Re: Do we miss Informant?

ireactions wrote:

As much as I would like Trump out of office, I have to ask: what exactly can he be charged with to oust him? Collusion with Russia? If this loudmouth worked with Russia, he'd never shut up about it. Obstruction of justice? He failed at every turn.

Numerous experts say that Trump's intent to obstruct is established through ordering subordinates to shut down the Mueller investigation only for his staff to ignore him or refuse. And that it's solid grounds for impeachment. To me (and to Pelosi, I think), it would be very easy for the Trump administration to spin that as Trump expressing wishes that he knew would not be carried out. To me, impeachment is currently a dead end.

Yeah, I don't think impeachment and removal is possible.  My favorite idea is to go through the motions and then not call for a vote.  I'm for impeachment in the same way that I'm in favor of a doctor doing one last round of CPR on a man he knows is probably dead.  Because it's the right thing to do.  Because there's that small chance that it could work.  Because you never know.

Would it be a waste of Democratic political capital?  I don't know.  It wouldn't affect Biden or Mayor Pete or Beto or Julian Castro or DeBlasio or anyone not currently in Congress.  If you don't bother with a Senate vote, it wouldn't affect Warren or Bernie or Booker or Gillabrand or Kamala or Klobuchar.  The only person who might be involved in a House impeachment proceeding is Tulsi, and maybe you let her campaign and let the other Democratic Reps do it.  For Democratic people in the House, I'd suspect that the impeachment proceedings would *be* their campaign.  "Did my House rep participate in the impeachment proceedings?  Were they big players?  Cool, they have my vote"

I'd rather them do that than keep wasting 9/11 first responders' time.  Or work on legislation that McConnell will kill.

Would it be a dog and pony show?  Would there be evidence to get any sort of conviction?  I don't know.  I'd just feel a lot better about my government if a president tried really hard to break the law, and even if he failed because he's an idiot, that the checks and balances at least tried to make him pay for it.

Maybe Pelosi is right.  I just don't really see the downside.  I don't think you lose any votes.  I'd love to present a ton of evidence and make Republicans (either in the House or the Senate) formally side with Trump in history.  And maybe you disrupt some republican campaigns or Trump's campaign by getting them crazy off topic for the most part.

Just like I've gotten us crazy off topic smile

Re: Do we miss Informant?

I don't know if we're really off topic. I won't have my essay on Informant's "29.7" ready until the end of the weekend.

Impeachment does not strike me as something you can run in the background. Once the Democratic Party rings that bell, it's going to be all impeachment at all hours on all days and I don't know how practical or worthwhile that is for a foregone conclusion of defeat. It could be a course of action from which there is no retreat, no shifting attention. And I recently made a terrible mistake in that area.

I'm flailing a bit, desperately trying to think of THREE MORE THINGS that could count as one of Informant's top ten contributions to SLIDERS. But I'm in too deep to turn back now. And I'll probably end up folding this thread into Informant's political thread. And reposting Informant's top ten contributions in a separate thread. If I can think of ten. Currently, I've only been able to think of six. I don't know why I said ten. A person who is never wrong would have said five things. Damn it.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Well, I'm certainly not an expert.  If impeachment hinders a Democratic push for the White House against Trump or even Pence, it doesn't make sense.  I just have read a lot on it and loved John Oliver's analysis.

I think I trust Pelosi more than some.  I don't buy the "I'm waiting so that we can send him to jail" argument because I think you can have that cake and eat it too.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Also, impeachment doesn't send someone to jail.  It doesn't even require a criminal act.  Pence would surely pardon him anyway, like Ford did for Nixon.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

No, Pelosi has argued that she doesn't want to impeach because she wants to wait until he's no longer President so that he can be indicted.  The Mueller report said that they can't indict him on criminal charges because he's president.  So if he's not president, they could use those charges to send him to prison.  If a Democrat is in office, he wouldn't get a pardon.

With Trump, Pence could pardon, but that only works on Federal charges.  He could still go to jail from the charges in the state of New York.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Day Six: Informant on Reasoning and Metaphor. ("29.7" will have to wait.)
Informant was a huge fan of FRINGE, an X-FILES-esque paranormal procedural where the bizarre events were revealed to be the result of a SLIDERS-esque machine that opened a gateway between parallel worlds. Informant is also a fan of SUPERNATURAL, an X-FILES-esque procedural that determinedly renders its reality in terms of magic. And Informant watched THE X-FILES revival and expressed dismay at how from week to week, Mulder and Scully seemed to ricochet between a science fiction universe of alien technology and a magical universe of ghosts and demons. The former presented technology that was beyond human creation but not beyond understanding; the latter declared that humans were at the mercy of otherworldly forces that defied all rationality.

