Topic: Sliders: Declassified

Recently, Grizzlor started a discussion about how to revisit Sliders.  My response noted that it should be a continuation with new characters, but I don’t believe that really conveys my feelings on it.

On this forum in 2007 / 2008, SL4ever (Dexter Goad) posted that he wanted to make a fan film based on Sliders.  The budget would be non-existent; there was likely no chance one of the original actors would take part (at the very best, maybe one could be convinced).  But the idea sparked something in me.  If you had to strip Sliders down to its very core with little to no resources to pull from - how would you do it?  It was a challenging thought exercise that led me to fully examine why I loved Sliders.

And “Sliders: Declassified” was written in May 2008.

To take you back to that time for a moment, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were still in a heated primary contest with the winner unknown.  Nouriel Roubini (the financial expert known as Dr. Doom) was on cable news talking of a coming housing market crash that would plunge the world into a devastating recession.  The other commentators openly laughed at him.  And not to forget, 13 years had passed since four regular people in a San Francisco basement fell through a vortex to become lost in the multiverse.

So, why do I love Sliders?  Below is my response:

A special thank you to ireactions for his help in editing, formatting and title graphic designs.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I'm not going to describe any specific scenes from DECLASSIFIED in this post, but DECLASSIFIED is a really special piece of work to me as a reader and a fan of SLIDERS because Temporal Flux does something special: he captures the spirit of SLIDERS.

Soft Touch: The SLIDERS house style as established by Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss has a very specific personality: it's satirical and gentle. Shows like SOUTH PARK and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE are direct and savage in mocking politics, culture and societal prejudice. But SLIDERS is indirect and kind. Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes of SLIDERS is the Pilot where a captive Rembrandt is told by a threatening Ross J. Kelly that the Soviet ruled America will have Rembrandt put on trial in The People's Court -- which is revealed to be the actual TV courtroom show.

Comedic: Temporal Flux's approach to SLIDERS is very focused on the social satire and the specific tone of the show as found in "Prince of Wails" where the celebrity profile of the English Royal Family is presented in terms of a light Robin Hood pastiche. And as seen when SLIDERS regards sports fanatics with amusement in "Eggheads" as commentators are fixated on the statistics of Mindgame and rappers are shown expressing the joy of learning. The soul of SLIDERS is not based in grand oratory about current events like THE WEST WING or in ridiculing extremists like a modern CW superhero show. Instead, SLIDERS provides allegories in the way THE TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS created situations analagous to 60s civil rights issues, but the SLIDERS twist is that its allegories are comedic and sweet.

A Natural: DECLASSIFIED very naturally and easily captures that tone. It satirizes its subject with a gently comic allegory. It creates a lightly adversarial and warm interplay between its characters. It mines its material to create comedic situations regarding capitalism and consumer culture and mass media competition, but unlike SOUTH PARK which stabs its targets, Temporal Flux takes the SLIDERS approach of tilting his object of focus rather than attacking it and that turns out to be the core of TF's vision for SLIDERS.

Stripped Bare: It's impressive because as a SLIDERS story, DECLASSIFIED is completely lacking in most of the usual identifiers for SLIDERS. DECLASSIFIED was written as a fan film. It does not feature Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo, it doesn't feature San Francisco and is distinctly written to have few extras and locations. It doesn't feature four civillian misfits. It doesn't have the SLIDERS formula of visiting a dystopia and falling in with the local resistance.

Identity: And yet, it is clearly a SLIDERS story in the vein of a Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss script because it skews its subject matter without skewering it and mines the characters' confused, comedic assimilation of a strange new land for that elusive yet undeniable SLIDERS tone of humour and adversity. It doesn't feel like an approximation of the authorial voice that created the original SLIDERS pilot; it simply is that voice.

Difficult: Even the very best SLIDERS stories by others don't achieve this and wisely don't try. Nigel Mitchell, for example, is a master world builder for SLIDERS with many wonderfully off-the-wall concepts for alt-histories -- but his writing is used to create a nightmarish sense of threat against the sliders. Marc Scott Zicree viewed SLIDERS as a platform for extravagant science fiction concepts rather than social commentary. Mike Truman aims for satirical scripts and prose, but his writing expresses frustration, outrage and exasperation with societal prejudices and establishment fictions.

Voice: In my own SLIDERS writing, I find that I simply have the wrong personality for effective social satire. I am direct and specific; I am critical instead of comedic -- which is why my writing focuses on a pastiche of the actors. My writing sounds like the voices of Jerry, Sabrina, Cleavant and John. But Temporal Flux's writing sounds like Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss.

Defined: Temporal Flux's writing is so close to the Torme and Weiss model that to me, they might as well be one and the same. Temporal Flux's satire is deftly ironic and wry rather than angry, precisely as defined by Torme and Weiss -- which makes a lot of sense when seeing that both men were of TV and film that includes SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, THE BLUES BROTHERS and THE NAKED GUN series.

In Likeness: In fact, Temporal Flux's thinking on SLIDERS is so similar to Torme. In 2000, I asked Torme what his pefect ending for SLIDERS would be. Torme said he'd like to see Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo make it home with Quinn stranded on another world; the three sliders would rebuild their lives, but after a time, they would find a way to rescue Quinn and in travelling to another world to save him, they would lose their way back and be lost in the interdimension once again but this time by choice.

Authentic: In 2012 or so, this forum was randomly contemplating what the ideal end for SLIDERS would have been and Temporal Flux said he could imagine an ending where the sliders make it home without Quinn and then rescue Quinn but lose the way home in doing so and accept this because home is not a place but the people you're with. His random speculations were the intentions of the series creator.

I have always felt that Nigel Mitchell and Mike Truman capture the inventiveness and imagination of SLIDERS and that I capture the voice of the four original sliders. That we use the SLIDERS platform for our own voices. But Temporal Flux's voice is the actual voice of SLIDERS and that's why DECLASSIFIED has a perfect authenticity for the series.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Just finished reading Sliders: Declassified.

As a conceptual stripped down version of the show, it was definitely an interesting take on a possible way to continue the concept with new characters, whilst also keeping what you felt were its core themes. Indeed, the pilot worked really well to quickly establish the various characters, the satire was indeed excellently observed, and the worlds that they visited were just interesting enough to keep you intrigued. However, I personally felt that there were several missteps that stopped me from really loving the project.

Let me start by saying that your strongest aspect was definitely the characterization of Alli and Gibbs. The deadpan life-worn workmate and his more boisterous colleague always makes for buddy-cop gold no matter the genre that it is featured in, and so, it obviously works extremely well here too. Alli's spirit for adventure definitely came shining through, a fun character full of life that would be a joy to watch from week to week, even if at times her actions did sometimes begin to teeter on the brink of reckless disbelief. Though that could make for some rather interesting future storylines where she continues to recklessly throw herself at danger, it is also something to watch out for as it could possibly cause people to have issues with her characterization if it begins to border on 'no one would do that' territory.

Regardless, again, she is a really great character and the combination with Gibbs was written beautifully.

Unfortunately, I didn't find that the other half of the foursome, Reese and Bennish, provided anything really distinctive that would endear me to want to follow the escapades of their sliding. Though Bennish's joke scenes seemed to pay homage to Rembrandt's early storylines, I didn't find it unique enough to warrant his slot on the roster. When you have someone like the adventurous Alli who can easily land herself into similar situations despite her job and training, alongside Gibbs who landed in the same situation via his own well thought out route, Bennish's slot on the team feels a bit wasted when you already have the technical aspects associated with Reese.

On top of this, we already have a sort of mentor / student dynamic (that we originally had with the Professor and Quinn) in some form already with the partners, Gibbs and Alli, so that's not even something that could have been done with Bennish and Reese. I'm sure that future explorations would see them come to heads at how they work out the various tech problems that the group encounter during their travels, but none of that was featured in the pilot script. In fact, I will go as far to say that Bennish was quite far removed from most of the events altogether, again, lending weight to the feeling that we could have had another person for the slot to create a more interesting dynamic to be explored for a foursome.

Though the weakest of the cast, I did like that you tried to give Reese some personality with the sticky notes. But that also led to a little frustration, since even that little aspect seemed to have been robbed from him! In the final crucial scene, it would have been a great character moment for Reese to see the difference in his own sticky note, but it was instead handed over to Gibbs. I completely understand the rationale for that, since Gibbs has been written to be very observant and it made logical sense for him to spot the mistake, but, for the sake of the character, I would have given the scenario over to Reese simply to give him that small bit of continued characterization.

The second strongest aspect of Declassified was your ability to nail the dark humour and satire present within the show. Without a doubt the best scene of all was the incident between Alli and the Clerk, where he used the game to check if the two were actually compatible - with the disgusted punch at the end to cap it off! That could easily have been pulled from a real Sliders episode. That was classic season 1/2 material right there. Satire is definitely not easy to do, and there are different levels depending on social or political satire, but you got the social satire down completely. Would love to see if you could also nail political satire if this had continued.

Speaking of humour and satire, the entire opening scene with Alli speaking the opening monologue to Gibbs? Perfection!

Something that I wasn't too fond of was the opening premise. It slipped a little too far into the realms of disbelief for me. I mean, even ignoring Bennish somehow getting that far into Homeland Security, the whole bomb scenario didn't seem to go anywhere except to over-engineer a scenario to get him close enough to be forced along for the ride (and consequently being the cause of it). Having him being questioned by Homeland Security about his connection to the Sliders, or even co-opting his knowledge to reverse-engineer the equipment in Quinn's basement in order to understand it and their disappearance, would have made for a stronger opening scenario, in my opinion.

For me, the show was always the strongest when it focused on the characters and their reaction to their current situation and predicaments - the worlds visited was just a vehicle in order to enable this. Consequently, it was when that table was turned that I personally felt that things began to seriously derail, but that's going off topic. Anyway, I mention this only to state that the world's themselves were always second fiddle for me, but they do need to be interesting. Thankfully, you accomplished this and made them really interesting.

The first was the usual doomsday scenario, but it was the second that I found the most intriguing. It's always these wild and seemingly preposterous 'what if' worlds that really get the mind thinking, and forces you to ponder if such a chain of events really could have occurred in our own dimension. I feel like it needed some further background clarification to fully flesh out that possible reality (though I did love your reference to the Romans and their games), but yeah, really interesting either way.

Anyway, just my immediate thoughts about reading.

All in all, Declassified is a really good idea that was written extremely well. With some tweaks, I personally feel like it would have been great and definitely has a lot of potential. Having been written so long ago only makes me more intrigued to see how your writing has evolved. Like I mentioned, the writing itself is gold so I can only imagine that your writing now must be really great.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Slide Override wrote:

Anyway, just my immediate thoughts about reading.

All in all, Declassified is a really good idea that was written extremely well. With some tweaks, I personally feel like it would have been great and definitely has a lot of potential.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts; and you hit on something that’s definitely true.  I knew realistically that this would be a one off film if it even happened at all, but I couldn’t help myself - I crafted it with the idea that it would be an ongoing series.  As such, there were areas left unexplored and unexplained along with seeds planted for future revelations.  A second episode would have picked up where we concluded as though the second part of a movie.

I also followed an inspiration (or lesson) from another work - the Nicholas Cage film “Adaptation”. Truly, I don’t think this was a very good movie, but that seemed to be the point.

The movie begins to meander into the weeds as it goes on, but it takes a turn when Cage’s character seeks out an experienced author for advice.  The author explains that you must have a simple goal for a story - you must have a character that goes on a journey to find themselves changed some way in the end.  Without that, the story is just a bunch of stuff that happened.

Working from that principle, I fashioned this story as a journey for Alli.  She begins believing she will find adventure but grows to learn that the actual experience she jumped into can be frustrating and mundane.  Even in another reality, life is still life.

Future stories were intended to follow the same journey model.  Episode two would be Gibbs’s journey.  Episode three would be Reese’s journey.

When I originally wrote Sliders: Declassified, I also wrote some notes about where the future would lead (in some cases over a long period of time - like a season or series wide arc).  You can read them below.  I will warn that they may make you unhappy; but like all ideas, nothing was set in stone.

With regard to Bennish, you are definitely correct about my presentation of him; and you’ll see that in those notes.  In truth, I was not sure Bennish would even be a permanent part of a cast - the series idea was built around the other three.  But Bennish was chosen as a kind of touchstone to the original show that would get us started.  Also, while the hope was for Jason Gaffney to take part; I was also hedging my bets.  If you could find the right actor, you may be able to pull off a “good enough for fan film” Bennish with a wig, sunglasses and a goatee.

