Okay, I added "gobsmacked" back in.
In other news, I have sent Sliders Rewatch all the deleted scenes and trivia for Season 5 now -- just hit send on an E-mail containing all the notes for "To Catch a Slider," "Dust," "Eye of the Storm," "The Seer," the feature film (never made), and the 2009 series finale outlined by Tracy Torme (never made). While I know a lot about SLIDERS thanks to Temporal Flux, I know far, far less about LOIS AND CLARK, so I suspect this marks the conclusion of my contributions to the Rewatch Podcast unless they want a guest. Looking forward to hearing what they do next!
Behind the Scenes Information Courtesy of Temporal Flux
A Current Affair Trivia
• Information here is from Keith Damron.
• This episode was written by the infamous Steve Stoliar, personal friend of David Peckinpah, former personal assistant to Groucho Marx and writer of Paradise Lost," largely considered upon its air date to be the worst episode of SLIDERS ever made.
• He also wrote Season 4's "Net Worth," largely infamous for reportedly being a Sabrina Lloyd story without Sabrina Lloyd.
• Stoliar pitched SLIDERS does the Lewinsky story.
• It was wildly popular with Dial, Peckinpah and Black, but not Damron.
• Keith Damron thought it was unlikely Universal would approve this story.
• It was approved.
• The script came in.
• Damron, busy with other episodes, had absolutely no time -- none whatsoever -- to rewrite the script, and it was filmed almost entirely as written.
• Unlike "Paradise Lost" (written according to production's preferences for monster movies and hacked up before and during filming) and "Net Worth" (crippled), this episode is genuinely representative of Steve Stoliar's skills as a writer.
• Stoliar pitches a simple, straightforward concept.
• There's some weaknesses on display such as Rembrandt, Diana and Mallory's inability to realize why Maggie was disguised and some absurdities like the gang entering a room with the President despite holding a device that's counting down.
• But there's also tremendous effort at world-building and an effort to define all the characters and make them more than their plot functions.
• Paradoxically, there's also their reduction to plot functions: Bobby Hawks is appalled by the idea of faking a story, but ultimately goes along with it because the episode needed to wrap up.
• There's effective, good-natured humour without the marked mean spiritedness of other SLIDERS stories from this era.
• This episode had no script editor working on it.
• Steve Stoliar is a decent writer. Not a master of the format, but he's decent.
• SLIDERS blogger Ian McDuffie remarked that script-editor Keith Damron was arguably the worst writer to ever work on SLIDERS, but that "Sometimes, we are blessed with his days off."
• Bobby Hawks is a pastiche of Matt Drudge.
• President Jeffrey Williams is a pastiche of Bill Clinton, right down to the hand gestures.
• Production did not have enough extras for the final press conference, so the extras were filmed in four separate shots and the shots were them combined into a single shot.
• This episode, for scenes not filmed in the Chandler, uses a leftover set from the COLUMBO TV movie, "Ashes to Ashes."
• (Does it really look so different from the Chandler that it made a difference?)
• Oddly, that COLUMBO TV movie was directed by Patrick McGoohan, whose writing, acting and directing on THE PRISONER were homaged in the script for "Please Press One."
• McGoohan stumbled into Keith Damron's office one day when looking for the bathroom, disappointing Damron, who wanted to pitch a PRISONER reboot -- and I admit that a Damron-PRISONER couldn't have been any worse than the actual reboot.
The Java Jive Trivia
• The information regarding this episode is from Matt Hutaff of Earth Prime dot com and Season 5 script editor Keith Damron.
• This is the first episode of SLIDERS with a Rembrandt double that doesn't feature Clinton Derricks Carroll. (Error: I mistakenly thought Clinton was in "The Alternateville Horror." He isn't.)
• This episode was written by Janét Saunders, David Peckinpah's assistant since Season 3.
• They had a good relationship and Janét pitched him this episode for Season 5 and also another to come.
• Janét had explored the Universal Backlot and found locations that could be used in this story.
• In the original story, there was a lot of Depression-era gangster action with the story opening with Rembrandt rescuing Angie from the Dropper Daddy's Gang who just killed her boyfriend.
• Angie was not a manager at the Velvet Slipper, merely a singer who helps Rembrandt get a job as a bass player.
