Another thing Matt and I were debating -- I genuinely believe that Quinn Mallory is the greatest fictional character of the twentieth century, a pop culture icon who stands next to Indiana Jones, Spider-Man, Mr. Spock, Batman and Luke Skywalker. Or would if not for the fact that SLIDERS became a complete and total joke. Matt says that it's cute that I think that, but it's not remotely reflective of reality. But I genuinely think of Quinn as a superhero.
First, he has a distinctive silhouette and a costume that makes him recognizable from every camera angle. The moppy hair and Jerry O'Connell's build make him stand out in shadow, as does the pose of him holding the timer. The flannel and jeans are as memorable as any superhero uniform. Next is his secret origin from the trauma of his father and the desire to create something incredible that ripped a hole in reality, followed by a series of experiences that, combined with innate abilities, gave him a distinct set of superpowers: he possesses superhuman intelligence that allows him to resolve the plot in a very short number of pages, and he also possesses extensive knowledge of individuals and their private and personal details as gathered across thousands of encounters across the multiverse.
And also, Quinn has some severe social handicaps but also a limitless sense of compassion for the weak and a fierce sense of morality. This is a wanderer across time and space who is also a social crusader driven by an insane desire to oppose tyranny and injustice in every form he finds it. He also contains some incredibly complex philosophical complexities. Quinn is a gambler and risktaker who causally leapt into a hole in the air, but he is also a seeker of truth who is angry, suspicious and defiant of authority for its own sake.
I think his defining moment as a truthseeker is in "Luck of the Draw"; he is unwarmed by creature comforts, unimpressed by luxury and has no patience for trite platitudes and establishment fictions. He demands explanations and answers where most people would just sit back and sip the free champagne. This is a hero who believes in the power of knowledge to liberate, to guide and to vanquish the cruel and wicked.
(But he's still a messy dresser, a clumsy eater, a socially awkward isolationist whose megawatt smile conceals a lonely and secluded personality, a ridiculously guilt-driven egotist who blames himself for every single one of the world's ills and whose inability to maintain relationships has left him living in a basement for the last 15 years with his mother being his only social contact. He also hasn't had a date since 1996.)
This is a hero who is in some ways absolutely invincible, at least on an intellectual level. But this is also a hero who is incredibly vulnerable because at the end of the day, that limitless intellect is within a human shell and Quinn is as physically susceptible as anybody else. It's not difficult to write Quinn into situations that force his back against the wall, but it's also not difficult to adjust the situation to have him resolve the issue very quickly as the story demands it. His superpower is ultimately the writer's superpower; the ability to shift the story in illogical, irrational and unlikely directions that are made convincing through the device of Quinn's intelligence. And that's what makes this character unique, special, distinctive, invincible, immortal and eternal. Sherlock Holmes. Dr. House. Horatio Hornblower. James T. Kirk. Quinn Mallory.
Matt thinks that's just nuts.