Another interesting note about Bennish comes in the years that followed the original draft of Declassified.  It became clear over time that a fan film wasn’t going to happen; so I considered making it an online comics strip series.  I was inspired by The Ten Doctors on Rich’s ComixBlog:

It was a simplistic pencil drawing presentation as storyboards.  No splash pages or creative arrangements; just a grid of boxes filled with story.  I contacted Rich about adapting Declassified, but he was not interested; so I then tried some other artists.  During that search, artist Michelle Bridges did some preliminary work but ultimately did not go forward.

It was during this phase that I re-thought Bennish a little.  With the time that had passed, Bennish was likely pushing forty by the time of Declassified.  What would he be like at that age?  I had the idea that Bennish’s worst nightmare had come to pass - he was losing his hair.  But not content to accept it, he took action.

In 1995, Bennish looked like he could have stepped out of the counter culture of 1965.  Following that scale, a Bennish in 2010 would look like he stepped out of 1980.  What was the counter culture movement in 1980?  Punk.  What if Bennish shaved half of his head clean but left his remaining long hair hanging down one side?  He could have the recognizable profile at one angle, but a new dimension of character added.  Bennish could be a man struggling to accept middle age.

Though not exactly what I envisioned, Michelle created this mock up for the look I’m talking about:

In any case, I thought you may enjoy some more insight into where it could have been going.  The entire thing was really just a fun thought exercise for me; it made me feel like I did when I was explaining plot holes in the show.

5 (edited by ireactions 2020-05-04 10:11:11)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I think Slide Override's analysis of DECLASSIFIED's technical merits as a screenplay is very interesting.

I personally got a lot out of the Reese character, particularly his monologue with Alli. I have never talked about this because DECLASSIFIED wasn't public, but I read DECLASSIFIED before I decided to write SLIDERS REBORN. I wanted to write SLIDERS scripts, but I didn't know what I wanted to say aside from declaring that I really missed Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo.

When I read the pages of Reese describing the sliding technology as a device that cuts through the pages of the book that is reality -- it made me realize that I did have something I wanted to express. I wanted to say that the science of SLIDERS is really the science of stories, the mechanics of plot, characterization, world-building, action and result and that I could present that in my own SLIDERS writing.

And Reese's monologue is quite beautifully written and I imagined it being performed by Brandon Routh. On the subject of dream casting, when I first read DECLASSIFIED, I thought Alli was clearly Allison Mack, but on this recent re-read, I saw Alli as Allison Scagliotti and am relieved that Hollywood will continue to produce hyperactive young women named Allison even as Allison Mack is in under house arrest for sex trafficking.

I got a lot out of Bennish too. To me, Bennish is just the stoner classmate in Arturo's class, but TF has seen a lot more depth in the character, first observing that Bennish seems to be about 25 - 30 years in the past at all times culturally, and second by noting that Bennish isn't as intelligent as he claims, observing that Bennish was ranting about nuclear power in "Last Days" but not actually engaged in any development and that Arturo did all the work on the bomb while Bennish interfered and distracted. TF said that Bennish was designed as a foil and a catalyst and I saw that understanding lead to Bennish being so clearly exposed for what he is in DECLASSIFIED.

I think the strongest influence of DECLASSIFIED for me -- I would get stalled a lot on my fan fiction because it never seemed to properly replicate the original spirit and voice of SLIDERS. My world building was not acceptable. And then Temporal Flux presented a perfect representation of SLIDERS through his storytelling instincts and his own personality.

I realized that for him and likely for Torme and Weiss, SLIDERS is a song they know how to sing intuitively. For other SLIDERS writers, SLIDERS is more an instrument that will sound different in each person's hands and that it was alright to embrace SLIDERS as an instrument. I could never be Temporal Flux and I now understood that I didn't have to try to be as funny and satirical; I would instead aim for capturing the voices of the actors and be earnest and heartfelt.

Once I grasped that, I was able to produce some enjoyable results by writing Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo stories, stories about the sliders. But Temporal Flux's DECLASSIFIED is actually a SLIDERS story.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

TemporalFlux wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts...

No problem at all. I loaded the script up onto my Kindle and that was a really enjoyable read during the afternoon.

TemporalFlux wrote:

In any case, I thought you may enjoy some more insight into where it could have been going. The entire thing was really just a fun thought exercise for me; it made me feel like I did when I was explaining plot holes in the show.

TemporalFlux wrote:

When I originally wrote Sliders: Declassified, I also wrote some notes about where the future would lead (in some cases over a long period of time - like a season or series wide arc).  You can read them below.  I will warn that they may make you unhappy; but like all ideas, nothing was set in stone.

And thank you for the additional insights into the development of this. Very intriguing. I see now some of the seeds that you attempted to plant in the background in order to be explored in future episodes, like the 'Luckiest SOB Alive' sticky-note comment for Gibbs.

Some of those concepts presented I couldn't say if I would personally love them or not, both the style of how it was executed and having meaningful / significant payoff, plays a huge role in the outcome of concepts ... but I do know that I would have at least enjoyed the ride!

Have you written anything of your own? I would love to read more of your work.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Slide Override wrote:

Some of those concepts presented I couldn't say if I would personally love them or not, both the style of how it was executed and having meaningful / significant payoff, plays a huge role in the outcome of concepts ... but I do know that I would have at least enjoyed the ride!

And as things evolve during the script process, they can easily grow.  Everyone has their own process, but I tend to start with one scene and build everything out from there.  When originally conceived as a pure Sliders story, my only thought about game show world was the scene where Arturo has to return something through customer service and play Password.  Starting with that core, I then figure how we get to that scene and how we exit from the situation it creates.

For the second episode of Declassified, the one scene in my mind’s eye was the government’s secret menagerie of nightmares collected for study from parallel worlds.  Cell after cell filled with living fire and Zercuvian flat-landers and the like; all kept with the intent to weaponize or otherwise co-opt for the US government.

To escape their predicament, the Sliders hit the switch to open all the doors and release the chaos.  But the one scene to build on?  A cell opens, and the camera starts near the floor panning upward in a slow, ominous manner.  A figure steps forward.  We are panning up as it spreads its arms and puffs its chest soaking in the power of its freedom.  We pan up to the face now fully feeling this must be a “big bad”.  We see the face.  It is an “Invasion” era Kromagg.

Then we hear a clunk sound. The Kromagg jerks.  It’s been hit in the back of the head and falls to the floor unconscious.  This reveals Gibbs standing behind it with a now dented fire extinguisher.  While looking down at the Kromagg, Gibbs exclaims,

“I’m NOT gonna go through THAT again!”

And that would be the last time we ever see any Kromagg or monster in my version of Sliders.  lol.  Of course, by that point we would know Gibbs is a seasoned Slider; the implication is that he must have dealt with them before just like we did as viewers.

Slide Override wrote:

Have you written anything of your own? I would love to read more of your work.

I have done a few other things, but I still hold hope that some of them may be published one day. As a result I’ll keep them to myself for now.

My favorite of them is something I pitched to Marvel Comics.  Usually a writer is writing a Marvel character hoping to leave some little stamp on the trademarked character; but I came to realize that my idea was actually unique, and I was trying to get Marvel to put their stamp on it.  There’s really no need for that.

I tried a few submissions to Marvel, though.  At the time Marvel had some “Unlimited” series meant to showcase short stories from new talent.  I decided to take a stab at X-men.  The guidance from Marvel then was that X-men was meant as an allegory for teen angst.  I had always thought the X-men was an allegory for civil rights, so that was a head scratcher; but if they wanted teen angst, I would give them teen angst.

Below is the submission titled “Reflections”.  It’s in a different format than the Declassified script, so hopefully it will display correctly:

The script was rejected, but Marvel said it was because they were not accepting new characters at that time.  In hindsight, I think Marvel was planning for their cinematic future.  Any new character in an X-men story could only be exploited by Fox due to the licensing agreement in place.  Marvel was wanting characters they could exploit for themselves through their coming movie studio.

Another of my favorite purely Marvel ideas was a Spider-man story that I never expanded into a formal script.  The idea was to present a perspective about how we view police men and women, but doing so through Spider-man.

Some in society use the police as a tool to “scare their kids straight”, but that sends the wrong message in my opinion.  Though there are bad eggs, the police are often the only people who will help you; and if you are too frightened to ask, then you may have thrown away your chance for help.

The story would have featured a child in the Marvel Universe.  To discipline her child, the mother would use Spider-man as a bogeyman - “if you don’t behave, then Spider-man is going to get you.”  The problem?  This child’s bedroom is directly underneath Peter Parker’s apartment; so every night, the terrified child sees Spider-man crawl by his window.

The child grows up.  One day in New York, he rounds a corner to find Spider-man in pitched battle with Mysterio - the villain who can make all fears come to life.  Spider-man attempts to remove the now grown child from danger, but he fights back in a panic flailing against the fear that Spider-man was about “to get him”.  The distraction leads to Spider-man being injured and in danger of dying.  Can childhood fear be overcome to save a life?  Will there finally be a realization of who the good guy really is?  Anyway, I thought it was an interesting idea to explore.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

It sounds like Temporal Flux was pitching X-MEN material to Marvel during the Grant Morrison era when Morrison decided to downplay X-MEN's civil rights metaphors in favour of the X-MEN demonstrating conflict between progressivism and conservatism, youth and age, punk and classicism by having mutants developing their own culture and value system separate from humans.

Morrison's NEW X-MEN was brilliant, but as with SLIDERS, Morrison's approach required a very specific set of life experiences and interests and eccentricities to tell stories with his model and other writers floundered when trying to work within this new house style. Morrison was only writing one X-MEN title with different writers scripting the other 10 - 15.

X-MEN as a civil rights allegory is something any writer can approach with their own spin while still producing a recognizable X-MEN story. X-MEN as teen angst is a massive oversimplification of a template that was too complicated and idiosyncratic to assign to anyone other than Grant Morrison. SLIDERS under Torme and Weiss has a personality of unpretentious and low-key satire that aims for contemplation rather than condemnation. "The Weaker Sex" doesn't propose that women are better than men; it just puts the balance of power on the other side. "Luck of the Draw" doesn't endorse population control; it asks you to think about it.

It's difficult to write, but Torme and Weiss weren't just writing their own scripts; they were editing and revising everyone else's. Morrison wasn't editing and revising anyone else's X-MEN stories other than his own on NEW X-MEN.

Temporal Flux's DECLASSIFIED shows how SLIDERS has a house style like Grant Morrison's NEW X-MEN -- but unlike NEW X-MEN, SLIDERS doesn't disqualify other styles but in fact incorporates them. In Season 2 of SLIDERS, the Torme/Weiss model of comedic social commentary is somewhat diminished as new writers came aboard and Weiss was no longer involved. To write a Torme/Weiss story, you have to have a certain peculiarity of personality, I think.

Temporal Flux is someone who watches both FOX and CNN news and then identifies the truth as somewhere in between. Temporal Flux is a person of uncommon clarity and wide perspective and I think you need that to tell this sort of SLIDERS story. I personally do not have that. Few people do which is why most people who write SLIDERS stories are more on the Tony Blake and Paul Jackson spectrum.

Blake and Jackson are two very solid action-adventure writers who wrote and produced a lot of 90s TV. They wrote "Love Gods" in Season 2 and "Double Cross" in Season 3. Neither script has Torme and Weiss' gentle parodies of popular culture, neither presents a tilted perspective on gender divides or environmentalist concerns. But both "Love Gods" and "Double Cross" are recognizably SLIDERS stories because they feature Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt, Arturo, alternate history, exploration of a parallel world, the perspective of the multiverse and so long as you have those aspects of SLIDERS, you can tell good stories that are still SLIDERS stories.

But when you don't have those elements to tell a SLIDERS story, then you need the house style. The original voice. The Torme/Weiss perspective on SLIDERS as a platform for social satire that is indirect, comedic, non-judgemental and invites thought and consideration. That will make the story feel like SLIDERS when it doesn't have *the* sliders.

However, the challenge of maintaining SLIDERS' identity without the sliders -- that's something the actual SLIDERS TV show fumbled and whereas Temporal Flux's personality is so in tune with SLIDERS that even when his story doesn't feature the sliders, it is recognizably and authentically SLIDERS.