I remarked that THE X-FILES' showrunner, Chris Carter, should be admired for letting each writer write their own version of the show and Informant rebuked Carter for this, saying it led to a schizophrenic, incoherent series. Informant conceded that all the writers Carter permitted free rein had gone on to become successful showrunners themselves (Tim Minear, Vince Gilligan, Glen Morgan, James Wong, Darin Morgan, John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz, Howard Gordon, Jeffrey Bell and more), but that Carter's job had been to find a coherent and consistent vision for THE X-FILES, not to running a training camp for the writers of the future.

Interestingly, this is also a problem in SLIDERS. Seasons 1 - 2 featured parallel Earth settings created by choosing a specific point in history and choosing a different outcome, then extrapolating what the present day would be as a result. Season 3 featured Dream Masters, man-made twisters, dragons, radioactive slugs, mutants, pancake parasites, super-intelligent snakes, vampires and animal-human hybrids and humans flying with angelic wings -- none of which were in any way justified by an alternate history and the supposed scientific rigour of SLIDERS.

At one point, I was rewatching FRINGE with a friend, Val, and Val remarked that the 'science' of FRINGE was essentially magic presented in technobabble terms. She seized upon the episode where in one universe, a widow's grief for her dead husband rips apart reality to reach a parallel universe where the husband lives and mourns the death of his wife. 

Val pointed out that there was no rationale, even within the show, for how human emotions could affect gravimetric or vibrational constants to alter the underlying fabric of reality; that there had to be some physical catalyst and feeling sad over a dead spouse didn't count. She said it wasn't science fiction; it was magical-realism masquerading as sci-fi through inadequate technobabble.

And Informant had a very interesting response. Informant pointed out that all reality is perceptual and fundamentally subjective, and that until we open gateways to parallel worlds in our world, we don't actually know whether or not our emotional states can affect reality. That FRINGE with that episode had featured a "soft spot" where reality was malleable and that the subjective perception of reality could potentially determine reality. Was that likely? Informant didn't know. But was it impossible? We could hardly rule it out.

It's at this point that I began pondering the Season 3 monsters and how they could be explained within the SLIDERS reality of Seasons 1 - 2. I had some thoughts about how the monsters were Kromagg experiments in genetic engineering, but when writing the SLIDERS REBORN scripts, I decided to go with Informant's idea of a damaged, 'softened' reality becoming subject to alteration based on perception and brought the Season 3 monsters in for the sixth scripts as representations of mental illness with the monsters originating from realities where the laws of science had been twisted and mutilated.

... I don't feel I really captured Informant's mentality, however. In the novella that offers a broad explanation for all the oddities of Seasons 1 - 5, Quinn explains that when the Geiger experiment ripped him out of reality, it removed every double and caused what the Doctor would call a "total event collapse" in spacetime due to so many of Quinn's doubles being entangled with the histories of parallel Earths. Reality cracked and began to manifest anomalies such as monsters and magic, the symptoms of a dying multiverse. 

Despite Quinn being in a mental asylum to deliver this exposition, I don't feel the monsters really represented mental health problems. And in the SLIDERS REBORN finale, I again didn't feel the monsters represented perceptual subjectivity; they were supervillains for the sliders to trounce in superhero action sequences and it was just absurd. I decided to turn into the swerve by playing it all for laughs by having the sliders use everyday items in bulk and delivered via vortex to defeat the robots and the dinosaurs and what-not, but I felt that I had wandered very far from Informant's original point and I never found a way to get back.

But anyway. I still think that the Season 3 monster sequences are a lot of fun and I really appreciate Informant's thinking in this area.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

That's interesting.  I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle.  I think, on shows like the X-Files, they need to have some sort of "rules" - on Supernatural, I believe they have some semblance of rules - essentially that there are no rules.  Heaven and Hell exist.  Other gods exist.  Fairy tales exist.  Magic exists.  All the fables and stories are true.  Our world is real.  Scooby Doo is real.

At the same time, I feel like aliens are too far on Supernatural.  If aliens showed up, I feel like that would be weird.  It wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me, but I feel like it'd be weird.

I do feel like the X-Files liked to tow that line.  Simply having Scully on the show implied that there needed to be a scientific explanation for everything, but they also liked to challenge her with things that she couldn't explain.  Same with Fringe.  It's a realistic, technobabble X-Files, but they liked to push the boundaries of the explainable there.

With Sliders, I think the rules sorta get thrown out because "anything is possible."  Even with Quinn or Arturo occasionally playing Scully, they didn't really try to understand how there could be a universe where the rules of physics don't really apply.  As if there's some sort of branching possibility with physics being "created."

For me, I know what I would do.  It's what I did for Earth 214 (I think), and it's what I've suggested to a lot of people who've asked me about fanfics - and that's "try to think through each world."  The most fun part for me about writing Sliders is trying to put real thought into each world you come up with.  If you want to write a story about the French ruling America, come up with how it would work and follow through.  Maybe Napoleon was never defeated.  Then what.  Then what.  And I'd try to have something in the episode that shows that we did the research and put thought into it.

