Re: Sliders: Declassified

Cool concept.  ST:TNG was very good at character-driven episodes that delved deep into the past of said character.  Sliders quite frankly was terrible at it.  Which is why reading your idea, my initial thought was, well that wouldn't work on Sliders!  But in reality it's because we just never got to see it.  I think Tracy really wanted to do it with Arturo's jealousy of Quinn but JRD fought it.  A deep dive like that is exactly what the premise for Counterpart, which I really enjoyed.  It's definitely something that a "modern" Sliders iteration would likely go into, especially since acting against green screens is so common now.  I have a feeling the production team back then weren't keen on doing it much, so the doubles were usually off screen.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Been catching up on my DVR lately, and I’ve been watching through “Cosmos: Possible Worlds”.  I love Cosmos for its examination of often under-appreciated history and how it shapes our future; but episode 13 took a chance to sum up themes of the previous episodes while exploring an idea we’ve discarded in the U.S. - The World’s Fair.

The episode titled “Seven Wonders of the New World” (available on Disney+) reminds us of the past importance of a World’s Fair as it pushed industries and government and civilians to produce show stoppers of future visions.  The 1939 New York World’s Fair showcased the first television set - presented in a clear cabinet to prove it was a video signal and not a film.  The 1964 New York World’s Fair presented a computer that would give you an important history fact for any date you input (amazing for an era where the only option for research was still a library).

But the Cosmos episode takes us to the future - the hypothetical 2039 New York World’s Fair.  The symbol of the Fair is an enormous monument - one of ten so far placed around the world.  An abstract tree of life constructed from compressed carbon sucked from the air in a new process as we clean out the excess carbon dioxide polluting our atmosphere.

Also featured at the fair - the Pavilion of Founders featuring holographic technology tied into A.I. as you can choose any figure in scientific history to be your guide on a tour of the Fair.  Also on the grounds is the Pavilion of the 4th Dimension - through use of VR and augmented reality allowing you to witness an immersive experience of important points in history like the moon landing.

Next to that, the Pavillion of Lost Worlds exploring mysteries of the past like the Indus Valley in the year 2500 B.C. - an ancient civilization that had somehow developed modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and dentistry.

Watching it made me regret that I’ll likely never see anything like those past World’s Fairs in the United States, but then I remembered that I have.  As a kid in 1982, my parents took me to Disney World, and we explored the newly launched EPCOT.  At the start, it was specifically designed to replicate a World’s Fair; and it showcased newly realized concepts like true robotics, hydroponics, alternative energies - all things that are really only hitting the mainstream 40 years later. In 1982, I was walking through the future, and it was something to see.

All of this led me to another Declassified idea - the Sliders land in a World’s Fair.  In a world where the Roman Empire was never sacked by the Visigoths, they skipped the Dark Ages.  A few hundred years of progress were not lost as a result, and this World’s Fair showcases some truly amazing things as a result - including a Pavillion of the 6th Dimension.   Sliding is controlled and presented as a tourist opportunity allowing patrons to stroll through the what if’s and might have beens.  It could be a way home.

But further exploring the idea of “home”, Gibbs runs into something unexpected. Gibbs was a veteran Slider long before Declassified started, and he bumps into members of his first group whom he was separated from years ago.  If the people you’re with are home, then he just found it again - or has his definition changed?

I think it could be an interesting and dynamic foundation for an episode with plenty for the characters to get involved in.  And it could be used to not only present alternate history but an alternate future too.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

It is amazing how history comes back around:

https://dnyuz.com/2020/12/02/the-discre … f-a-flask/

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Understanding why we think the way we do can uncover how to build an alternate history.

Remember the good old days?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-we-can … 1608958860

Re: Sliders: Declassified

This is probably one of my quirks, but I generally don't subscribe to the idea of the good old days. There were no good old days, just days where the problems were different. To look at SLIDERS: even the sacred first season was a time of episodes being aired out of order, scripts being at odds with actors (like Quinn being written as Tobey Maguire but played by Jerry O'Connell), bizarre efforts at ongoing arcs that were never going to make it to air intact in the 90s when people didn't watch every episode, and the inability to decide whether Quinn and Wade were a couple or not from week to week is frustrating.