9 (edited by Slide Override 2020-05-05 10:57:35)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

TemporalFlux wrote:

And as things evolve during the script process, they can easily grow.

Exactly. It's one of the things that I love about writing - dreaming the building blocks that were sparked from a single idea and then attempting to build a solid foundation and concept from it. It's fascinating to see your own concepts either grow and develop along the lines that you imagined, or even spiral out of control into areas that you hadn't even foreseen. Sometimes you even hit those moments where, no matter how hard you try to write out a fleshed-out idea, your own characters seem to rebel against it! Though frustrating, that's actually a joyful moment for me, as it's when you realise that your characters have now become living breathing people, with their own ideals and ways of doing things, and that simply might not match your initial concept any longer.

Yeah. Writing is equal parts frustration and joy lol.

TemporalFlux wrote:

I have done a few other things, but I still hold hope that some of them may be published one day. As a result I’ll keep them to myself for now.

No problem at all. I was actually wondering if you had been published somewhere, as I can see the obvious talent within your writing.

TemporalFlux wrote:

Below is the submission titled “Reflections”.  It’s in a different format than the Declassified I’ve script, so hopefully it will display correctly:

Very interesting that you attempted to pitch to Marvel. I will give that a read.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

It's strange -- a lot of the realizations about SLIDERS that DECLASSIFIED prompted in me -- I realized them unknowingly when I read it years ago.

DECLASSIFIED is a SLIDERS story; despite not having the sliders, it has the themes and tone of the Pilot and most of the first season. It is recognizably SLIDERS in the way Seasons 4 - 5 so definitively aren't with their straightforward moralizing and their focus on physical threat. By showing the SLIDERS formula and brand without the sliders in it, Temporal Flux has demonstrated what the original model of SLIDERS storytelling was in the first place.

And that poses some interesting questions because one of the biggest problems SLIDERS fans have debated: how could SLIDERS have remained more recognizably SLIDERS across losing three-quarters of its cast and its original filming location and its series creators? One game has been to transplant the Season 1 - 2 cast into Season 3 - 5 episodes. You can read the version of "Sole Survivors" where poor Arturo has to fight zombies and the first draft of what became "The Other Slide of Darkness" which also features our beloved Professor. Mike Truman wrote a clever essay about how Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo might have faced the vampires of "Stoker." I wrote a Quinn and Wade edition of "Net Worth."

One of my favourite fanfics is the Earth 210 episode guide set on an Earth where Torme and Weiss presumably stayed throughout and a lot of it is taking the existing episodes but assigning Maggie, Colin, Diana and Mallory's roles to the originals. I've generally seen Earth 210 as a plausible depiction of a Torme and Weiss SLIDERS -- but after re-reading DECLASSIFIED this week, I realize that this is not entirely the case.

DECLASSIFIED indicates that tone of SLIDERS under Torme and Weiss is not based in sci-fi action-adventure concepts. It isn't interested in virtual reality, slidewaves, cryogenics, interdimensional ghosts, slidecages, turning black people into cyborg zombies, amusement parks that consume negative emotions, bubble universes, collapsing universes, reality warping weapons, interdimensional trench warfare, interdimensional libraries, nanites, aritficial intelligence customer service, aliens landing on Earth, neural remapping and other STAR TREK/STARGATE style tropes. Torme and Weiss are mostly interested in the people who live in these worlds. They want to show what the infomercials would be like. How the fast food restaurants would run.

Putting Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo in Season 4 - 5 Sci-Fi Channel scripts may have livened them up and made them more familiar, but DECLASSIFIED reveals to me that they still wouldn't be SLIDERS stories as defined by Torme, Weiss and DECLASSIFIED.

Looking at Seasons 4 - 5 and its 40 episodes, only three story concepts stand out to me as immediately suited to the Torme/Weiss model: "Virtual Slide" could have been a fascinating exploration of a world where in-person communication is considered rude and intrusive and "A Current Affair" is potentially a razor sharp satire on how gossipy scandal distracts from politics of actual consequence to life and livelihood. "Map of the Mind" was potentially a great story about a world where fiction is viewed with contempt.

Marc Scott Zicree does a brilliant job with "World Killer" and "Slidecage," but neither is exactly a commentary on human society. Annie Fish in their Think of a Roulette Wheel blog called "World Killer" an "outlier" as Season 4 doesn't measure up to its quality. I wonder if "World Killer" would still have been an outlier, surrounded by more grounded stories in a Torme and Weiss run SLIDERS.

"Prophets and Loss" by Bill Dial -- I wonder if on a Torme/Weiss model, this story is reworked so that the fundamentalist rulers are fixated on the health of their population (something TF wrote about in another thread), using a social credit system to bar people from driving cars if they're considered overweight or getting into bars if they're considered to be staying out too late.

"California Reich" would probably be Torme's wish to have a story where black people practice racism against whites, although I dunno how that would play out. "Lipschitz Live" would probably need to be TF's idea of a reality TV world where privacy doesn't exist, everything is filmed and televised live and people actively play to the cameras to win themselves attention. "Net Worth," "Data World" and "Slide By Wire" are probably best folded into "Virtual Slide."

"Just Say Yes" was better off as Jerry O'Connell's "Narcotica" comic book which simply played the concept straight with a world where all drugs are legal.

"My Brother's Keeper" is potentially interesting -- I can't see Torme/Weiss being too keen on sci-fi cloning, but perhaps they would have liked something closer to "The Breeder"'s alt-world -- a world where people can sign up to donate organs for money including ones essential for staying alive, and the sliders find themselves trying to rescue donors who don't understand why the sliders are horrified by the situation.

"The Chasm" is ridiculous, but there could be something to a world where displays of anger and aggression are medicated as mental illness.

"Revelations" could have been an intriguing world where Holocaust denialism is mainstream? "New Gods For Old" is a really good story, and I wonder if that would be worth keeping mostly as-is as an outlier of a more sci-fi oriented story. "Please Press One" -- I'd probably fold the AI concept from that into "Virtual Slide," I'm not sure it needs its own episode. I feel like anything "The Java Jive" might have to say about a society addicted to caffeine and stimulants is also best folded into "Narcotica."

"Map of the Mind" is an excellent concept brought to life in an extremely Torme/Weiss style DOCTOR WHO story in a novel called "The Stealer of Dreams" and I recommend this Steve Lyons novel to all SLIDERS fans, even fans who aren't familiar with DOCTOR WHO.

"A Thousand Deaths" and its video game concept has me thinking of the classic STAR TREK anti-war story, "The Armageddon Factor" where two civilizations wage simulated wars and virtual casualties on either side are handled with civilians voluntarily reporting for execution. But it had been done by STAR TREK, I'm not sure SLIDERS needed to do a replay.

Mike Truman cited something very interesting about the episodes "Heavy Metal" and "Dust." "Heavy Metal" has the protagonists preventing the development of aircraft so that ships stay in business. "Dust" has the protagonists appalled by archaeologists intruding upon the dead. Truman noted that "Heavy Metal" and "Dust" demonstrate a clear hostility towards science and exploration, a very peculiar attitude for a science fiction series like SLIDERS. I wonder if that's something to be mined, but it was probably done sufficiently with "Gillian of the Spirits."

DECLASSIFIED has made me realize at a surprisingly late stage that a SLIDERS story is significantly more elusive than my SLIDERS REBORN scripts offering parallel Earths and making sure Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo have funny arguments throughout. It requires a careful hand to examine and twist the subject matter whether it's gender norms or in-person communication or a stimulant-addicted society or one that eschews fiction -- but it also needs to be subtle enough that it's a contemplation rather than an attack.

And it also makes me wonder -- if we were saddled with Maggie, Colin, Diana and Mallory but had a network and producers eager to maintain the Torme/Weiss model of non-confrontational satire -- who would have even be able to write these stories without Torme and Weiss at the helm? I couldn't do it. Tony Blake and Paul Jackson couldn't do it. David Peckinpah at his most engaged and determined couldn't do it. Bill Dial's "Prophets and Loss" and its crashingly unsubtle moralizing makes it pretty clear that he wasn't up for it. Marc Scott Zicree is a genius, but his genius does not lie in the Torme/Weiss model.

And that might be a nonsensical question anyway because any regime keen to maintain the Torme/Weiss design wouldn't have driven them from their show in the first place.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

It's humbling to be a lifelong fan of SLIDERS (but certainly not as devoted as Temporal Flux) and to re-read something by Temporal Flux that I read years ago -- and only now realize from TF's mastery of SLIDERS' tropes, platform, style and tone that I myself have *never* fully understood the show. DECLASSIFIED shows that it's the non-aggressive and highly contemplative social satire that makes SLIDERS so distinct and memorable. That featuring the sliders Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo does not automatically transform a story into a SLIDERS story. And how you can indeed have SLIDERS without *the* sliders by continuing the themes if not the plots and characters.

It's interesting to compare Seasons 4 - 5 of SLIDERS with DECLASSIFIED again and realize that the problem with those years is only partially the overstretched Bill Dial and Keith Damron scripts, but also a core conceptual problem. Temporal Flux once remarked that while Marc Scott Zicree was a brilliant screenwriter, he was too focused on the science fiction rather than the social commentary. Whether this is Zicree's doing or not, DECLASSIFIED shows that Seasons 4 - 5 demonstrate an overemphasis on technology and a underemphasis on sociology.

Just about every episode of Seasons 4 - 5 are consciously science fiction by playing up some form of advanced technology that did not exist or at least not to that degree in the real world: Kromagg war weapons, a deatomizing machine, virtual reality, slidewaves, cryogenics, psionic healing, energy weapons, VR, VR and VR again, human cloning, bubble universes, combining universes, nanites, AI, telepathic piloting, neural remapping, VR and other technovoodoo.

Keith Damron says that there was a deliberate effort to add science fiction aesthetics to every story by adding these technological elements, often into story pitches that didn't originally have them. Almost no story in Seasons 4 - 5 are designed to explore how people interact and live and what prejudices, stigmas and conventions exist on a social and personal level. The forceful use of these superficial sci-fi elements came at the expense of SLIDERS having once been a very grounded show that looked like an indie movie or a procedural that presented unfamiliar worlds through behaviours rather than special effects and props.

DECLASSIFIED, in its unpretentious, grounded presentation of the SLIDERS format, shows how these self-consciously science fiction elements of the Sci-Fi Channel years are a cluttered distraction from the heart of SLIDERS which is best shown in having people from our world interact with people on other worlds.

And looking critically at my own SLIDERS writing, I seem to have fallen face first into these same unforced errors with SLIDERS REBORN. My plots are entirely too engaged with sliding technology, presenting it as a teleportation device for transporting supplies and then to create an end of the multiverse plot that isn't exactly on the more mundane tone of the sliders attempting to purchase pretzels. In addition, my editors were often alarmed by the humour where Wade grumbles that she planned to spend her evening ironing her socks, not sliding; where Rembrandt receives a replacement Cadillac from Quinn only for a runaway vortex to eat it a half hour later and take Rembrandt's house as well; where the sliders start a business selling 3D printed mini hamburgers and call the firm Sliders Incorporated.

I protested that SLIDERS has always been a comedy -- but DECLASSIFIED makes me realize that the comedy of SLIDERS was not based in Wade and Arturo sniping at each other and Rembrandt being haplessly out of place and Quinn being incompetent yet clever -- it was about the skewed and tilted inversions of our own reality.

My finale has sliding presented in terms of physical combat and while all this seemed to be a crowdpleaser judging from the fan mail, DECLASSIFIED has made me realize that despite comforting people who wanted a happy ending for Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo, my writing did not serve the purpose for which SLIDERS was built -- social satire and thoughtful commentary. There's quite a bit about doomsday scenarios in my writing -- but it's as specific and direct as a Bill Dial script; it's not a discussion, it's a lecture akin to SUPERGIRL calling for people to "resist" while its villains declare, "Nevertheless, she persisted."

DECLASSIFIED shows that SLIDERS wasn't made to lecture and cast judgement, it was made as an invitation for the audience to think and draw their own conclusions.

Which means that despite DECLASSIFIED inspiring me to focus on the zero budget PDF screenplay format for SLIDERS, I see now that I in fact learned all the wrong lessons from it. Should SLIDERS REBORN, written with this new understanding, have been different? The answer is... probably not because when you have dead characters resurrected (it's in the title), that shifts SLIDERS into the superhero genre and SLIDERS REBORN is taking the sliders (the characters) through superhero tropes in a dysfunctional and comedic way. It's the Acclaim comic book version of SLIDERS in the Marvel house style.