Where this gets me into trouble with most people is that doubles probably shouldn't exist.  This definitely came up after E214, but if I were doing Sliders, doubles would either be very rare or completely absent.  Fraternal doubles should exist, but if we're talking about a world that separated in 1776, it's very unlikely that every human that was born from 1776 on looked exactly the same.  And if one person looks different, then every subsequent birth should be different.  If Quinn's grandparents look different from Earth Prime to British Earth, then Quinn's parents would look different and then Quinn would look different.  And that's if Quinn's parents ever meet in the first place.

If you want doubles, you sorta have to write into the rules that "certain people are supposed to exist the way they are."  So there's some sort of predestination where Quinn always looks like Jerry O'Connell.  But then you can't play around with Robert Floyd as Quinn or Logan St. Claire.  Because if the universe always makes Michael's sperm and Amanda's egg magically meet to create Quinn, then you have to stick to that.

And hell, if you want to get really deep into the deep end, there's the idea that human beings are unlikely.  Life was unlikely.  If you actually looked at infinite Earths, I'd think the vast majority of them wouldn't have life at all.  And then there'd be a vast majority of Earths with life that doesn't look anything like the life we know.  Language would vary from Earth to Earth dramatically.  In that case, Sliders would resemble Star Trek more than Sliders.

To explain this, someone here had a great analogy.  Think of sliding as a vehicle in a town.  Every house is a different parallel Earth.  You can very easily travel from house to house, and the people in every house might look different but they'd typically have a lot in common.  They'd speak the same language.  Go to the same schools.  Shop at the same stores.  One family would be pretty recognizable to another one.  You'd need a more powerful timer to go to a different part of the city.  It's still be recognizable - the people would still be citizens of the same town but the kids would go to a different school, the people might work somewhere else.  They'll shop somewhere else.

You'd need a more powerful timer to get to a different part of the state/region/country.  A lot of things would be different but still very recognizable.  But the further you get, the bigger the differences would be.  Dialect.  Language.  Nationalities.  Ethnicities.  Politics. 

The "rules" you establish could simply be that Quinn's timer is a scooter.  It can go from house to house, and with enough work, it might be able to get around a city.  The city is a place where Humans are dominant, the languages are recognizable (not always English but always an Earth Prime language), and history is familiar enough.  The worlds where life evolved into something unrecognizable, where language isn't decipherable, where the air isn't breathable, where the worlds are more alien than anything....aren't accessible to Quinn.  Maybe they aren't accessible to any Slider.

That's how I'd make it work.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

You could make that partly intentional.  Quinn isn't interested in going to worlds that can't support life, so he programmed his timer to only open wormholes to places within a certain range of temperature, radiation, atmosphere, etc.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

As a child, I had nightmares that the vortex would materialize in an aquarium tank at a zoo and the sliders would drown or be eaten by hostile marine life.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

I'll play Informant for a brief second and show outrage for yet another redhead being race-swapped to a black person.

I honestly don't care who plays Ariel because I'll never see that movie, but it is strange that this seems to be a legitimate trend that I know bothered Informant.  Why is it always redhead to black seemingly?

Re: Do we miss Informant?

She'll probably wear a red wig anyway

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Yeah, I think it's fine.  It's just weird to look at what's become a definite trend.  From Wally West (and by association, Iris) to Jimmy Olsen to Mary Jane Watson to Hawkgirl to Annie (Lil Orphan Annie) to Ariel, it seems like redheaded characters get race-swapped more than anyone else.  It isn't intentional, but it's happened enough times that it's a crazy coincidence.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

I always thought it was hilarious that any time a black man is shot to death by a police officer, Informant is always staunchly in the police officer's corner and firmly declares that no examples of racism raised by anyone were actually racist and also, the person raising the issue is racist or in some way hypocritical and therefore not entitled to protest mistreatment -- but if a traditionally redheaded character is suddenly black, Informant feels stigmatized and threatened. Oh God, now I'm still typing as though he's actually here.

I do think it is absurd to act as though redheads are the victims of systemic discrimination and oppression ingrained into the very fabric of Western society as a white-centric construct. Redheads are not targeted by law enforcement as immediately guilty criminals, are not incarcerated in greater percentages than other demographics, are not stereotyped as criminals or illiterates, are not legislated against to deny them voting rights, and generally enjoy all the privileges of being Caucasian. People with red hair are not facing institutional injustice at every level of society.

ireactions cannot stress enough in the name of the whisper, the vortex roar and the electric hiss of the timer that his opinions do not represent the consensus of Sliders.TV.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

The most common race swapping seems like Asian to white, with Latino to white and black to white close behind

Re: Do we miss Informant?

pilight wrote:

The most common race swapping seems like Asian to white, with Latino to white and black to white close behind

Yeah, I can't argue with that.  And I'd like to stress again that I don't care either way.  I'm just speaking for Informant and pointing out that it's weird that there seems to be a trend of only race-swapping redheaded white characters.