• Prohibition on alcohol never ended in this version; there was nothing about caffeine being illegal, and Angie's boyfriend was informing on some alcohol producing gangsters.
• Angie would get kidnapped and the sliders would try to rescue her and fail, but succeed in bringing down the gangsters.
• It was meant to be a showcase for Rembrandt and Cleavant's singing.
• The original title of the pitch was "Black and Bluesey" and can be seen in the Odds and Ends at EP.COM.
• Damron and Dial decided that caffeine would be illegal to add more of an alt-world flavour, which I think was a good idea.
• However, the final product was impaired due to lifeless direction and a low music budget.
• Music composer Danny Lux was too busy with scoring SLIDERS and THE PRACTICE and ALLY MCBEAL.
• Bill Dial turned to songwriter friend Peter Andrews to write "He Must be Dreaming."
• The filming of this episode was a popular event; even the hands-off Sci-Fi executives came to set to watch the musical performances.
• According to Temporal Flux: Dial and Damron needed to make this episode another low-cost effort in order to redirect the money to the epic and expensive series finale.
• This was, upon airing, considered to be one of the worst episodes of SLIDERS ever made.
• But then, SLIDERS managed to make some more that were even worse.
Return of Maggie Beckett
• Information here is from Temporal Flux and Keith Damron.
This is another episode by Chris Black ("Common Ground," "The Alternateville Horror," "Slide By Wire," "Way Out West" and "Applied Physics."
• As with all Black episodes, there is a strong fascination with Maggie and Kari Wuhrer.
• Chris Black wanted to address the role of Maggie's father in her life and Dial and Peckinpah were happy to let him do what he liked.
• However, the prop department negligently got Maggie's last name wrong.
• There is no real story behind this, but it speaks to how the production really didn't care about what the hell they were doing even if writers here and there did.
• The character of the General in this episode is meant to be Tom Beckett from QUANTUM LEAP -- albeit unofficially.
• Originally, the title for this episode was "Waiting for Beckett," but the title didn't clear the legal department for some reason. It was a reference to the Samuel Beckett play, WAITING FOR GODOT.
• In Seasons 4 to 5, numerous space stories had been pitched, especially with the sliders landing in a spacecraft seconds before it launches.
• Most of these stories were rejected until Chris Black pitched this one.
• Damron and Black were then put in competition, both to create a space-based pitch that Dial and Peckinpah would agree to buy.
• Damron pitched a sliders-land-in-a-launching spaceship story where the sliders accidentally take the spaceship with them to another world with an overpopulation crisis and the sliders have to decide whether to hand over the spaceship or withhold it -- because without the spaceship, they can't slide off this world.
• Chris Black pitched something far simpler and his pitch was bought.
Damron good-naturedly declared it to be his favourite episode of Season 5.
• This is the most popular episode of Season 5 among the fan base.
• Information below is from Temporal Flux of Dimension of Continuity.
• This story was pitched because David Peckinpah's obsession with motorcycles was well-known to the staff, especially his assistant and the writer of this episode, Janét Saunders.
• She thought he would insist on buying it.
• Peckinpah was not in a lead role for Season 5, but he was technically still the boss.
• The original pitch featured Kari Wuhrer heavily and was a Maggie love story.
• However, Peckinpah's distance from the show meant he wasn't pushing for this episode to be made and it was on the verge of being rejected.
• Then his mistress -- no, not his wife -- mentioned that a motorcycle episode could offer the chance for her to do some stuntwork.
• Peckinpah commissioned the episode for this reason, although his stated reason was that he liked the costuming opportunities for Kari. "I see Kari in tight leather -- go with it!"
• This Kari costume never happened due to rewrites.
• According to Temporal Flux: When Cleavant Derricks heard about Peckinpah commissioning an episode to suit his girlfriend, he lost all hope for SLIDERS.
• Cleavant realized that the show was not about making a series, it was just Peckinpah and Dial screwing around and with Sci-Fi unlikely to renew for another season after O'Connell's departure made them lose all faith, this was most definitely the end.
• The other reason Cleavant was sure no renewal was coming: he knew Sci-Fi had committed their budget elsewhere for the next season of TV; they'd set nothing side for a sixth season of SLIDERS.
• Robert Floyd, in contrast, was sure there would be a Season 6 -- the ratings were excellent, he noted. Sci-Fi would have to be insane to cancel their highest rated series.