And that is fine -- but DECLASSIFIED is the real version of SLIDERS and comparing my material with his makes me *finally* understand why Temporal Flux was always so politely disinterested in resurrecting Wade, splitting the Quinns, liberating Earth Prime, recovering the original Arturo, dismissing the Kromagg Prime backstory and revealing whatever happened to Ryan, Henry, Michelle, Diana, Logan, the FBI, Bennish, Malcolm and Kaldeen.

The only thing Temporal Flux set out to resurrect was the SLIDERS storytelling platform and the only revelation he wanted to make was how SLIDERS' themes, tone, purpose and mission could continue with or without the original sliders. As TF says, DECLASSIFIED isn't an attempt to 'fix' SLIDERS; it's to demonstrate why he loves it.

Anyway. I am sure I will re-read DECLASSIFIED five years and now and learn something entirely new from it.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Was watching one of the news shows tonight, and they were throwing around accusations that the San Francisco city government is paying to provide drugs and alcohol to the homeless so that they will stay in the hotel rooms they’ve been sequestered in.  I have no idea if any of that is true, but the segment ended with the quip - “if this keeps up, the only people who’ll live in San Francisco are the homeless.”  That led to me to the seed of a parallel reality idea.

So the pandemic has led many businesses to have employees work from home.  This has left many buildings in downtown business districts vacant.  We’ve also seen from many tv shows, celebrities broadcasting from home are very dressed down (unshaven, mussed hair, no make-up).  I believe that behavior to be intentional (celebrities purposefully trying to seem relatable during this crisis), but the picture is that working at home seems to be an excuse to let yourself go.

So let’s carry this forward through time if the spirit of these changes just stay this way.  People won’t need suits and dress clothes any longer, so they’ll donate them to charity.  More homeless will likely appear due to lack of jobs, but the now vacant buildings in downtown could be taken by the city government and converted to rudimentary housing.

Looking at a snap shot in time, you could see a world where the people in business suits walking around downtown are actually the homeless - and the shabby people walking around the edges of society are the people who have jobs and money.   A total reverse of a societal norm with an almost plausible explanation; and also a perfect opening for some Sliders to end up on skid row when they thought they were going somewhere different.  It could also be a good opportunity to explore what it’s like to be homeless when you never expected to be (as Sliders become when they’re lost).

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I remember in December 2016, Slider_Quinn21 and I were reviewing the script pages for the final SLIDERS REBORN screenplay. One exchange jumped out to Slider_Quinn21 when Rembrandt is facing down the robots from "State of the ART":

Regenesis wrote:

REMBRANDT: "Professor, you gotta know something! You took apart one of these robots and put it back together again -- "

ARTURO: "That wasn't ME!"

REMBRANDT: "Oh -- sorry!"

And Slider_Quinn21 marked this passage, saying:

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

This is genius!

And today, I read:

Temporal Flux wrote:

Interesting, visual, relevant to current events alternate reality that would be meaningful, filmable and amusing even without a long-held, possibly unhealthy affection for fictional characters who haven't been onscreen together since 1996 or at all since 2000.

I'm very proud of what Slider_Quinn21 and I produced, but Temporal Flux's marvelous, off-the-cuff ideas make me realize that we are but pupils, shadows cast by the kindly light of the Master.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Reading DECLASSIFIED has made me wonder -- if TF captures the original spirit of SLIDERS as it first aired on television, what was the original spirit of SLIDERS as it was intended on Tracy Torme's word processor? What was his vision with Robert K. Weiss before that vision was altered by the necessities of casting actual humans to play their imagined characters? Before that vision was adapted to what was physically and financially filmable? … -01-14.pdf

Reading the first half of the Pilot script, I find that there are some slight differences, some significant and some subtle. The first is the casting. Quinn is clearly not Jerry O'Connell in this script; he's described as "handsome in an unassuming, boyish way." He isn't meant to look like an athlete; I think he's more Tobey Maguire than Jerry O'Connell. Quinn is crushing on a girl named Stephanie who shoots him down when he asks her out on a date and Stephanie's friends call Quinn "a dweeb." The original script also makes a much sharper distinction between Quinn and Smarter Quinn. On paper, Smarter Quinn is a volatile, flamboyant, abrasive, arrogant prankster. Smarter Quinn is buff and athletic where Quinn is reedy and shy.

In the aired version, Jerry O'Connell's Quinn is confident, capable and amiable but cautiously avoidant and secretive, ignoring Wade's crush, pleasant but distant from his classmates -- the result of Jerry playing Quinn's scripted dialogue with an easy charisma that isn't on the page. And the only real difference between Quinn and Smarter Quinn is that Smarter Quinn dresses a bit better, with Smarter Quinn's pranks, insults and superior attitude largely trimmed from the story.

Arturo is described as looking like Raul Julia (Gomez from THE ADDAMS FAMILY among many, many other roles), and the characterization is more cowardly than John Rhys-Davies would tolerate, which manifests later in the story.

Wade and Rembrandt, however, are completely Sabrina Lloyd and Cleavant Derricks and the casting there was perfect for the script.

There are also a variety of expansions: Smarter Quinn apparently pulled numerous pranks on multiple classmates and teachers on campus while impersonating our Quinn. Quinn sits through an entire class with Arturo after Smarter Quinn humiliated the Professor. Smarter Quinn insulted the Professor's sexual prowess instead of his theories.

Hurley has a festishistic obsession with the Computer Boy mascot of the Top Flight computer store. And Wade, Hurley's twentysomething employee, has been to Hurley's house for reasons that were too terrifying for Torme to document except it involved looking at Hurley's family photo albums which included the Computer Boy mascot. Wade is also the one to convince Arturo to visit Quinn's house when Quinn wishes to explain Smarter Quinn's pranking.

The radio shock jock's material is also pleasingly modern by today's standards; on our Earth, he speaks derisively of feminists while on the first parallel Earth, he snarls that women are right to be angry because women have always had the game rigged against them.

The most significant change aside from the casting: the vortex is described not as a glowing, beautiful opening in reality that casts light and energy into the space around it -- but as a reflective-rimmed hole in the air and at the heart is a dark, blackened, terrifying void of nothing. An anomaly of unknowable and threatening emptiness that infringes upon the reality of our world. The interior tunnel is not a path of purple and green energies but an empty plane of blackness. Wade never looks at the vortex with Sabrina Lloyd's wonder and delight; Arturo is intimidated by it.

There's an interesting scene where Wade says she wants to jump into the vortex, Raul Julia's Arturo refuses, and Wade asks the Professor how it would look in history if she and Quinn stepped into the tunnel to another dimension but the Professor were too scared to join them. The Professor's ego won't allow him to remain in the basement and Wade can see that, but the vortex is so disturbing that one can understand the Professor's hesitance.

In the original script, the vortex is an ominous black shape of terror, a doorway to nightmares and doom and Rembrandt's palpable fright when he sees it is the default and correct response.

I wonder how different the second half will be.

15 (edited by ireactions 2020-05-11 15:41:34)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

The second half of the Pilot script is not significantly different from the aired version. Torme and Weiss' darkly comic tone aired as they scripted it from THE PEOPLE'S COURT parody to Russian street meat vendors and Ross J. Kelley being an ambulance chaser at home and an interrogator on the Russian Earth. There are some additional scenes of Wing being rewarded for turning in his parents as Revolutionary collaborators that I assume were filmed. There are no scenes of Stephanie, Quinn's crush on Earth Prime -- which is probably why her scenes proved too irrelevant to air even though they were filmed.

There is a moment for Quinn that wasn't aired but is a prelude to his daring improvisations in "Prince of Wails" and "Luck of the Draw"; when the Revolution soldiers recognize Wade as their leader, Quinn is the first to play along with it to create trust, showing that Torme had a clear view of Quinn's intelligence under fire from the start.

The biggest change, really -- in the original script, Commander Wade Welles is successfully rescued from the Russian prison and her survival gives the Revolution a "shot in the arm" where they were previously losing. In the aired version, Commander Welles dies -- but the predicted collapse of the Revolution doesn't happen; the sliders' mere presence assured the resistance that a better world was possible and they could keep fighting.

The outcome for the rebellion isn't particularly different, yet the emotional beats are shifted and in many ways, it's an improvement.

The script has the Revolution declare that if the battle is lost, the war is lost; they win the battle and emerge inspired to continue the war. The aired version has the Revolution declare that if the battle is lost, the war is lost; they lose the battle but are inspired to continue the war. The aired version argues that defeat isn't the end after all; the Revolution is a belief in the American ideal, a concept that exists with or without Commander Welles.

There is a certain emptiness in the script coming from Quinn mistaking Commander Welles for Wade and seeing her die only to be informed later that Commander Welles is alive. It undermines Quinn's grief and guilt which has already been circumvented by Wade reappearing.

Commander Welles' death maintains the weight of Quinn's reaction to Wade's apparent death and leads to a later revision: in the original script, the sliders toast "Kansas" over dinner, toasting having returned from Oz/a parallel world. In the aired version, they raise glasses to "the Revolution." The emphasis is not on themselves and their seeming good fortune, but instead on the friends who saved them and were inspired by them.

In the end, the tone of SLIDERS is largely how Torme and Weiss imagined it. The main difference in SLIDERS' original conception is that Quinn and Arturo are more dysfunctional and less assertive. The characters of Quinn and the Professor shifted due to the casting. Arturo on paper is blustering but wilts under any kind of pressure whatsoever, completely contrary to John Rhys-Davies' strong screen presence. Quinn in the scripts is decidedly unheroic in image, hesitant and deferential, devoid of Jerry O'Connell's charisma and confidence. But the words and actions are about the same as what we saw on TV.

The show would feel different with Tobey Maguire and Raul Julia as Quinn and Arturo. Their scripted characters are deliberately written to convey inadequacy. The pilot script indicates that Quinn and Arturo are deeply unglamourous figures who are not up to the task of rallying a revolution or fighting a despotic regime. They shrink and cower in the face of adversity. The fact that Quinn and Arturo muddle through is a combination of desperate persistence and flat out luck.

But onscreen, Jerry O'Connell is a tall, sharp, attractive figure whose flannel and long hair make him look striking, unconsciously stylish and crisply intelligent. Jerry's clothes, while casual, are fitted to his athletic build. And with the scenes of Quinn striking out with a prospective date being cut, Jerry's charismatic performance makes Quinn's isolation, seeming blindness to Wade's crush and lack of friends seem less like social awkwardness and more like avoidance. Then there's John Rhys-Davies, a broad, commanding performer in a well-tailored suit who exudes authority and ability. When Jerry and John perform these pages, they make it very clear that Quinn and Arturo are heroic figures who will win. They bring a Hollywood polish to characters written with none at all.

But outside of the acting, the tone of SLIDERS on a typewriter is the tone that aired in 1995 where nightmarish horror is immediately punctured by eccentric comedy.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Finally got to reading the TF script, and I LOVED it!  While I'm not totally sure if the characters themselves are the right choices to have throughout a full season, the dark humor, improvisation to danger, and TV science goofiness (finding a chip in a door lock) was all quintessential Torme Sliders.  I think the premise, in that people on EP used Sliding with disastrous effects, is a great one.  Truly a novel way to connect back to, and potentially "run into" the original group again.  While I realize he provides a large part of the plot in this script, the only thing I'd change would be including Bennish long term on this ride.  Maybe this is blasphemous, but I never liked the character outside of being a rotten turd on the few worlds they visited.  I think he was established as villainous though I suppose he could be a "Dr. Smith" type of companion.  All in all, this was really a clever take on "rebooting the show" mainly because it's "small."  I fear that if Hollywood were to attempt it, they would immediately be busting their budget, which was never Torme's vision for this series.  In fact, your approach would succeed on a streaming service like Peacock because it wouldn't require insane budgets.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Thanks  smile

I didn’t want to dive too deep into it in the narrative; but when trying to figure out how to do a quick nod to the original show at the start, I started to realize there could be more to the story of the Sliders disappearance from an Earth Prime perspective.  So far, all we had seen of that perspective was season two’s “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”; and it was presented as though people had been somewhat worried for a year or more, but they never really thought of the disappearance as anything sinister.  But thinking in our world’s terms, couldn’t this all be something blasted on Nancy Grace every night?  Let’s look at this.