I don't think redheaded people are being discriminated against in any way.  it's just weird that several companies were like "we hav to make someone black.  Is there a redhead we can switch?"

Re: Do we miss Informant?

ireactions wrote:

I do think it is absurd to act as though redheads are the victims of systemic discrimination and oppression ingrained into the very fabric of Western society as a white-centric construct. Redheads are not targeted by law enforcement as immediately guilty criminals, are not incarcerated in greater percentages than other demographics, are not stereotyped as criminals or illiterates, are not legislated against to deny them voting rights, and generally enjoy all the privileges of being Caucasian. People with red hair are not facing institutional injustice at every level of society.

That's because everyone knows redheads are going extinct and don't want to worry their pretty little heads about a dying race of fiery-tempered gingers.

Also, there have never been black mermaids. Immersion ruined!

Earth Prime | The Definitive Source for Sliders™

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Transmodiar wrote:

Also, there have never been black mermaids. Immersion ruined!

That's the weirdest part.  Traditionally, mermaids were all black.

Mermaids were originally based on the West African Nommos and South African Eseljagtspoort water spirits.  Mami Wata and Mama Dlo are both African fish tailed goddesses with traditions that predate European civilization.  All of them are universally depicted as dark skinned.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Well, mermaids have roots in a lot of places.  Mesopotamia, Europe, Africa, Asia.  I don't know which ones predates the others, but the idea of "half human, half fish and lives underwater" is about as original as "flood that covered the earth" or "son of god" - which exists in just about every civilization ever. 

The weird part of the Little Mermaid part is that it's based on a Dutch story (so you'd think lighter skin) but the story takes place in the Caribbean (so you'd think darker skin)

Of course, mermaids aren't real so it doesn't matter.  They don't have exposure to the Sun so the biological reason for skin color in humans is irrelevant.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

I started to consider whether I should be outraged, and then I remembered that I’m not going to watch this movie regardless of who’s in it.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

This is my number one problem with politics and the worst thing that social media has done for the world.

With social media, you can find a water cooler with people who think exactly like you.  Not only that, you can find a water cooler for any opinion.  You can wish people who don't agree with you into the water cooler cornfield.  So you can start conversations with your second level opinion and get to third/fourth/fifth/Nth level opinions.

When that happens, you start to forget about the guy you wished into the cornfield who disagreed with you.  You also forget about the guy you wished into the cornfield that agreed with you but not all the way.  You didn't need his 99% agreement in your conversation because it made you question your beliefs and that felt weird and uncomfortable.  Only 100% agreement at this water cooler..

Recently, Joss Whedon expressed anger towards Donald Trump's corruption, love affair for fascism and criminality. Informant responded to Whedon and told Whedon to seek psychiatric help and get medication, equating criticism of the US president with mental illness.

Speaking only for myself and as someone whose opinions in no way represent the views this community, I am exiting the Informant business and his list of contributions to SLIDERS can stop at six items.

Whedon should absolutely get psychiatric help: he is a serial cheater and liar who gave his wife post-traumatic stress with his numerous affairs with actresses and fans with no concern for what his wife might have to face medically when having intercourse with a husband who was hiding his extramarital relationships. He has serious issues with power and women, describing how he viewed his cast, his employees, as powerful and needy women with whom he could have sex. He presented himself as a feminist in a monogamous marriage when he was using power imbalances in sexual relationships and cheating on his wife.

However, it is not a symptom of mental illness to observe that Trump hires business partners and family members into government positions. Nor is it an indication of psychological impairment for anyone to note that Trump engaged in obvious obstruction of justice, willfully delivers falsehoods to the American public, wrought havoc with America's diplomatic and economic relationships via random threats and sanctions and seeks support from white supremacists, Nazis and dictators. That is simply observation of obvious facts.

Observing facts that do not serve a flatteringly right-wing conservative narrative is not mental illness.

To equate not being conservative with mental illness is rhetoric designed to intimidate. To take a stigma for mental illness and extend that stigma towards not being part of Informant's preferred water cooler circle. To allow Informant to dismiss information that runs against his biases as mental illness. To favour Informant's biases of choice and present his personal politics as the societal default, the community consensus, and the perfect picture of mental health.

It's one thing to have conservative views, but something else entirely to claim that anyone who holds different views is suffering from a mental disorder. That is abuse and harassment.

Informant was not permitted to make such claims here without being contradicted at every turn and warned off doing so again. That's clearly why he left and I've decided that I'm glad he left.

I don't miss Informant. I am glad that he's gone. And I am finished with my list of his contributions. I've highlighted six, I'm not giving him anymore. Unless I change my mind, but right now, I have simply had enough. Sliders.TV may disagree. Sliders.TV may welcome him back. That's absolutely fine. This is NOT my message board. I am not the ruler of this community, I am its servant. Any nominal response I posted to Informant's political screeds was strictly to serve and not to debate.