A much-enjoyed period of DOCTOR WHO and THE X-FILES for me: it was when the properties existed as media tie-ins: novels and audioplays for DW and comic books for THE X-FILES. There was some brilliant material that really redefined the series on paper -- but it'd be foolish to see those eras as the way forward for both franchises when the material was addressing devoted fans as opposed to a general audience and would have only ever served a steadily diminishing number of devotees as the years passed. Was it fun? Yeah! Was it really a good situation for DW and TXF? No, the spin-off media was just keeping the brand on life support.

I have the same feeling about the STAR TREK novels by William Shatner which resurrected Captain Kirk in the 24th century and recreated the original trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the TNG era and had some wonderful stories: nine novels and a one book prequel -- but that really only played to diehard fans despite the merits of the writing, and it was best to get Kirk, Spock and McCoy back onscreen with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban in the roles.

Even my personal golden age of SLIDERS (REBORN, which was very personal, only 24 people really participated in it) was a time of intense stress: a nervous breakdown on a roadtrip that led to an eight month delay, a very painful developmental process of exhaustion, a desperate need for it all to be over at the 22 month mark, and then a fun final two months that left me missing it all emotionally but being intellectually aware that the end needed to be the end for my own sanity and well-being. I have a lot of fun listening to the podcast about SLIDERS and re-reading the delightful correspondence over the project and it never fails to cheer me up, but I have to be selective in not reliving the nervous collapse it induced and this was fan fiction.

Another minor issue with SLIDERS in its original conception: SLIDERS often took the view that mid-90s America was the 'correct' route for society and characters acted like any divergence from that was due to a moral or social failure -- at least in the Pilot and "Prince of Wails" and "Fever." There was a certain arrogance in that and to its credit, SLIDERS soon punctured that air of self-righteousness with "The Weaker Sex" and "Luck of the Draw" where those Earths have conquered famine and war even if their methods may be offputting and at odds with the sliders.

And this may or may not be why I am so awful at alternate history (all of my efforts just become alien planets) and social satire (all my efforts just become straight commentary), but that's okay. I'm a sitcom guy, not a sci-fi guy. We all have our strengths and weaknesses as creators.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Another old idea was meant as more of a reflective story.  Various types of serialized story telling, after an epic roller coaster arc, will take a pause and have an episode where everyone just goes to the beach to decompress and unpack their character development to each other.  This one is no day at the beach, but the same principle.

The horns are sounding.  The streets are clear.  The missiles are coming.  The Sliders are about to be at ground zero of a nuclear strike.  The vortex is open and the Sliders make their escape, but will the vortex close before the detonation?  It does not.

Landing in a desolate area of a new world, the fury and fire of the nuclear blast is raging through the wormhole.  The Sliders clear the opening as best they can, but the focused blast shoots like a super charged beam into the distance.  Destination unknown.

The timer memory is wiped.  The equation that creates the timer countdown is lost.  The roller coaster has stopped, and the ride is over.  The Sliders are stranded with no sign of civilization - just rocks and dirt.  And as they try to figure out what to do next, it gives them a chance to talk about everything that’s happened.  Should they worry about cancer now?  How have they changed as people since they started this journey?

The story would resolve with a solution and encouragement to use it.  The dimensional weak spot theory (often demonstrated in the original series) makes your entry into a world the place where another Slider opened a vortex previously if there was one.  The path of least resistance - if something had torn a hole in existence, the fabric is going to be weak there no matter how well it’s sewn back up.  On this barren world, the Sliders discover that this has happened.  In a nearby cave, they find a skeleton, a piece of Victorian era equipment and scrawled equations on the wall.  A Slider from the same time period as H G Wells.

This is the trick of the 29.7 year rule - if you miss a slide, you have to wait decades until the next window.  But if you miss that one?  Just wait another 29.7.  Our mysterious skeleton was on the path to figuring out how to calculate his own timer sequence.  He did not finish it before dying, but there’s enough information for Reese to use.  Three cycles have passed since our skeleton came to this world, and the fourth window is approaching soon.  It may have taken nearly 120 years, but the skeleton’s equation is about to be put to work.

Using the still operating power source of the timer with the Victorian sliding machine, the Sliders have a way to the next world once the equation is plugged in; and they better do it fast.  Did you wonder where the focused beam of energy went when they entered this world?  It hit a city.  The population believes they were attacked, and they’ve triangulated the origin.  They’re coming.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

This is a really interesting storyline from TF. I have somewhat pigeonholed Temporal Flux as the social satire and comedy conceptualist, but it's an error to forget that he is just as capable with action, danger, risk, paranoia and sci-fi technology concepts. This is less Temporal Flux is Torme/Weiss mode and more TF doing Marc Scott Zicree but far darker and more dangerous than Zicree ever got. There's a certain savagery to the sliders accidentally unleashing a destructive nuclear blast in the process of escaping it. There's a bleak horror to someone missing their 29.7 window and then missing it again.