Hours before the disappearance, Arturo and Quinn exhibited a rivalry by verbally fighting in a university class - Arturo especially hot headed with a history of losing his temper.  Then Arturo is seen alone with Wade in front of Quinn’s house; and interviews with people in their lives would note that Wade wanted a romantic relationship with Quinn.  Rivals.  Lovers.  This thing could easily blow up into a sensational story in our culture; and the FBI wouldn’t help in the matter.  *We* know the FBI was looking at the sliding equipment, but what would the public think when suddenly the FBI shows up at Quinn’s house?  Then the FBI starts interviewing the people in our Sliders’ lives (like Bennish) which adds more fuel to the gossip fire.

The only thing standing in the way of the rampant gossip would be Mrs. Mallory, but who would believe her?   That’s when I started thinking about these strange sci-fi movies that Lifetime likes to make, and then the whole idea fit together with that crazy movie adding a little bit of levity to this dark train of thought.

But that’s another aspect I loved about Sliders - all the little seeds dropped in for people to analyze and discuss on Internet forums.  Another example of that is something I’m sure that everyone overlooked - Why was there a slinky in Suicide Reese’s lab?  It was a prop used by that Dr. Reese to explain the Helix Spiral theory used by the original Sliders to create the timer countdown.

Our new group took Suicide Reese’s lap top to reboot the timer; but what was yet to be revealed was that the contents of his lap top were a little different.  Our group unknowingly downloaded the Helix Spiral countdown into their timer; and they would discover this in episode two when they notice their timer is now unexpectedly counting down.

But all of these elements and humor and true social commentary (not just politics) - this is what I would love to see.

18 (edited by Grizzlor 2020-05-14 10:28:18)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Interesting, the "Nancy Grace" angle.  Trying to think back to the late 90's, there weren't too many media formats that would have covered this other than Howard Stern or National Enquirer or something like that.  Also, was Sliding declassified to the public?  That seems unlikely given that most conspiracy theorists allege pretty much nothing is by the federal government. 

You know what's ironic is, when I scan through television (network and streaming), Sliders would STILL have no place!  Science Fiction tinged in sarcasm and humor?  Everything is either kid/teen overload like Stranger Things or Locke and Key, or extremely dark.  I suppose Supernatural is an exception.  I would hate to see this script concept or any other given the teen treatment.  While I look forward to the new Ghostbusters, which does that, it's not right for Sliders.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Grizzlor wrote:

Interesting, the "Nancy Grace" angle.  Trying to think back to the late 90's, there weren't too many media formats that would have covered this other than Howard Stern or National Enquirer or something like that.

I only meant that it was the kind of material Nancy Grace would jump on; and this was written during the height of her popularity.  These types of sensationalized stories were popular long before her, though; and the only indication we get of this Sliders missing persons idea is through a few, old newspaper headlines.

Also, was Sliding declassified to the public?  That seems unlikely given that most conspiracy theorists allege pretty much nothing is by the federal government.

Under my idea, it was never declassified except for that one, targeted leak of information to Bennish as the government tried to force Gibbs’ hand.

You know what's ironic is, when I scan through television (network and streaming), Sliders would STILL have no place!  Science Fiction tinged in sarcasm and humor?  Everything is either kid/teen overload like Stranger Things or Locke and Key, or extremely dark.  I suppose Supernatural is an exception.  I would hate to see this script concept or any other given the teen treatment.  While I look forward to the new Ghostbusters, which does that, it's not right for Sliders.

Ugh - yeah.   At least for me, Sliders can’t be adequately explored through teenage eyes.  Sliders is usually based on strange new restrictions or rules that appear in society, and that wouldn’t be something unusual for a teenager.  Even in a non-fiction setting, teenagers already believe they live in some parallel world with non-sensical rules designed just to harass them.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I had some inklings of what episode 3 would be, but had an interesting thought tonight.

Most everyone probably takes their cell phone and its capabilities for granted today.  Obviously cell phones existed in 1995 (the Sliders prop is made from one); but cell phone signals weren’t broadcast the same then as they are now.  Also, text messaging didn’t really start to become popular until 1999 when the ability to exchange texts between cellular networks started to make it more practical.

This is something that was never really explored on the original Sliders as a result; but with everyone carrying a cell phone today, what if a newly lost Slider landed on a parallel earth and they started receiving text messages on their Earth Prime phone?  Would they know the person?  If they followed the conversation, where would it lead?  And why is the Slider the only person responding in that reality?  What happened to the true owner of the account?

Not sure on the technical ins and outs of that; but with a little forgiveness, it could be an interesting way to explore a character’s life and the type of reality they’ve landed in.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Well, naturally, it would HAVE to be Wade who starts getting her doubles' phone calls which triggers her long-standing fear that the telephone company is coming after her. And you could say that Wade and Wade-2 both bought duplicates of the same SIM card with the same unique IMSI code and when Wade-2's phone is destroyed, Wade's phone takes its place on the network. And you could say that Wade has always refused to buy a new SIM card and instead has been personally cutting her own SIM card to smaller and smaller sizes as needed to fit into new phones and that her double does the same, hence the matching IMSI code.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Thought on it some more, and it’s stretching into a better idea.  It could actually kick something off like the Starman comic’s “Talking with David” that happened once a year; or the O’Brien hell episode once a year on DS9.  The tweak would have it presented as more of just a human story similar to how “As Time Goes By” was more a look at the relationship of Quinn and Daelin with parallel realities just a back drop.

Our new Sliders land in a new reality and are exploring around when Reese’s phone indicates there’s a new text message.  The simple message - “Are you there?”  The group is a bit shocked his cell phone would even work, and Reese decides to respond.  During the conversation, he comes to realize who it is.  It’s his sister who died years ago - the circumstances of her death being what shaped him into the cautious, pessimistic person he is today.

They go to his sister as the timer has them stuck on this world for quite a long time, and the story unfolds as Reese reconnects.  It turns out that she lost her Reese years ago. But sometime during our visit, our Reese notices her phone is unlocked and takes a look.  She has sent the same “Are you there?” message to his number at the same time everyday for months upon months.

Maybe her initial digging into her brother’s disappearance revealed that he left their world; so she’s kept paying her Reese’s phone bill to keep the account active.  The hope is that one day he’ll come back and respond.  So far through these texts, she’s met three different Reeses that stumbled, lost into her reality - but her Reese still hasn’t returned.

It’s kind of a re-work of my old “Venus fly-trap for Sliders” idea, but the sinister element removed.  Or, maybe it works better with this sinister element left in.  For those that don’t know, that was an idea I had about a Quinn double who used “Missing: Quinn Mallory” posters to lure Sliders to his home thinking they may find sliding equipment.  The Quinn double then kills them.  He’s a unique kind of serial killer; and buried in his back yard are the bodies of twelve different Quinn Mallorys.

Anyway, the Reese idea would still need a little alternate history back-drop of some type and something for the other Sliders to do, but it could be a story that’s lighter on the sci-fi side and more of a human story exploring what makes Reese who he is.  And every year the show could revisit the idea as Reese tries to find his sister’s double on whatever world they’re on so they can have a talk.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Maybe our parallel reality back-drop for Text World could be a variation on something I mentioned here before.  We’ve had much talk of universal basic income lately, and the recent stimulus is somewhat of an experiment with it; but a basic income is nothing new.  In Alaska, each resident of the state receives a check every year based on the dividend of oil and mineral revenue.  Some Middle Eastern countries do the same in greater amounts.

What if the United States had some natural resource so lucrative that every citizen received a lavish basic income?  It could lead to similarities with the liberating parts of the Roaring 20’s: … es-history

For a snapshot in time, we’ve kind of gotten a glimpse of this lately when people had too much free time on their hands; and what happened is that everyone started trying to one up each other in social media videos.

Which brings us to this reality - What if life was like an 80’s music video?  Dancing flash mobs; strange public stunts; people singing in the streets for no apparent reason - but what’s actually going on is everyone is trying to film something for social media.  And if our new Sliders landed in public view, they might unwittingly be pulled into it.

Such a world could also camouflage the red flags of what’s really going on with Reese’s sister if we took the more sinister route of the Venus fly trap idea.

Anyway, just thinking out loud.  It’s fun that I haven’t had in awhile.  smile

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I'd like to see this idea. It's reminiscent of some of the unfilmed scenes from "In Dino Veritas" where the original plan was to see sliders accidentally joined by Geraldo Rivera attempting to document their travels only to be eaten by a dinosaur. In your idea, the whole world is Geraldo.

Geraldo seemed popular in the 90s. The Season 3, 1995 episode of LOIS AND CLARK, "Chip Off the Old Clark," also had a script in which Geraldo Rivera was to be investigating a scandal where a woman claimed that Superman had impregnated her. The script specifies that Geraldo and Lois are old friends. Geraldo was also too busy for this one.

... why am I talking to Temporal Flux like he doesn't know Geraldo was planned to be in the dinosaur episode?

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Serial killer of Quinn's only-Quinn Mallory, ha ha ha!  Flash mob world would undoubtedly feature President Jimmy Fallon! 

Such off the wall ideas TF, but fun nonetheless.  You know it's funny, in some ways it's like how I used to view the world bound by "Catholic guilt" I'm now viewing your ideas bound by Fox-itis!  I read something, and think, well the network wouldn't allow this, or nope that will cost too much money.  Hee heee. 

There are very elaborate concepts that might not be possible in a single episode.  I wonder if they'd make more sense to be fleshed out a little more in like 2 or 3 episode arcs?  Slower paced.  One thing you saw with Sliders was that they went through various incarnations.  S1-2 it was all about adapting to the world, S3 was all about fighting and fleeing and action, S4 was way over reliant on character interaction and introspective.  S5 was kind of a mixture of all of it.  I'm not sure which was the best choice, probably the S1-2 approach but with more character work.  To do that, I'd think you will have to slow the pace down.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

lol - Personally, I think Sliders should leave your head spinning a little; and I feel like that’s what happened in season one.  Not only does it add to the “feel” of being lost and uncertain (placing us in the Sliders shoes), but it makes the episodes very re-watchable as you notice more new things on multiple viewings.

There were many things in the Declassified script that people probably didn’t catch on the first go around because they didn’t know where the story was going yet. Probably my favorite was the gameshow world newspaper headline “Countries Face Off on International Feud”.  The idea was that the United Nations on that world was set up as a game of Family Feud. Diplomats from disputing countries would guess the most popular answers concerning issues from their countries based off survey polls; and whichever country best knew the people’s wishes would be judged as winning the dispute.  In other words, does your opponent know your people better than you do?

But the pacing of the stories is also based on a predictive quality of where our society is heading. If you look at what children are watching now, what used to be a 22 minute cartoon has been cut in half down to 11 minutes.  Look at companies like Quibi whose business model is reducing stories into bite size bits.  And I would note too that content (including cartoons) is becoming more sophisticated. 

I was surprised that the final season of Steven Universe focused entirely on Steven having post traumatic stress disorder because saving the universe as a child and facing death (including his own) had left him scarred; and when the day was finally won with peace reigning, Steven didn’t know what to do with himself and he started having a true nervous breakdown.  I mean, this is a popular kid’s show putting this out there.

This is what the young are being trained to enjoy - a bombardment of entertainment that keeps their neurons firing and makes them think. And as the years continue and these people get older, you’re likely to see these compressed models used more and more because they’ll be running the world.  Sliders at its start was once again well ahead of its time.

I also look at something Greg Berlanti said.  Many were amazed at how quickly he progressed storylines on shows like Flash.  Ideas that used to last years (like hiding your secret identity from your love interest) were instead dealt with in the first year.  Berlanti said this was based on a regret he had from Eli Stone.  With that series, Berlanti had many ideas the show was building to, and then it was cancelled before he could get there.  Because of that, Berlanti treated the CW shows (especially Flash) as though each season was the only one he was going to get; so everything they had in mind was put out there and not held back.

But that’s where I’m coming from, and I wouldn’t change it.  I think Music Video world and the serial killer idea would fit well together; but I wouldn’t add anything beyond that.  And really, the budget would probably just come down to extras and props; and even that could be cheated a little.  Imagine that the Sliders land in the “Green District” where all buildings, lamp posts, benches, etc are painted the same lime green.  It’s a ready made green screen stage in public where steamers could insert all sorts of cgi that’s only visible to their viewers and not in real life.

