addressed or remarked upon by Rembrandt? Why is Rembrandt unconcerned that Quinn is abandoning him?
The reason these errors are present: writer Bill Dial sought to create a reason for Rembrandt to leave Maggie, Colin and Quinn alone with the Mallorys and needed to send Rembrandt to acquire exposition from Dr. Clarke about why this isn't the correct Kromagg Prime.
These measures were separation and stalling tactics designed to extend an underrunning script as the central plot of the story had been removed.
Dr. Clarke's dialogue with Rembrandt is also nonsensical; he claims to have helped the sliders by providing the coordinates, except the sliders already had different coordinates which they inexplicably permitted Clarke to alter.
Dr. Clarke claims he has evidence to convict the Mallorys for their war crimes, despite the episode clearly indicating that the Mallorys' anti-Kromagg weapon is known to the public with no consequences having come for two decades.
Once again, this is Bill Dial attempting to stretch out the remaining fragments of Zicree's story, having thrown out the bulk of the material.
Even with these measures -- measures that break the logic of this one episode, that break the character of Quinn Mallory, that break the Season 4 arc -- the episode still runs short.
As a result, the final act is devoted to a lengthy, prolonged and content-free chase sequence.
The episode ends with the vortex fired off a moving train yet inexplicably keeping pace with the train when it should be a speck in the distance.
This rewrite has been performed in a lazy, slapdash, inconsistent fashion -- largely because Bill Dial disliked Zicree and was disinclined to treat Zicree's ideas with respect, particularly when this altered Season 4 finale had been done specifically to spite and demoralize Zicree.
The Exodus, Part 2
This was Jerry O'Connell's final episode of SLIDERS.
According to TF: Jerry had enjoyed his Season 4 producer role because it allowed him to coast. He could show up late or inebriated without repercussions or consequence.
He now wanted to be executive producer of SLIDERS, not for creative reasons, but for more opportunities to coast and an increased salary.
Indeed, his writing, directing and producing credits on Season 4 were primarily for financial interest; he never wrote, produced or directed after SLIDERS aside from a token credit on the film FIRST DAUGHTER (written during Season 4) and a TWO AND A HALF MEN Internet parody.
Jerry sought the promotion but was not taken seriously by Universal.
However, he found a stronger bargaining position when the Sci-Fi Channel missed his contractual deadline for ordering Season 5.
Sci-Fi had never intended for Season 5, intending to draw SLIDERS' audience to Sci-Fi's original programming and then abandon SLIDERS.
That was the reason for the long period with no new episodes of SLIDERS while shows like FIRST WAVE and WELCOME TO PARADOX and FARSCAPE aired new installments.
The plan failed; SLIDERS' Season 4 ratings were too strong for Sci-Fi to cancel it if they could afford to renew -- but by this point, their money was tied up in the original programming. They had to find other avenues of finance.
By the time Sci-Fi found the money and renewed, Jerry was no longer obligated to return to the series.
Jerry offered to return if and only if he were promoted to Executive Producer. Universal refused to promote him. Jerry quit.
Jerry offered to do six episodes of Season 5 so long as Charlie starred in all 18.
David Peckinpah and Bill Dial refused to hire Charlie for any more episodes than Jerry.
Negotiations continued. There were some personnel changes even without Jerry's issues: Peckinpah had been assigned to a different series, TURKS, meaning that while Peckinpah remained in charge of SLIDERS, Bill Dial would become the de-facto lead producer.
Dial hired "Virtual Slide" and "Lipschitz Live" writer Keith Damron to replace Marc Scott Zicree as the new Season 5 story editor.
Dial and Damron were now faced with having to write Jerry O'Connell out.
Dial changed his mind about Zicree's Season 4 finale.
He decided he would do the Season 4 finale after all -- as Season 5, episode 5.
In Season 5, episode 5, the sliders would land on the real Kromagg Prime, Colin would be exposed as a clone and a traitor, the invasion of Earth Prime would be revealed as a ruse.
Colin would be stranded on the real Kromagg Prime. Quinn would open a gateway to the real Earth Prime -- but fail to take Maggie and Rembrandt with him.
The next 12 episodes of SLIDERS would feature Maggie and Rembrandt with a new slider, a scientist named Melissa Hunter from the real Earth Prime who had worked with the FBI in recreating Quinn's slide-tech and gotten lost in the multiverse.