I can only speak for myself and speaking for myself, I am done with Informant.

ireactions OUT.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

ireactions BACK IN.

I've made a mistake. A lot of mistakes, actually. I have upset Transmodiar with a failure to respect his boundaries. I revised my entire personality in response to the example set in Brian Wood's comic books only to discover that Wood himself is exactly the sort of women-harassing creeper I chose not to be. I have riddled my fingers with shards of aluminium mesh installing insect-blocking screens on the outside air vents. I have accidentally shot myself in the face with bug spray repeatedly and inhaled a lot of insecticide. I drank coffee after 1 PM. I have exercised poor judgement.

But as I sat in the hospital waiting room, I thought of how Temporal Flux once said that when crashing and burning hard, when you hurt your friends and the people you love, the best thing to do is treat a new day as a fresh start and do something positive, something good, something that offers light and goodwill and high regard for humanity. I am going to make some homemade, sugarless ice cream.

I'm also going to finish Informant's Top Ten Contributions to SLIDERS and I've chosen the last four items. Day Seven will be Informant's SLIDERS screenplay, "29.7." Day Eight will be his SMALLVILLE screenplay, "Alternate." Day Nine will be his BUFFY screenplays. And Day Ten will be a reflection on his gifts to this community. Whatever Informant may have done, he's my friend and I have to find it in myself to forgive him and honour him.

Day Seven of Informant's Top Ten Contributions to SLIDERS: 29.7
Informant wrote a SLIDERS screenplay, "29.7." It's good. … s/29.7.pdf

Most Season 6 stories focus on reversing Seasons 3 - 5 plot by plot, character by character with Rembrandt maintained only as a point of view audience surrogate, witnessing the Kromaggs' defeat and the right Professor return but having little to no agency. "29.7" declines to address any of that and simply shows Rembrandt a period of time after "The Seer." We all want to know what happened after "The Seer" and Informant suggests that what happened next was worse than any death or torment or body horror. Informant thinks that what happened next was nothing.

Rembrandt's tending bar on a parallel world, living a life of quiet anonymity, bereft and pained after having lost all his friends and his entire world. He wants nothing but to be left alone, only to quietly realize that he never will be. As a visitor, he is perpetually a random factor interrupting the closed system of any parallel world he lands on, wreaking havoc by his mere existence. As a slider, Rembrandt is perpetually a target for any passing interdimensional wanderer who expects Rembrandt to have knowledge, experience, ability, advice.

But Rembrandt has nothing. He isn't a scientist. He isn't a soldier. He's a soul singer and a passable bartender. That's it. That's all.

Most writers who handle Rembrandt attempt to evoke Cleavant Derricks, find one-liners, find the laughs. Rembrandt isn't a scientist, so they find him one; he's not an ideal action hero, so they pair him up with someone who is. He isn't a science fiction hero, so writers contrive various means to throw him back into sliding and adventure and show that he has the right stuff to handle it and is the greatest slider of all thanks to his placid calm under fire after having seen and done everything and lost everyone and still survived.

Informant refuses to do any of that, instead showing the life of quiet desperation to which this poor human being has been condemned. He works a menial job and has no hope of reclaiming the wonder of sliding. He doesn't have Quinn's scientific training to maintain a sliding device; he doesn't have the Professor's historical knowledge; and he doesn't even have Wade's spirit of adventure.

Informant asks: if you strip away Cleavant's humour, rip away his supporting cast -- if you subtract Maggie and even Mallory and Diana from Rembrandt, what is left?

Informant offers an incredibly mundane yet painfully bleak picture of Rembrandt after "The Seer." He has no world worth returning to, no friends he hasn't lost, no talent for nomadic survival and not even a timer. Informant finds a twisted and painful irony that even though Rembrandt had a varied and peculiar life before sliding, sliding was the point at which Rembrandt had the most impact, saw the most, made the greatest difference he ever would to every and any world. It is the most important and meaningful period of his life. But Rembrandt is incapable of being a slider on his own.

There is a horrific savagery to what Quinn unwittingly did to Rembrandt, plucking him from his life, not even allowing him the peace of dying with his friends and family in the Kromagg invasion, and Informant shows all that in his quiet, low-key, FRINGE-style writing.

"29.7" is a subtly disturbing picture of Rembrandt, declining the high fantasy of other SLIDERS fanfic writers, eschewing any sense of sliding as an infinite adventure, refusing to portray Rembrandt as a capable survivalist who can handle any situation or find some help from someone who can. Instead, Informant presents Rembrandt as an innocent, hapless, helpless civilian who might not die but can never truly live again after the events of Seasons 3 - 5.

I want to deny this vision of Rembrandt. I want to protest. To say that this isn't how Rembrandt's story would go, that his adventures would continue, that he would find a way, but Informant's writing holds weight and is extremely convincing.