The idea came to me recently from watching ELeague Super Punch on TBS.  it’s a hit or miss show, but they recently did an interview with a guy using the handle TheSushiDragon. He produces a variety show on Twitch where he sometimes uses a cyber punk style harness with programmed hot keys that allows his videos to play like he’s in a video game as long as he’s in a green screen area. … ns-twitch/

But yeah, I just see so much you can cram into stories.  I have a list of ideas on paper and in my head that I can pull from, and I’m constantly seeing new things as society evolves or I’m introduced to some piece of history I didn’t previously appreciate.  smile

Re: Sliders: Declassified

We are living in a Sliders episode right now. … ing-2020-5 … ing-2020-5

28 (edited by Slide Override 2020-05-19 12:42:40)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

How attached are you to the 'venus fly-trap' concept? I think with some minor tweaks it could be turned into a really touching and emotional episode - but that may be the complete opposite direction that you are after for this, lol. I'm not an expert on the technology itself, but there seem to be too many hurdles for the phone to actually work in practice. Spit-balling, as I have done zero research, but it appears that for a phone to work on another world, the carrier and service provider would need to be the same, the unique phone / chip ID would have to not be in use, and the contract would have to be continually paid.

The idea I had while reading your outline proposal was to frame the set up a little simpler. Reese simply connects his phone to Wifi on another world. He suddenly gets a ton of notifications from his social media page from his dead / disappeared sister. Every year, on the day of his disappearance, she posts a message on his wall, hoping that he is safe and ok, as on this world he was the one who had disappeared. She also shares several facebook memories on the day that they occur every year with the two of them. When Reese realises that this is a chance to see and reconnect with the sister that he lost, he tracks her down.

That leads into the usual Sliders scenario of 'will he or won't he?' in regards to telling her the truth that he is not her Reese. So I wouldn't have her having seen any other Sliders or Alt Reeses in this. It is a tearful reunion as she welcomes him with open arms, just accepting that he was back in her life with very few questions despite her burning need to know what happened to him all these years. But with the Sliders twist, as they share personal memories and moments, Reese's sister begins to realise that things aren't quite matching up. She begins to wonder if he was injured, or had an accident in some way, but is afraid to pry to deeply in case it triggers something. She desperately doesn't want this moment to end.

But as the timer counts down, that terrible guilt gnaws at Reese that he can't just skip out of her life after this. Not like this.

The final scene would be a classic Sliders zinger. It could be a new facebook status update on Reese's page, with his sister posting a simple smiley face - leaving it up to the audience to wonder whether she had been told the truth and eagerly awaits her own Reese returning some day, or whether he didn't tell her but left - leaving her just happy to know that her brother is alive and well - giving her some peace.

Again, probably the complete opposite direction you were going for that, but that was just what I thought whilst reading your outline.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Nothing would be off the table; this is really just for fun anyway. smile

That’s a good idea concerning social media, but still faces some quibbles with two Reese’s having the same username / email address and same password.  Anything would require some suspension of disbelief, but yours may be a smaller gap to cross.

And the serial killer thing was conceived as a Quinn story, so it was never intended for this; I just saw some similarities in concept.  My instinct with regard to a Reese story is that a serial killer revelation at the end could ruin the “journey” goal of a story.  That revelation would essentially take you back to where you found Reese (over-cautious; pessimistic; etc); so it would make for running around in circles instead of moving forward.

Re: Sliders: Declassified … ray-shower

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Ok ... that's pretty cool.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Another idea:

I’ve been seeing some of the conspiracy theories lately about how a COVID vaccine will secretly put a tracking device in people or worse.  Those conspiracies focus on the Quantum Dot idea: … nated-kids

Of course, Quantum Dots by design are a crystalline “ink” that is only visible under a special light filter; and they are researching the potential to store information on these crystals (much like the Sliders season five episode “The Great Work”).  Under both concepts, there is no mechanism that can send or receive signals.

But one conspiracy in particular caught my eye for a Sliders idea; so put on your tin foil hat for a second, and let’s take a tumble down the rabbit hole.

There is a belief by some that a vaccine will implant a mechanism that acts like a signal carrier for 5G.  In effect, it would turn the human body and it’s electrical impulses into a cell tower creating a near zero cost human infrastructure for expanding the ability to sell high speed broadband service in less populated areas.  Of course, the conspiracy concern is that having that signal in your body will scramble your soul and prevent you from going to the afterlife.  My concern would be the more obvious one - sounds like a cancer generator to me if it were to be real.

Now let’s look at this from a Sliders perspective.  Our group lands on a world and discovers that the timer read-outs are scrambled.  As they investigate, they discover this world has willingly went down the human cell tower route; and like cigarettes, the population doesn’t really care about the side effects because they’re addicted to the smooth, fast paced, cool life that the high-speed service offers.  Even on our world, people knew cigarettes were bad for them long before the lawsuit was won; people just didn’t care.  We’re still that way with trans fats and many other things too.

But the Sliders have a dilemma on cell tower world.  With all ability to buy or sell also tied to the injected transmitter,  they either must try to undertake a journey with no resources to a rural, secluded area far away from any people and timer interference; or they have to give in and accept the injection knowing that they will then become a signal emitter unable to be near the timer and leave this world.

The twist of the story would relate to something we don’t think about much - how often do the Sliders willingly let someone else hold the timer?   You see, that’s the other part of the conspiracy theory I didn’t mention - these same people believe social distancing is meant as training because when people stand too close together, the human cell tower signal doesn’t work.  So after all the Sliders’ suffering and near starvation during a run from civilization, the solution to the Sliders problem was to just let someone from that world hold the timer.  The signal would stop working and the timer systems would no longer be jammed.

It could be an interesting way to look at how we judge other people’s decisions and how we sometimes run from them because we don’t understand their point of view; but in the end, we’re all still human beings with the same virtues and vices no matter what form they take.

My regret is that there are possible similarities to the season five episode “New Gods for Old”, but I think there are more than enough substantial differences.  The key would be to look at the comparisons to people’s attitudes on things like cigarettes and how our culture was built around them for so long (especially in the 50’s and 60’s).

Re: Sliders: Declassified

That's actually not a bad way of spinning that hilarious Bill Gates conspiracy.  Frankly the more you explained it, the more crazy it sounded.  Would definitely fit right in on Sliders.  As for similarities, trust me, nobody remembers plots from Season 5!

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Grizzlor wrote:

That's actually not a bad way of spinning that hilarious Bill Gates conspiracy.  Frankly the more you explained it, the more crazy it sounded.  Would definitely fit right in on Sliders.  As for similarities, trust me, nobody remembers plots from Season 5!

I tried to forget, Grizzlor. There was a really dark period in 2005 where I would get upset any time I was in a restaurant and saw sliders on the menu, and on one of these days, there were sliders at the restaurant, I got my foot stuck in a sliding door, I was cleaning out my house and found a Motorola phone, and then I tried to escape into DOCTOR WHO with a novel called "The Stealer of Dreams," by Steve Lyons where the Doctor, Captain Jack and Rose land on a parallel Earth -- I mean, an Earth colony -- where they realize that fiction doesn't exist.

There are only news periodicals and history and science and engineering books. There are only documentaries and news shows on TV. People who write fiction, sing, draw or create are arrested, imprisoned, and either treated psychiatrically or lobotomized. The sliders don't understand how this can be and begin to investigate by splitting up. I mean -- the Doctor and friends split up.

The Doctor/Quinn and the Professor convince a police officer to let them accompany her on a ridealong where she arrests numerous people who are in schizophrenic rages and have become violent and dangerous. Wade/Rose meets a renegade fiction writer. Captain Jack/Rembrandt tries to locate the local resistance.

Captain Jack/Rembrandt is arrested for being an artist, institutionalized and about to be lobotomized. Wade/Rose begins to experience the same hallucinatory delusions that the Doctor/Quinn and Arturo have observed in the criminals being rounded up. Rembrandt barely escapes the lobotomy and the sliders regroup in the asylum lab and realize: the population is suffering electromagnetic radiation from a revolutionary new power system that disrupts the human mind and prevents vulnerable brains from distinguishing between fiction and reality. (There's also some stuff about planetary micro-organisms of energy that are better suited to a DOCTOR WHO story than a SLIDERS story.)

The Doctor/Quinn and Arturo devise a cure and heal the population. Months later, the Doctor and friends/the sliders return to see that this world is once again beginning to create and dream and hope for the future. I read this novel and I wept for SLIDERS and the misbegotten hackwork of script editing that was "Map of the Mind."

Since then, I occasionally re-read "The Stealer of Dreams" but implant the sliders into it and it always seemed right -- until now. Reading DECLASSIFIED made me realize -- it's not really a very SLIDERS-esque attitude to have technology or a new discovery or alien lifeforms being the cause of society's problems. It would be more in tune with SLIDERS' original vision to have fiction become made illegal based on some cataclysmic event to our culture -- perhaps Orson Welles' accidental hoax in convincing listeners that Earth was being invaded by Martians led to hyper-restrictive censorship. But then how would you have the sliders enter, resolve the situation and leave? I suppose it wouldn't be a very SLIDERS-esque attitude to have everyone madly hallucinating until Arturo magics up a convenient cure.

Golly. I don't know how to write SLIDERS. This is a painful admission after writing nine SLIDERS scripts. Whoops.

(By that, I mean I don't know how to write Temporal Flux/Tracy Torme style SLIDERS scripts. I can write Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo scripts.)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Imagine sliding into a world where everyone is wearing one of these:

Might not have to imagine it if it catches on.

But even a simple sight gag can lead into a Sliders idea.  Again, I would look at how technology has changed over the past 20 years - Face ID.  Sliders often explored stories where our characters are mistaken for their doubles, but what if technology also didn’t know the difference?  A Slider could have seamless entry into their double’s life; and if Face ID is extremely pervasive in a society, the Slider may be thrown into their double’s life whether they want it or it.

The original series tended to explore one or two double interactions at a time; but the Face ID idea presents an opportunity to explore all of our characters’ doubles simultaneously.  What happens when four people who don’t know each other are thrown into an adventure together?  This one could flip the script - a story focused on the doubles who get pushed together and, in an attempt to get their lives back, must solve the mystery of what happened to our Sliders.  A reverse engineered Sliders story.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

One thing we haven’t looked at yet - the throw-away world.  Another of my favorite things with Sliders was spending a minute or two on some world at the start or the end of an episode - usually just enough for one good joke.  Imagine this one from Arturo’s worst nightmares - the Sliders are on a world where everyone looks like a mime.

There’s only a few minutes on this world, but Alli spots an ice cream stand and needs a treat to make this day better.  Reese is happily on board with the idea, and Bennish is off in the distance away from the group. Gibbs isn’t interested in ice cream; he says they don’t have enough time.

Alli and Reese have ordered and are waiting for their ice cream to be scooped when Gibbs leans over to Alli.

Gibbs - “Have you wondered why everyone looks like a mime?”

Alli shrugs.  It’s one of the least weird things she’s seen this week.

Gibbs - “Back in the 1700’s, people wore white make-up and wigs to cover up a lot of things.  Hair loss.  Rashes.  Scars from skin conditions.”

Alli and Reese have their ice cream and are excitedly about to take their first taste as Gibbs finishes.

Gibbs - “All caused by the symptoms they had from untreatable syphilis.”

Alli and Reese stop and slowly turn their heads to look at Gibbs.

Gibbs - “I was saying we don’t have enough time to figure it out.”

The mime-faced clerk reaches out to hand Alli her change, and she refuses with a disgusted “you keep it” gesture.  Reese is looking around for a garbage can when Bennish finally walks up and snatches the ice cream cone from Reese’s hand and takes a big lick with a smile.  Reese looks on in horror knowing the information Bennish does not.  Gibbs lets out a big laugh.

https://www.danceshistoricalmiscellany. … h-century/ … dered-wigs

Re: Sliders: Declassified

The new “rules” for Hollywood scripts: … it-1297752

It’s kind of funny that Declassified was already written by these standards in many ways (either because of expected budget or just stylistic effect such as with the punches).

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I wonder if TV would have to have body double workers. For THE FLASH, maybe you'd hire a number of body doubles for Grant Gustin and Candice Patton who agree to social distancing and constant testing for the duration of the filming block. They perform any physical intimacy for filming and then deepfake technology is used to replace their faces with the likeness of the lead actors.