Jerry's sixth and final episode of Season 5 would be the series finale; Quinn would return to wrap up the show.
Then Jerry declared that he would return for no episodes of SLIDERS at all. He and Charlie quit.
Jerry declared in a chat session that he didn't want to return for Season 5 due to a budget cut. There was no budget cut; this was a lie.
Jerry would later change his story to quitting over a "contractual dispute" without elaborating on this.
When directly asked what he wanted to do as Executive Producer, Jerry replied that he thought SLIDERS had become like too "bubble gum" and he wanted it to be more like THE X-FILES -- utterly meaningless.
Temporal Flux does not believe Jerry had any creative ambitions for SLIDERS whatsoever.
As a result of Jerry's departure and his refusal to perform an exit story, the Season 4 Kromagg arc would never be resolved.
Charlie O'Connell went on to feature in a season of The Bachelor in which his constant state of intoxication made him realize he was an alcoholic. He sought treatment and, I believe, recovered.
Jerry O'Connell felt no regret about leaving SLIDERS.
He believed that he would be a Tom Cruise level movie star, having achieved a certain level of fame for SLIDERS, JERRY MAGUIRE and SCREAM 2.
His performances won him rave reviews, although they were mostly the John Rhys-Davies coached performances of Seasons 1 - 2.
In interviews, he spoke of his numerous female conquests, his superior athleticism in fencing tournaments and generally portrayed himself as a goofy ladies man and teen idol heartthrob.
Jerry's opinion was that SLIDERS was a hit because the audience found him attractive, either as an object of desire or as a surrogate figure.
Immediately post-SLIDERS, he chose roles that flattered his ego as an attractive male specimen: the young astronaut in MISSION TO MARS, the leading man Lothario of the sex comedy TOMCATS, the leading man of the film DOWN UNDER. Jerry chose roles that were largely about his looks.
MISSION TO MARS was a critical failure and Jerry's performance was considered serviceable but bland.
TOMCATS was considered to be a masterwork of cinematic incompetence with crass, ugly, sexist humour and Jerry's performance consisted of sneering and mugging for the camera.
At this point, Jerry's fan following was largely depleted; the fan sites ceased to be maintained. Jerry had made a grave miscalculation, mistaking SLIDERS fans for Jerry O'Connell fans, something that became clear when TOMCATS bombed.
Jerry's appeal in Seasons 1 - 2: he was an attractive young man playing a sensitive, earnest, heartfelt scientist of intelligence and moral integrity. This performance had been achieved through John Rhys-Davies coaching Jerry.
Without John to guide him, Jerry's performances had no thought, no detail, no consideration, no characterization -- just vacant blandness or clumsy comedy.
Jerry also destroyed his earnest, sincere image after numerous girlfriends revealed that he had drunkenly cheated on them and in interviews where he bragged about random hookups with fans.
In a final, desperate bid at the movie star career he craved, Jerry signed to a Jerry Bruckheimer film.
For this film, DOWN UNDER, Jerry was keen to film in Australia for this buddy comedy.
Jerry was nearly fired off this film.
Ever since SLIDERS moved to Los Angeles, Jerry had received many invitations to nightclubs and bars and parties.
His star value and attractive appearance drew additional customers, after all. He was drinking heavily until the early mornings. He would stagger home and eat pizza and other takeout foods. By 2002 and shortly before DOWN UNDER was to film, Jerry was flabby and overweight. His performances were Season 4 poor or worse and now he didn't even have his looks.
DOWN UNDER producer Bruckheimer threatened to fire Jerry. Jerry agreed to get in shape, hiring a personal trainer to do a complete overhaul of Jerry's diet and lifestyle. Jerry agreed to quit drinking, to quit eating fried and processed foods, and to commit to the regular exercise he'd stopped around late Season 4 of SLIDERS.
Jerry got back in shape and found that he enjoyed sobriety. He filmed DOWN UNDER. It bombed with test audiences, although they reacted positively to one scene -- a dream sequence with a computer generated kangaroo.
As a result, the entire film was reshot to make the kangaroo the star and renamed KANGAROO JACK. Jerry ended up playing second banana to a cartoonishly rendered marsupial.
This was the end of the line for Jerry's movie star career; he could no longer be taken seriously as a bankable leading man and he was also not worth his price when more committed and capable actors with lower paycheques were available and hadn't alienated their fanbase or accumulated so many failures.