In an infinite multiverse where every SLIDERS fanfic is canon, I have little choice but to admit that Informant's Rembrandt exists among them and is one troubling picture of how he might have ended up.

Next: Smallville: "Alternate"

Re: Do we miss Informant?

ireactions wrote:

I have upset Transmodiar with a failure to respect his boundaries.

No, you haven't. You didn't even need to delete what you posted in the other thread; I just wasn't about to engage you on your points because you were wrong. smile Add it back in; you clearly put a lot of time into it!

Earth Prime | The Definitive Source for Sliders™

Re: Do we miss Informant?

You said you didn't want your writing process discussed here, so I deleted the post. I won't put it back. I CAN'T put it back. I wrote the whole thing while dizzy from insecticide fumes and hiding out in the one unsprayed area of my apartment and trying to destress by writing about SLIDERS. I can't remember what I wrote; you know how I write in what you call "a fugue state." The only way to put it back: I'd have to poison myself again and then write it all again.

When I went to the hospital, they made me drink some milk, made sure I'd wiped down my skin, and I thought about how we're inevitably going to upset our friends in ways great and small, and while circumstance and luck may maintain a stable status quo, those don't replace preventative and corrective action. And maybe we can't do anything for the people we've mistreated as what's done is done, but we can avoid repeating the same mistakes with others.

Which brings us to:

Day Eight of Informant: Smallville - "Alternate"

Informant wrote another screenplay, not for SLIDERS, but for SMALLVILLE. SMALLVILLE often pastiched other TV shows and movies (THE MATRIX, RESIDENT EVIL), and Informant scripted a SMALLVILLE pastiche of SLIDERS called "Alternate," set in Season 6 of SMALLVILLE. … rnateB.HTM

Season 6 of SMALLVILLE is when Clark and Lex are no longer friends; Clark alienated Lex with his obvious deceits and avoidance and distance, Lex's isolation and loneliness has driven him to extremes like having the Kents attacked to try to force Clark to use his powers (except Clark had lost his powers that week and got them back later). Meanwhile, Chloe is in on Clark's secret.

In "Alternate," Clark discovers that Lex is attempting to replicate teleportation powers from one of the Kryptonite mutants. Clark interferes in the experiment and is shunted into a parallel universe.

There, Clark discovers a Lex-double living on the Kent farm. In this universe, Clark left Smallville at the end of Season 2 and never returned. Lex-B, saddened by Clark's disappearance, had a nervous breakdown, lost his fortune and is now running the Kent farm. This alternate Lex is a friend. But on this world, Chloe is the one who became warped and twisted by Lionel Luthor is now using her journalism powers to serve Lionel's empire. Clark is forced to confront that in his life, his friends will always turn against him; it was always going to be either Lex or Chloe.

With "Alternate," Informant taps into an interesting and underexplored aspect of SLIDERS: the idea of branching points in parallel universe as the result not of choices, but of chance. Chance is the only variable on display; the SMALLVILLE narrative is defined by inevitabilities. Clark was always going to become a superhero whose childhood friend would become his sworn enemy. "Alternate" says that the only difference across two parallel realities was who that enemy might turn out to be.

Informant, arguably a more cynical and defeatist writer than most SLIDERS writers, has "Alternate" present the multiverse as an inexorable march to a preordained outcome even if the roles might be redistributed in different realities. If Lex doesn't meet his fate to be the villain, Chloe will assume that path.

On some level, that's entirely fair. No matter where SMALLVILLE went, its ending was ironclad.

But Informant has Clark ultimately win the alternate Chloe back and convinces her to help the alternate Lex topple Lionel Luthor. Informant, in the same story, offers a very small, very minute flicker of hope: that perhaps reality isn't immutable. Perhaps the problem is Clark's behaviour: his withdrawal, distance, deceit and lies alienated Lex Luthor on his world and alienated Chloe Sullivan on another. It's possible, Informant hints, that the inevitability is in the outcome of Clark's patterns rather than in the multiverse.

It is a very small spark of solace and not one that Informant sustains. We may have choices available to us. We may be able to look at ourselves and see our flaws and choose to change. But "Alternate" notes that the SMALLVILLE universe is clearly not designed to accommodate any openness or free will.

SMALLVILLE demands that Lex end the series as a villain even if the actor and the individual episodes diverge from that destination; SMALLVILLE insists that Clark Kent wear a skintight costume even when the character clearly prefers different garments.

SMALLVILLE and SLIDERS are closely linked, but not obviously so. SLIDERS was sabotaged by FOX network executive Peter Roth firing John Rhys-Davies; Roth later shepherded SMALLVILLE to the WB. Clark Kent and Quinn Mallory are both geekboys played by athletes. They even dress the same in flannel and jeans and have the same hair. Both shows are about an isolated young man reaching out into the world and tapping into his boundless potential. SLIDERS offered its characters infinite possibilities (and subjected them to all the worst ones).