Effects are very much on the rise in TV and not just for science fiction and fantasy dramas. I recently saw a visual effects reel for PARKS AND RECREATION, a half-hour sitcom about people working in government. … l_effects/

WHY would this show need special effects, you might ask? Isn't it an office drama? The effects reel shows that most of the crowd scenes were created via computer effects, a more advanced effect of the doubling/editing used in "A Current Affair" for the president's press conference. Much of the background of the City Hall building interiors were apparently a green sheet with a lot of foot traffic and surroundings put in later.

What looked like expensive location filming in Washington, DC and various national parks and an aquarium were apparently shots with painstakingly recomposited backgrounds. All the outdoor storm conditions on camera were computer additions to shots filmed on indoor stages. Even when there was location, effects added all the birds and assorted wildlife in post. And no one really drives a car on TV these days.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Well in my S5 rewatch they did go a lot further than in prior seasons to hit on the "throw away worlds" for laughs.  Didn't get any cheaper budget wise than that year. 

As for looking into doubles, back then it was difficult to film that way, for the actors and crew.  I'm not sure if technology has proceeded enough by this point?  I guess not using stand ins would help in the current COVID-19 era.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

This is a deepfake of Obama swearing. The technology is there if they want to have a rotating team of self-isolating body doubles perform the motions so that Grant Gustin and Candice Patton can kiss on FLASH. There are other examples I’ve read about where celebrity faces are grafted onto the bodies of adult performers, but I can’t give you examples because I don’t watch porn. I’m not against it, I just feel they don’t make it for me.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Here's another question that may or may not belong in this thread:

Should TV productions be producing episodes where characters get in physical fights, shake hands, sit in close proximity together, eat in restaurants and take part in large crowd scenes? Because any TV show that does this is suggesting that it exists in a world where COVID-19 doesn't exist and that is simply not the case. I don't know if COVID-19 hit the Arrowverse, but it definitely hit the worlds of BROOKLYN NINE NINE and PARKS AND RECREATION and probably the world of Lifetime's YOU and it could be grossly irresponsible to have characters acting like viral transmission's no longer a concern.

I used to go to restaurants with my favourite actresses; now we're eating dinner over Zoom. I used to clock in at a busy bullpen; now I'm working from home. Is it right to show Team Flash heading down to Jitters or Team Supergirl hosting game night and running around a bustling bullpen in Catco or a foot-traffic heavy command centre at the DEO?

A lot of SLIDERS revival ideas were often about rewinding the clock back to 1996 and I always thought that was wrong for SLIDERS. SLIDERS should addressing today's world, not the 90s. SLIDERS should never be a period piece and all of these TV shows may be perpetuating the world of 2019 which is recognizably not 2020.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I would take an opposing viewpoint and note what attracts many to entertainment - escapism.  A brief opportunity to become immersed in the fantasy of a life you would like to have - such as being wealthy or having super powers or for some just having funny friends.  Under that thought, I think many would really enjoy seeing the life that they haven’t been allowed to have for months and months.

It’s a bit odd to think of a depiction of once normal life as escapism, but that’s where we are now.

To pull out an archaic example that could be useful in an alternate reality idea - why was it once hilarious to throw a pie in someone’s face?  It was a very visual act of humiliation most often used as a protest to authority or a spite on the wealthy.  No one could commit such an act in real life, but it certainly was funny to see that humiliation fantasy lived out in a way that wasn’t “harmful”.

Starting in the vaudeville and silent movie era at the turn of the 20th century, the pie slinging fell out of favor in the 1920’s because people were prospering.  But as the Great Depression took hold leading through World War II, the practice returned to popularity for its reward of venting frustration.  As the decades wore on, the meaning of the “pie to the face” began to fade; and ultimately you don’t see it much today because it’s not clear for many why that’s even funny.

But that’s a look at how culture can change, and how we’ll change through the course of this virus.  Some changes will stick and some won’t.  Handshakes I see going away because few will probably miss the practice; but many other aspects of pre-COVID life are likely things people would like to see again.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Another thing to mention is how the attitudes of television are about to change due to recent protests erupting from George Floyd’s death.  There is no one really talking about how television will change, but we’ve been down a similar road before.  For example, “The High Chaparral”: … chaparral/

What killed the series? Assassinations.

Kent believes the “death of Robert Kennedy changed the attitude of television. They didn’t want to see people get killed, and that hurt us terribly.”

For what had been a life-and-death action series, adopting a “no-kill” policy became a credibility nightmare. Jackie Fuller, Cristal’s stunt double, recalls, “You’d have an Indian attack. A stunt man could act like he was shot, fall off the horse, but then you had to show him getting up and running off-screen.”

Soon, viewers were running away as well. The final episode, “A Man to Match the Land,” aired on March 12, 1971.

And that “no kill” policy stayed in place for a long time (probably even influencing the infamous A-Team shoot outs in the early 80’s).

With today’s climate, police are now being targeted on television.  COPS and Live PD are cancelled.  Even Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol hasn’t escaped notice.  It’s surely going to affect the many scripted law enforcement shows too; and some (if not most) could even face the same fate as The High Chaparral.  Westerns (like modern law enforcement shows) were very popular before attitudes changed after the real life assassinations.  Bonanza was cancelled in 1973.  Gunsmoke cancelled in 1975.

So why does this matter?  If law enforcement content is out of favor, then what replaces it?  A good opportunity for science fiction like Sliders to make a come back.  After all, Sliders often depicted law enforcement as the buffoon or villain; and that unfortunately seems to be where Hollywood attitudes are shifting now.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

The future of kissing and sex scenes on tv: dolls and trick editing. … dolls.html

Re: Sliders: Declassified

ireactions wrote:

The future of kissing and sex scenes on tv: dolls and trick editing. … dolls.html

This could make for some hilarious television!  From a parallel reality standpoint, it could also be a fun piece of story window dressing as the Sliders wonder why people are making out with mannequins on tv shows.

Another strange occurrence caused by the new reality of the pandemic - coins.  I had wondered why I was suddenly getting shiny, new coins from all of my area businesses. … -shortage/

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Are they still using physical currency in America?

In 2017, I was at a coffee shop with my niece and attempted to pay for the two coffees with bills and three pennies. The cashier SHOVED the three copper coins back at me. "Pennies have been out of circulation for three years!" she exclaimed at me. "Three years!" My niece laughed at me. I later threw the two of the pennies at a man in a movie theatre who was texting in the middle of the film, hitting him once in the back of the head and once in the neck. The kid confiscated the third one before I could throw it.


I've thought about TV as escapism and I understand that, but personally, it's not what I watch TV to find. I watch TV for inspiration and aspiration. To me, BROOKLYN NINE NINE is a half-hour sitcom about goofy police detectives and represents what policing should be. Never has BROOKLYN NINE NINE been declared more out of style by the viewing public. Even the actors are ashamed to be associated with police; they have been pooling their salaries to bail out protesters as an apology for making small fortunes playing the most disliked professional class in America.

This is a time when police are viewed as violent, delusional thugs. They think their public image shouldn't suffer from being caught on video as they randomly spraying pedestrians and front porches with tear gas and rubber bullets. They think they can wash it all away with a speech where a police officer rants that their violent savagery recorded on camera shouldn't be judged for the violent savagery reflected on camera.

There's been a lot of fan chatter that Season 8 of BROOKLYN NINE NINE should, without explanation, show the cast now working at a post office or a hospital or a newspaper or a high school. That the charm of the characters doesn't require that they be police officers because the cast of BROOKLYN NINE NINE shouldn't be cops. That people as good as Jake, Amy, Terry, Boyle, Holt, Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo would never be cops.

I've been watching BROOKLYN NINE NINE for years and I have never seen such lovable cops in a show with such suspicion, disdain, alarm, distaste and frustration with the institution of police. Every police officer outside the regular cast is generally portrayed as corrupt. Prone to abusing their power for political or financial gain. In league with various criminals. Or at best too inept to do any serious harm.

On BROOKLYN NINE NINE, cops who aren't in the Nine Nine are like the ones we're seeing all over social media these days. The black Sergeant Terry is arrested by a non-Nine Nine cop for walking down the street outside his house. Captain Raymond Holt is constantly suffering for being black and gay. Essentially, the Nine Nine is Temporal Flux in a world of David Peckinpahs.

The Nine Nine precinct is perpetually at odds with the rest of the New York Police Department. In Season 6, the Nine Nine declares war on the NYPD. Throughout all this, the cast of the Nine Nine insist on being the best people they can be and being the best crimefighters they can be even when the police in the city around them are not.

There's a lot of talk about BROOKLYN NINE NINE changing itself in Season 8 to address how TV no longer wants to glamourize police. But BROOKLYN NINE NINE has never offered an escape into a world where all police are great; it was a journey into one precinct where these dysfunctional people were great at their police jobs and surrounded by the police we see today on YouTube and Twitter as filmed by bystanders. So my hope is that BROOKLYN NINE NINE simply keeps doing what it's doing.

I want to see the cast of BROOKLYN NINE NINE continue working at being funny and good even as they have to practice social distancing and wear masks. I want the cast facing down an absence of protective equipment and facing down their union leader whom they hold in contempt. I want to the Nine Nine struggle with cops now being loathed and despised when the Nine Nine represent the best of what police can be and make the audience laugh in the face of it all.

I don't want BROOKLYN NINE NINE to offer an escape from reality. I want BROOKLYN NINE NINE to keep facing down reality, showing what police are but also what they *should* be and what policing should aspire to become.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

TemporalFlux wrote:

Another strange occurrence caused by the new reality of the pandemic - coins.  I had wondered why I was suddenly getting shiny, new coins from all of my area businesses. … -shortage/

Ha ha ha!  I've had the same $200 bucks in my wallet since March.  Haven't gone to a gas station (where I normally use cash) either.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I have this bag of pennies I've been longing to imbed into the back of a theatre texter's neck.

Why do you carry $200 cash? Isn't that a bit much to have as you wander the streets? Do you use it to bribe informants to find celebrities to photograph? Did Allison Mack invite you to join her cult?

Re: Sliders: Declassified

ireactions wrote:

I have this bag of pennies I've been longing to imbed into the back of a theatre texter's neck.

Why do you carry $200 cash? Isn't that a bit much to have as you wander the streets? Do you use it to bribe informants to find celebrities to photograph? Did Allison Mack invite you to join her cult?

son I keep it all in the floorboards, can't have my double sliding in and emptying my ATM account!

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Saw this earlier - “America in an anger incubator”: … 376110.php

It reminded me of another old idea - Rage World.  It would have played off the legends of Jessica Savitch and her habits of losing her cool:

Savitch’s career ended in an on-air display where she appeared to be drugged; speculation being that it was an attempt to address her issues with medication.  Shortly after her final broadcast, she died in a car crash.

But what if Savitch never sought help and never took the medication?  It could have led to an “I’m mad as hell” moment similar to the movie “Network” which would morph into a media landscape designed to stoke anger for ratings.  We live in that world now to a large extent, but giving an over the top example could shine a little light on our current world and how we are manipulated by media.

So how could this work into a Declassified story?  Well, we have Bennish who has a great capacity to make people angry.  A talent agent observes a skirmish Bennish starts with the on-edge pedestrians of this world, and the agent offers to make Bennish a star.  As they walk away, a tv in a window displays a show coming back from its commercial break.  It’s Matt Laurer on the Today Show.

Matt clearly has a black eye, and he’s meekly looking at the camera trying to introduce a story.  Then Savannah Guthrie leans over and starts screaming at him about something he said leading to her jumping on him and beating him with her fists.  Off to the side Al Roker is laughing and cheering her on.  That’s an example that would never be filmed (nobody’s giving Laurer a job doing anything), but this is what Bennish is walking into without realizing.

So what do the Sliders do?  Do they try to save Bennish?  Do they sit back and enjoy the show?  Does Bennish learn anything from this adventure?  Of course, the other Sliders would need their own plot as well to fill out the story; but it’s all a seed of an idea to explore anger and how it can too easily consume and control people especially if leaders are egging it on.  Perhaps a look at where we’re headed if we continue down our current path; and an opportunity to think about if that’s the people we want to be.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Interesting, you know, this concept leads me to wonder if Sliders writers had something of an unwritten rule that the group always arrives on these weirdo worlds AFTER they've been hit by cataclysm or been morphed solidly into some type of fascist society.  They rarely landed in worlds for very long which were quite frankly lunatic-villes.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Saw this article recently: … 0-1023376/

Buried in the Green New Deal is a geo-engineering initiative to fight climate change.  Geo-engineering has been debated for some time now; and it amounts to quick fixes for our climate problems while, I assume, we work on the underlying cause of climate change.  Basically, geo-engineering buys you time.