• Surely, Rob felt, given SLIDERS' first-place position on Sci-Fi, they would find the money somewhere.
• Never in the history of SLIDERS has anyone ever been so very, very wrong.
• This episode is also infamous for another reason: before Season 5, there was a prominent SLIDERS side run by a man with the handle of "The Expert."
• The Expert had a lot of behind the scenes information on SLIDERS, frequently revealing plots of future episodes (although he would't ruin them). He had contacts in production.
• Before Season 5, the Expert posted a ton of information on what was coming with episode plots such as Conrad Bennish Jr. returning, Colin getting blown up, etc..
• Temporal Flux also revealed the plan for Bennish to return for Season 5.
• The Expert also revealed that one planned episode for Season 5 was "Sleepless in San Francisco," a Maggie love story and various details of this story.
• In a chat, Season 5 script editor Keith Damron declared that the Expert and Temporal Flux had made up all their claims and that none of these events would take place in the show.
• Keith Damron said there was no "Sleepless in San Francisco" story.
• Shortly after this, the Expert took down his site.
• Fans theorize that these leaks were a sting operation to identify the Expert's contact, and he took down his site to protect his source.
• The Expert's episode capsules remain online at EarthPrime.com and Temporal Flux purchased most of the Expert's SLIDERS materials.
• I would also add that TF's reveals and exposes would, in time, come to equal if not dwarf the Expert's output.
• Temporal Flux insisted that Jason Gaffney (who played Bennish) had been booked for appearances only for this to be abruptly cancelled and that the Expert's reports had not been wrong -- although, as with any TV show, some stories might not make it to air as initially planned (and reported on by the Expert).
• Keith Damron maintained in chats that TF and the Expert were liars and had fabricated "Sleepless in San Francisco" and the Bennish arc.
• This left a nasty impression on SLIDERS fandom. The Expert and TF are beloved figures of fandom.
• Keith Damron, in contrast, was seen as the mediocre writer of "Lipschitz Live" and considered to have little to no credibility when put against the Expert or TF.
• It's amusing that someone employed by the show was seen as an untrustworthy charlatan.
• Meanwhile, fan figures of no official standing were seen as definitive authorities on the series.
• Keith Damron was seen as attacking Temporal Flux and the Expert, and by extension, attacking the SLIDERS fan base who were the only reason Damron had a job in Seasons 4 - 5.
• SLIDERS would never have made it to Season 3 or 4 or 5 without that devoted and campaigning audience.
• Later on, Matt Hutaff was able to get his hands on a pitch for "Easy Slider." The original version as pitched.
• This original pitch was exactly in line with the Expert's information on "Sleepless in San Francisco," the pitch Damron claimed didn't exist, the pitch Damron claimed that TF and the Expert had fabricated.
• It was a rough version of what would become "Easy Slider" with the aired episode having made it Mallory's love story instead of Maggie's.
• Matt was also able to get Tracy Torme to definitively confirm that Bennish had been scheduled for Season 5.
• This made it blatantly clear that Damron, for whatever reason, had been lying and had done so with great malice towards the Expert and Temporal Flux as well as the fans, seeking to portray the fan experts as liars.
• For this reason, moreso than his bad scripts and bad editing, Keith Damron is the second most hated man in SLIDERS.
1) David Peckinpah
2) Keith Damron, hated for his 'outreach' to SLIDERS fans and also for his Year 5 Journal where every bad Season 5 decision is documented.
3) Bill Dial, hated for the Season 5 finale and Season 5 in general as well as sabotaging Season 4.
4) Jerry O'Connell, hated for abandoning the show and lying about why, claiming that there was a Season 5 budget cut (there wasn't).
5) Kari Wuhrer, hated for abusing Sabrina Lloyd.
6) Peter Roth, hated as the FOX executive who demanded John Rhys-Davies be fired
7) Robert Greenblatt, hated as the FOX President who declared the Season 3 monster episodes to be superior to Seasons 1 - 2.
8) Steve Stoliar, hated for writing "Paradise Lost."
9) William Bigelow, hated for writing "The Chasm."
10) Doug Molitor for the Slide it Yourself fiasco.
• The story original "Easy Slider" pitch is here: http://earthprime.com/etcetera/the-original-easy-slider
• There exists the possibility that Damron, as an staff member, was obligated to say what he was told to say by his employers.