Topic: Annie Fish on Time Goes By (Podcast Episode)
Annie is as good in the podcast format as the essay format...
Annie is as good in the podcast format as the essay format...
Sliders: "As Time Goes By"
Annie Fish, author of the Think of a Roulette Wheel blog and an upcoming book about Sliders, joins to talk about this bizarre love story that stretches over three worlds and destroys at least one universe
I liked this podcast. I thought Annie made some strong criticisms of Quinn's character but also some unfair ones too. I feel they don't give Quinn or SLIDERS fans enough credit.
Annie is right that Quinn is shockingly callous when Daelin is holding her brother in her arms as he bleeds out and Quinn calls to her and says, "Come with us!" He's telling her to abandon her dying brother. Richard Compton's direction and Jerry O'Connell's performance salvage this potentially offensive moment: Daelin is traumatized and Jerry pitches his voice to be one of comfort and relief, offering safety from a violent and horrific situation, and Jerry delivers the line with gentleness rather than coercive force. But Annie is absolutely fair to judge it by the words alone.
Annie has another correct observation: Quinn is rude and stupid when he says Rembrandt couldn't possibly understand Quinn's sense of loss and dismisses Rembrandt's example of being in love with an older woman. Annie notes: Quinn is effectively saying that Rembrandt, being in his mid-40s, couldn't possibly know what it's like to be in his 20s and in love, an absurd chronological and characteristical impossibility. Rembrandt is saying that Rembrandt had to face a divide of an age difference and Quinn is facing the divide of dimensions.
However, at 20, I also nonsenscially believed that nobody who was a little older had ever been through what I'd been through.
The podcasters say that Quinn dooms an entire dimension at the end, flat-out ignoring Arturo's line: "Take us out of the equation, this world might have a chance." But to be fair: Arturo is speculating without evidence.
The part I find unfair: Annie repeatedly cheapens Quinn's interest in Daelin to "he wants to mack" with consistent emphasis and I think that is unfair. Quinn misses home, wants to reconnect with someone who represents a piece of his home. Quinn sought to help Daelin even when learning that she had a fiance and wouldn't be romantically involved with Quinn; he is reaching out to her because he cares about her and the episode works hard to earn that sincerity.
I find that in Annie's writing, Annie has over time shown a contempt and disdain for Quinn. A loathing revulsion. I would even go so far as to call it hatred. And I consider that well-earned due to Quinn's onscreen portrayal throughout Seasons 3 - 4 with the incompetence of the writers and actor, but I would say that this hatred is often applied to pre-S3 episodes.
Annie remarked that SLIDERS fans by and large are more concerned with the technological aspects of sliding than the characters. I... don't know if that's actually true.
Certainly, Temporal Flux has written a number of essays on the mechanics of sliding and Reddit has posters asking why the timer works (or doesn't) work the way it does (or doesn't). However, the primary topics of discussion tend to be:
(a) A potential revival with (some or all) of the original actors
(b) Interest in the actors
(c) Alt-world scenarios
TF has written far more on alt-worlds than he ever did on sliding technology. I would consider the interest in the actors to be a wholehearted love for the characters. Fans adore John Rhys-Davies' commanding vocal and physical presence and the beautiful comedic canvas that is Cleavant Derricks' face. Fans love the sweetly endearing, accessible personality that Sabrina Lloyd brings to the screen.
Fans love Jerry for repeatedly trying to bring the show back even if he hasn't succeeded. Trying counts.
However, despite this observation being questionable, Annie still speaks to a fundamental truth of SLIDERS' origins. Reading the original pilot script for SLIDERS and then the "Summer of Love", it is obvious that Tracy Torme does not care in the slightest how sliding actually works on a technological or scientific scale. Sliding is merely a plot device to justify alt-world scenarios of satirical humour and absurdist levels of alienation or danger.
The 'explanation' for the randomness of sliding and the timer being a timer is thin at best and begrudging at worst. In the cut scene where Quinn and the Professor explain to Rembrandt how the timer works now, there is a palpable sense of irritation at this expository obligation (that got cut).
Annie seems to say that this attitude is rare in fans. I don't believe that's true. SLIDERS fans often refer to Season 4 episodes as being uncomfortably reminiscent of STAR TREK in the need to exposit how sliding systems work and creating sliding technology variations like the Slidewave and the Slidecage
The STAR TREK brand identity is strongly identified with an interest in how fictional technology functions. STAR TREK sells books of blueprints and technical manuals for non-existent spaceships and devices. Season 4 of SLIDERS adopted some aspects of that brand identity, but it's pretty obvious from watching Season 1 that Tracy Torme would not be that interested in writing SLIDERS: THE TECHNICAL MANUAL and that's a huge part of why Season 4 felt like an odd variation to a lot of fans.
I would give SLIDERS fans a bit more credit there.
Good addition to the conversation, ireactions. I love the sliders discourse when its like this. It's also why i loved the podcast -- because it made me look at things different and I know with annie, it's not always gonna be perspective without interesting criticism.
regarding sliding tech, i myself have never cared about the details. I think writers only feel they have to construct a nuts and bolds realism around that stuff because there's a segment of the audience, more of the engineer or science or braniac mind who thinks through that portion of the world, and if they feel that it isn't always truthful, or contradicts itself, it undermines the entire world and not real.
Sliders audience to me seems less TNG and more quirky people interested in differences, interested in alternatives, and people who like the team / working-together themes of the show.