"Alternate" shows that SMALLVILLE does not have infinite possibilities. "Alternate" highlights how SMALLVILLE is a show where all the characters have outcomes that are set. Even in a parallel world, fate is merely reassigned, never changed. SMALLVILLE is in many ways a prison for its cast, a jail cell from which even sliding offers no escape.

As with "29.7," Informant's story offers implications that are troubling and unwelcome, but his conclusions are difficult to dispute and deeply disturbing in how they reflect a simple assessment of circumstances as they are instead of how we would wish for them to be.

Next: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Day Nine: Informant's Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In 2003, Informant wrote a virtual eighth season of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER in the form of 28 (!!!) PDF screenplays. … eason8.htm

For so long, I thought that Tracy Torme was the first one to really seize upon the screenplay, not as a shooting script to be read (like the MILLENNIUM fanfic scripts), but as a narrative format. A hybrid medium to take the immediacy of scripts and the descriptive elements of novels and combine them.

It would have been unlike the prose of most fan fiction projects. It's what Torme wanted to do for his 2009 project: to write a 'fanfic,' a PDF document that would serve as a SLIDERS series finale. He never finished it, but his 2009 story was set in 1996, it would have had the sliders going backwards through the interdimension to revisit every Earth they'd ever seen -- so he was clearly thinking in terms of a novel unrestricted by any budget or any questions of actor availability.

I followed in Torme's aborted footsteps with my own PDF screenplays and made it to the end. I thought I was the first to follow through.

I was mistaken. When working on Informant's Top Ten list here, I discovered that Informant got into PDF scripts first with writing 22 scripts for his eighth season of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER followed by a six part mini-series finale. And while I have quibbles with Informant's narrative choices and his perception of the characters, Informant capitalized on the screenplay medium magnificently. Informant laid out a future for zero budget SLIDERS projects and didn't even know it.

Scripts are generally meant to be shot, not read. In TV production, my SLIDERS REBORN scripts would be excessive because I wrote in all the acting whereas real scripts leave that to the actors.

Informant aimed closer to a real script than a narrative one for his BUFFY series, but within it, he offered characterization and individuality. Characters are defined by their actions and the content of their words rather than speech patterns and mannerisms. Informant's Buffy doesn't sound like Sarah Michelle Gellar, but she sounds like a version Buffy made for the page. Informant created an approximation of Joss Whedon's style although emphasizing Whedon's horror over Whedon's comedy. Informant is not as funny as Joss Whedon (but who is?).

However, Informant is more disturbing and frightening than Whedon. His writing summons the visual atmosphere and pacing of the show and on top of this darker representation of BUFFY, Informant page-friendly versions of the cast.

Showing further restraint, Informant also restricted his own mental budget, insisting on staying within the limitations of what might be filmed and aired on a CW or UPN budget.

Most fanfic writers who dive into the screenplay as fan fiction medium will go to one of two extremes. Like the MILLENNIUM fanfic screenplays, they will focus on creating a document for a film production that doesn't exist, creating work that seems to very plausibly be a scriptbook for a season of the show but isn't as captivating to read as a novel or a comic book. The MILLENNIUM screenplays seem more like prestige collectables. They demand to be printed and bound and flipped through -- while watching the actual filmed and aired episodes if they actually existed.

At the other end of the spectrum is the BUFFY comic books which show writers enamoured with capturing the voices of the actors and letting that serve as their primary force of verisimilitude and making no effort to recreate the restrictions of the TV show. In the BUFFY comic books, Buffy battles armies of vampires on the streets of Japan, engages in orbital warfare against the US Air Force, travels to a BLADE RUNNER-esque future and explores the city. This would have been well beyond the WB and UPN budget.

Informant refuses such excess. Informant's BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is scaled to a TV show: it's girls with sharp sticks facing stuntmen in makeup. The BUFFY comics got away with its extravagances because the voices of the characters sounded so genuine that the insanity around them seemed plausible by association.

In contrast, Informant doesn't seek to pastiche the actors; instead, he tries to recreate how BUFFY made him feel and presents a low key indie horror film with the characters being less exaggerated than the comics or the TV show and more suited to Informant's grounded writing.

Informant didn't write Cleavant Derricks in "29.7," he wrote a troubled, bereft man without agency whose name was Rembrandt Brown. And Informant doesn't write Sarah Michelle Gellar or Nicholas Brendon or Anthony Stewart Head; he writes two young people named Buffy and Xander who have had to incrementally rise to face each threat each year, and he writes a punk-turned-librarian named Rupert Giles who has gotten stuck in his librarian persona.

The thing that's striking about Informant's writing: it's very much Informant writing for himself, writing the product he wanted to see, giving himself the closure he sought out -- while presenting a readable, professional, produceable, filmable product that could actually be made as a TV show.