Of the various ideas, Solar Engineering of some sort is usually the go to idea.  In modern thought, that equates to filling the air with reflective particles to simulate the cooling effect caused by ash from a massive volcanic eruption.  So, we use air pollution to fight the effects of air pollution.

Another idea for Solar Engineering?  The infamous space mirror:

An that’s what brings us to our Declassified idea today.  I would title it “Eclipse”.

What if Sputnik failed?  Eisenhower would have never created NASA.  Without the existing space program and the Cold War space race, Kennedy would have never made his inspirational speech announcing an attempt to shoot for the moon.  With the wars and civil unrest and economic crises that followed after Kennedy - well, did the space program happen only because it was running in the background and other presidents didn’t have to think about it?  Would other countries pass us up as we were distracted?

Imagine a world that recognized the climate crisis and decided to use the “fix” to crush an unprepared United States at the same time.  A giant space mirror in geosynchronous orbit over the United States - plunging it into permanent darkness.  America eclipsed in progress and in fact.

I see the episode as something that plays with the idea of light.  In complete darkness, light is the attractor - it draws you in and draws others to you.  The vortex is an enormous source of light; and the Sliders entry to this reality is like a signal flare.

This one would not be about changing the world; it would be a pure survival story.  ireactions once mentioned how Sliders could be a different genre each week if it wanted, and he was right.  This episode would be a suspense thriller with a touch of horror.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Hmm, you're kind of mixing themes from Fever (no penicillin), The Exodus (allowing a space phenomenon to destroy the enemy), very cool.  That in and of itself was something we saw a lot on 60s and 70s science fiction shows, where the cast were often trying to stop global cataclysm.  Sliders basically gave up on that after Torme departed, where they seemed only focused on a micro-micro-microcosm of the given societal issue of the day.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

How can you go sideways with culture to make a Sliders backdrop?  The real world is always dropping ideas. … index.html

As you see in the article, this change isn’t new; it actually happened in the background years ago when most people weren’t paying attention.

Kodak Film is now Kodak Pharmaceutical.  Who would have thought that in 1995?

What other companies could you use this kind of strange twist to create a comical situation?  Well, what if an all-in commitment to the 1980’s New Coke destroyed the company making it necessary to refit into a cleaning product company? … th-coke/2/

Imagine one of the Sliders picking up a Coke can without examining it closely and taking a drink?  On that world, people might think they were drinking cleaning chemicals!  As concerned citizens rush the Slider off for emergency medical treatment, it could be a good opportunity to explore an alternate history health care system casting a light on how ridiculous it can become.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

So you slide into San Francisco, and find people sitting inside bubbles: … 464405.php

Of course, a pandemic is a logical conclusion for such a thought, but what if it’s something else?  What if the idea were a way to examine the more metaphorical idea of “living in a bubble”?

We’re largely there now, and all sides are guilty of it.  Most surround themselves with only people who agree with them; they only watch and read news they agree with; some even only frequent establishments that will be populated by people who think like they do.

“Bubble world” would take segregation to its extreme.  Segregation of thought.  Segregation of ideas.  And the Sliders would fall into hot water for making the mistake of simply talking to somebody.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I have a question for you, TF. How would you shape your ideas into a story for the sliders (Alli, Reese, Gibbs, Bennish or Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo)? What is the introduction, situation and climax for the characters? I ask you this because this is a part of the SLIDERS code that I personally cannot crack even when a visionary like Nigel Mitchell was holding my hand. When writing my own SLIDERS stories, I had a very clear vision for who I wanted Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo to be in 2015 and what I wanted sliding to be -- but I did not have any gift for conceiving interesting parallel worlds.

Nigel worked with me, coming up with alt-histories, backstories, little details of visual or societal data -- but I don't think I used it well. Ultimately, my SLIDERS stories featured the character interactions I wanted and Nigel's parallel worlds were a backdrop or Season 3 Diggs-type scenes where someone explains what the world is in a monologue or a conversation. And it was adequate -- but it wasn't the sliders doing what SLIDERS should have them do and what you and Nigel would have them do: get caught up in the culture and workings of an alternate history, encounter inversions of our own struggles, and come out the other side with renewed perspective and even enlightenment.

How do you tell a story with your alt-history concepts? What would the beginning, middle and end of these stories be?

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Probably the bedrock part of my process is looking for a puzzle to solve - how do I explain something and make it logically work?  You’ve given that challenge here, so here we go.  smile

My first personal “rule” on a Sliders story is “don’t change the world”.  I personally didn’t like the idea that the Sliders would come in and radically change human history.  It works in some of instances (like “Last Days”), and it can even work on a smaller scale (like “Weaker Sex” where Arturo could be running for a smaller office like Mayor or City Councilman).  But keep the stories small and personal.  Local level.

My second “rule” is that the Sliders should be the stars of their own story.  Looking at especially the later years, too often the Sliders would land on a world and help random person X with random problem Y.  The Sliders would be reduced to facilitators of some stranger’s story arc.  I suppose that too can work occasionally, but I don’t like it at all for a show such as Sliders.

Sliders is a survival show.  Though often ridiculous and regularly frustrating, Sliders is the story of four people trying to simply hang on until they can make it home.

Those rules in place, I then ask a question - “what is reality?”

There is no set definition of reality for anyone; and even in an individual’s life, the meaning shifts based on the circumstances.  Thinking on that question today, the first thing that came to mind was a strange phenomenon I’ve experienced and is talked of in movies.  When we go on vacation to an exotic locale surrounded by strangers, we become the person we want to be instead of the person we are.  It’s temporary - you change back as soon as you go home; but while on that trip, you are taking a vacation from yourself.

Now with a rough, basic premise, let’s look at the basket of alternate history ideas (something I’m constantly building and have been posting here).  For this idea, we’ll use the most recent I posted - “Bubble World” (where people are segregated based on how they think and feel).

So how can this fit together?  The Sliders land on “Bubble World” noting they are going to be stuck here for weeks, and one of them (probably Bennish) says something pretty tame that deeply offends the people they are talking to.  A heated argument starts; people are running for help; authorities arrive, and before we can grasp what’s happening in the chaos, Alli is injected with something by the authorities and blacks out.

Alli wakes up in a “re-education” center.  Alli is to be taught the “correct” way to act so that she can re-enter society as a productive person.  This training can also be our vehicle to exploring the history of this world. I would recommend a mix of various ideologies as the “correct” idea so that you can hold as many viewers as possible.  We’re often not as far apart as we think.

As part of the training, Alli is put into something like a therapy group; and she is surprised and irritated to find that she has been reunited with Bennish.  In talking, Bennish shares some of his back story; and the longer the episode goes, we begin to notice that Bennish is a better person.  Alli tries a few times to escape; but on one attempt, Bennish stops her.  He has come to believe this isn’t so bad.  He’s a better person, and he likes it.  Seeing this, Alli is starting to believe it too.

Time passes, and Alli starts to change.  She’s calmer.  Happier.  The time comes to be released, and Bennish offers for Alli to come live with him.  She’s a bit taken by how nice their new home is, and it was already furnished; but then she notices something on the desk.  An ID card for Conrad Bennish.  No Junior.  The Bennish she has come to know is the native version of that world - an assistant counselor at the facility she was placed in.  She hadn’t noticed because they were never placed in a “cell” together; they always sat in a ring of chairs where everyone appeared equal; she always found him already in the recreation areas before she got there and never gave it much thought.

So the question it comes down to.  The new person that Alli has become - is this the person she wants to be, or will she revert to her old self now that the vacation is over and it’s time to go home?

I would need to think a little more on a B plot to give Reese and Gibbs something to do (most likely focused on them trying to save Alli but finding only our Bennish instead), but we have our story foundation now.  I did not intend it to be when we started, but this turned into a kind of sideways look at “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”.

Of course, the above is not a completed story - it’s the product of maybe an hour’s thought in an attempt to solve the puzzle you presented.  But it has potential.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

This is a really good tutorial in how to write SLIDERS stories. The twist with Bennish is great. I will try to apply it later in theory as a post on this forum.

I mildly disagree with some of TF's views on SLIDERS stories, but given my inability to write them without story ideas from Nigel Mitchell, Tracy Torme and Transmodiar, I'm not sure anyone should agree with me. I would personally be intrigued by a SLIDERS reboot where Quinn and Wade are teenagers. TF astutely says this is redundant as teenagers already feel like the world's rules exist to annoy them and older adults would have a more meaningful reaction to being put off by a parallel Earth. Personally, I think teenagers being predisposed to irritation towards any and all social and societal conventions is precisely why it's a great idea.

I don't really disagree with TF saying he prefers stories where the sliders *don't* save the world and merely survive it. I would say that I like them when they're done well, but it is *very* difficult to write convincing stories where four strangers in a strange land with no resources can somehow topple the dominant regime and bring the local revolution to victory. This is probably why the first episode of SLIDERS was scripted to have the sliders succeed in rescuing Commander Wade Welles of the Revolution but revised to have them fail.

The sliders' success in defeating royalty in "Prince of Wails" required numerous contrivances: that the Professor looks like the municipal despot, that the sliders wander into an assassination plot against the prince, that they then just as conveniently blunder into the rebels and so on. It's incredibly uplifting and endearing, but by the time we get to "Prophets and Loss," the charming and amusing coincidences to have a few hapless civilians defeat a brutal regime has become a lazily executed formula rather than a plausible course of events.

I don't feel I made a mistake in my SLIDERS stories taking on the tropes of a superhero story with resurrection, restoration and the sliders saving the multiverse like it's DOCTOR WHO -- but I would say that I don't think anyone would want an ongoing series of SLIDERS stories to be anything like my deliberately limited mini-series. I've gotten enough fan mail to know that fans *definitely* wanted Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo restored and to know who they'd be in the present day -- but once that was done, they would have wanted ongoing SLIDERS stories like the ones TF comes up with.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

TemporalFlux wrote:

So you slide into San Francisco, and find people sitting inside bubbles: … 464405.php

Of course, a pandemic is a logical conclusion for such a thought, but what if it’s something else?  What if the idea were a way to examine the more metaphorical idea of “living in a bubble”?

We’re largely there now, and all sides are guilty of it.  Most surround themselves with only people who agree with them; they only watch and read news they agree with; some even only frequent establishments that will be populated by people who think like they do.

“Bubble world” would take segregation to its extreme.  Segregation of thought.  Segregation of ideas.  And the Sliders would fall into hot water for making the mistake of simply talking to somebody.

Kinda has a New Gods For Old feel to it.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Recently came across the Star Trek Next Gen episode “Pen Pals” during a BBC America marathon, and it reminded me of another old Sliders idea I had.  In the Next Gen episode, Data receives an audio transmission from a young girl, and it becomes a question of whether or not to save her world and violate the prime directive.  The only similarity to my Sliders idea is the blind exchange of messages, and it relates to the basketball used to demonstrate the timer return mechanism in the Sliders pilot movie.

What if a Quinn double in another reality conducted the same experiment but used a paper airplane.  And when the return mechanism kicked in, what returns is the paper airplane wadded up into a ball.  It now has blood on it.  Unfolding the paper is a scrawled message - it simply says “Help”.

Holding the vortex open with assist from the equipment, the Quinn double begins to exchange written messages with the unknown person on the other side.  This Quinn attempting to build up courage to jump through to obvious danger.  Fighting obstacles to keep the vortex powered so it will stay open.

Finally taking the leap of faith, the Quinn double finds an Arturo (our Arturo) on the other side trapped under the rubble of the collapsed basement.  My original idea featured a world where the Roswell crash happened in China; and after isolating themselves for decades, the Chinese suddenly emerged with advanced technology.   I think I would change that idea now to be more grounded.  I might use the idea of a sinkhole formed by fracking, and that would add drama in that the continued collapse of the ground is causing the fixed point of the vortex to become more and more out of reach.

To adapt this to Declassified, I would exchange Quinn for Reese.  The extra element would be that the Reese double would find our Reese trapped on the other side.  In the course of the adventure, the Reese double mentions how he doesn’t know if he could ever be as brave as our Reese, and it really takes Reese aback.  Has he changed that much and didn’t even notice?  With doubles being a mirror, it’s that interesting idea of a double acting as a sounding board and causing someone to see a person they no longer recognize in themself.