This crushing failure of ambition actually turned out to be a good thing for Jerry.
Needing work, he turned back to the medium he'd thought himself above -- television. He accepted a recurring and then regular role in CROSSING JORDAN with Jill Hennessy and began to rebuild his career as a working class actor who, if not at home, would be on the set or in the gym. He began taking acting classes again.
In 2012, in a sadly offline YouTube video, Jerry O'Connell did an interview and spoke extensively about SLIDERS.
He said that he often watched the episodes with his children and wife.
He kept, in his kitchen, a Season 1 photo of himself with his fellow cast members.
He said that John Rhys-Davies had been a mentor and father figure who had sold his car to Jerry. Jerry said he loved SLIDERS and regretted that the cast broke up. He said he would gladly reprise his role as Quinn if given the chance, but that NBCUniversal had no interest in reviving the property. When asked why the show had been so loved, Jerry admitted he didn't really understand it, but he loved the family environment and being with Cleavant, Sabrina and John. He missed them all.
In 2014, Tracy Torme received a phone call from Jerry. They had not spoken since Season 3. Jerry expressed his longing to see SLIDERS revived.
They made some calls. Cleavant was interested. Sabrina was in Rome and not available. John could not be reached. NBCUniversal was its usual unresponsive self. Jerry reached out to Funny or Die, the website, and performed in a spoof Kickstarter for a SLIDERS movie.
I have two theories. My first is that Jerry, now sober, a married man and a father of two, had done some hard thinking about his life and why his movie career never took off and finally figured it out. It's not the actor. It's the character he creates.
The key to becoming a movie star is playing an iconic, genre-definitive character who inspires the imagination. Indiana Jones. Spider-Man. Batman. James Bond, Mr. Spock. Dr. House. Superman. Lara Croft. Doctor Who.
In his career, Jerry had only ever played one character like that. Quinn Mallory was and remains Jerry's one and only shot at pop culture immortality.
My other theory is that Jerry simply missed John, Sabrina and Cleavant -- and with John getting on in years, Jerry longed for a final reunion of all four. He wished to see the sliders reunited. Restored. Reborn.
Don't we all?
Looking forward to you doing season five. I don't hate it the way some people do.
I've actually started a season 4 rewatch thanks to the rewatch podcast. It's interesting revisiting the stuff... most of the time when I go and rewatch episodes its from season 1 & 2, and occasionally 3.
I've actually started a season 4 rewatch thanks to the rewatch podcast. It's interesting revisiting the stuff... most of the time when I go and rewatch episodes its from season 1 & 2, and occasionally 3.
That's how it was for me too. I liked a lot more of season 4 than I thought I would. And so far, Season 5 is not killing me like i thought it would. I remember not watching it originally except for trace bits here and there. I was not happy with the OConnell's being out and it was my silent protest type of thing. Looking at it now I can appreciate it much differently.
Season five has some of the same problems as season four in terms of inconsistencies in the overall season arc. Taken individually there are several really good episodes here. There's a reason the 5th season ratings were good enough to merit renewal.
For the next podcast: The Unstuck Man is probably as good as could be expected for an episode where you're replacing half the cast. Applied Physics is one of the best episodes of the whole series and by far the best of this season.
I wonder if they're going to retire the Alan Rickman impression now
Liking the behind the scenes stuff as ever, ireactions.
It's good to hear that Jerry's matured and come down to earth, and it was touching to hear that he keeps a photo of the original cast in his house. I wish that video was still online, too.
I do hope they can get back together one day. Not even to act, necessarily, but just for a reunion, maybe an interview. It would just be nice to think of them reuniting on good terms one last time.
I've been writing up the notes ahead of time for the boys so I can get back to writing scripts. I just wrote up the trivia for a particular episode near the end, and in discussing it, I felt compelled to write up a list and description of The Ten Most Hated People in SLIDERS.
There's also "Cleavant Derricks ****ing hated this episode" and "This was the point where Cleavant lost all hope for SLIDERS and knew it was game over."
New episode up. We're delving into S5 beginning with "The Unstuck Man" and "Applied Physics"
I wonder if they're going to retire the Alan Rickman impression now
We were actually going to retire the whole Quick Impressions bit for the new season but since the behind the scenes stuff and deleted scenes is on par with how we did season 4, we decided to keep it in!
Alan Rickman lives on for us!