Informant's aesthetic is completely separate from most fanfic writers who, being unaccountable to accountants, write as though computer generated imagery and location filming are free. The MILLENNIUM scripts are more of a technical document and I've never written a single SLIDERS script that could be filmed as "Slide Effects" called for a 2011 SLIDERS cast to play their 1996 ages and SLIDERS REBORN uses the actors at their current ages but would cost as much as AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Informant's scripts provide a good reading experience and you could imagine them being filmed and aired.

And despite BUFFY having a canonical eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh season in comic books, Informant's scripts still stand. He confessed that he didn't care for the widescreen summer blockbuster style of BUFFY and vastly preferred a smaller scale for the character.

The comics having official sanction and Informant's scripts have none. As far as the world is concerned, the BUFFY comic books are the real continuation and no one really thinks about Informant's writing.

Like BUFFY, SLIDERS has had many post-show stories and varying paths. Unlike BUFFY, SLIDERS exists in a peculiar situation where technically, all SLIDERS stories are canonical, all fanfic is part of the show and exists on the same multidimensional axis as the aired episodes, and we ourselves exist within the continuity of the SLIDERS television show.

And yet, Informant's scripts never needed canonicity or pastiches of the actors to justify their own existence. He wrote them because he wanted something he would like to read and that was reason enough. He wasn't the only word, he wasn't the only game in town. He just liked BUFFY and wanted to try writing INFORMANT'S BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and he proved that the PDF screenplay format was a good hybrid of the language of a TV series and the format that a zero budget fan production could produce.

BUFFY was a significantly easier prospect for virtual fan seasons than SLIDERS, but with format and style, Informant proved himself one step ahead of the rest.

Next: Day 10 - Last Man Standing

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Day Ten of Informant: Last Man Standing
Well, Informant was one of the last men standing. He has left the SLIDERS community.

This, however, doesn't change the fact that Informant also stayed.

Tolerance: Slider_Quinn21 once remarked that we SLIDERS fans had astonishing staying power. We stayed when the show moved from the indie film look of Vancouver to the sun-drenched Los Angeles backlots and the dimly lit studio interiors.

We stayed when the wise father figure of the sliders was shot and blown up after getting his brain sucked out. We stayed when the star of the show descended into hackwork performances and forced his talentless brother into a leading role. We stayed when the same star then abandoned the show. We stayed when Wade Welles was turned into the fortune telling machine from the movie BIG.

Post-Show: Informant stayed in the SLIDERS community even when the show ended on a cliffhanger that would never be resolved. He stayed when the Sci-Fi Channel shut down the forum and when discussion moved to and He stayed despite experiencing service outage after service outage.

Accomplished: And I ultimately don't take issue with how Informant left because what matters more is that time for which he chose to stay. During that time, much like Mulder and Scully by Season 7 of THE X-FILES, he'd accomplished everything he wanted and the only 'failures' he had were in areas that had nothing to do with SLIDERS.

The One Who Stayed: My SLIDERS REBORN scripts have a running joke from Quinn: he frequently reminds Wade and Arturo that Rembrandt's the only one of the original four who didn't come back to life because Rembrandt was the only one who wasn't so incompetent as to die. By this simple metric, Quinn notes that Rembrandt's survival makes him the most reliable, competent and capable member of the team. Rembrandt isn't always right; Rembrandt doesn't know everything, but he stayed (alive) and that counts for something.

Touchstone: Informant stuck around and kept posting long after most people had moved on because SLIDERS was a cultural touchstone. Many people, some of whom still post here, call any continued regard for SLIDERS immature and silly. Informant didn't do that; he always reinforced that SLIDERS was important and influential -- not necessarily in a positive way, but it was a critical and meaningful part of our experiences and of TV history. Informant always felt that to give SLIDERS its due regard was in fact self-aware and honest.

See Things As They Are: He didn't overidentify or fixate on his emotions with the series. He didn't pretend he wasn't a fan of SLIDERS. But he was never obsessed with the show. He noted and conceded its flaws. He was also never in denial of its merits.

Informant didn't mock himself for his love for SLIDERS, he didn't self-flagellate himself for fixating on it, he didn't dismiss its value or overinflate its worth. He didn't make SLIDERS a life-defining event; he also didn't bury SLIDERS in a hole and try to forget about it. He gave it a place of regard and carried on.

Appropriate: Informant let himself like SLIDERS to an appropriate and healthy degree. Not less. Not more. He always gave SLIDERS its due and made it feel safe for everyone else to do the same. He chose to stay when it mattered most and that counts for more than why he left. It always did. It always will.

Re: Do we miss Informant?

Another thought -- I said here that Informant is not a men's rights activist or a neo-Nazi or a white supremacist or a birther or a scam artist. However, I should specify that there is no Informant; Informant is merely the character that Kyle played on Sliders.TV and the character of Informant may or may not reflect the person who performed the role. Please don't call me in as a character witness if Informant or the man who was Informant ends up in court for any reason.