Not sure if this is where the story ends, but it's incredibly disturbing and stirring and frightening and damn it, Temporal Flux, I was about to go to bed.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I've been getting a terrifying number of messages lately from young fanfic writers asking for feedback on their SLIDERS stories. I'm surprised that someone born after 1990 would be writing SLIDERS fan fiction. I tell them flat out: I don't know how to write a SLIDERS story and I send them to this thread.

I can write *the* sliders and I went to journalism school, so I can help with descriptions and dialogue. I read all the drafts and give notes and try to make sure I offer what others offered me. But when it comes to how to create a parallel Earth with a compelling alternate history and a relevant social and political scenario and a plot that explores this situation to create invites social commentary and satire and comedy -- I tell people I have absolutely no idea how to do that.

I send them to this thread and advise that they read the work and plot ideas here and learn from the Master. :-)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

So today, DC Comics hired a new Vice President:

https://bleedingcool.com/comics/dc-comi … president/

Some are joking that this now means DC Comics will be produced on hemp paper, and that may come to pass.  Hemp paper would have likely been the dominant material in newsprint except for William Randolph Hearst:

http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/pot/blunderof37.html

Just think of the differences over the past century if corporate interests had not crushed hemp.  No reliance on foreign oil.  No gas crisis in the 70’s.  The petro-dollar would never be born thus reducing America’s influence on the world.  DuPont wouldn’t have been as powerful thus reducing chemicals and plastics released into the world. Would pollution look different?  Would mental health look different?

This is where I think Narcotica failed.  It would be much more interesting to look at a modern world that never knew the word marijuana.  But corporate interests don’t fade away due to one lost battle; what would have been attacked instead to prop up an industry and world power?  That would be the key to discover and the vehicle to insert our Sliders into peril.  What innocuous item do they hold that would be demonized on this world?  That would take some thought.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Hunnnh.

I love NARCOTICA... but I've always half-loved it, specifically loving the half that Dennis Calero drew. Someone once asked me if I would ever want my fanfics to be filmed and my answer is always absolutely not, they weren't meant to be filmed --  but I would love for Dennis Calero to draw them. And yet... I've honestly never thought of NARCOTICA as having had a failure of imagination until reading the post above and now I have to concede that it is true.

Anyway! World building is not my strength. But my random guesses would be:

Meat? Rembrandt has a sausage stick?
The sugarless sweetener in Wade's chewing gum?
The tobacco in a cigar that Arturo swiped from a double?
The paper in Wade's journal?
The polyester in Rembrandt's needlessly shiny suits?
The denim in Quinn's jeans?
The acidic components of the battery inside the timer?

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Seeing your list of questions, it focused my thoughts on this.  An interesting thing about our world is why items have value.  Gold has been a standard for millennia, but why?  Because it’s pretty?  Because there’s a finite amount that can be difficult to find?

Whatever the reason, the underlying truth is that it has value because everyone believes it has value.  That’s all.  Belief.  We’re having a new examination of this right now with Bitcoin and NFTs. There is nothing physical about them; but more and more people believe they have value, so they do have value.

If we have a world where hemp oils eliminated the petro-dollar, then how would the US prop up its power?

Tweak things slightly and see the US winning World War 2 (much less credit to The Allies). Japan surrendered to us.  As pointed out to 1955 Doc Brown in Back to the Future III, Japan was the leader in technology for some time (and still is in quality if not quantity). What if the US better retained its hold on Japan and cornered technology on the global stage?  What if the dollar is pegged to technology?  The birth of the techno-dollar.

On Hemp World, technology not only has astronomical value, but it’s a status symbol.  When our Sliders land there with digital devices (like their phones and even the timer), the local population assumes they are millionaires; and the Sliders decide to use the opportunity to live the high life for a change.  Of course, they experience the pit falls of that when it starts to become clear the Sliders don’t have anything more than what’s on them.  The population starts out believing the Sliders have value, but that belief starts to fade.

I’m reluctant to do “lost timer” stories, but I do have this vision in my head of the timer components (and active digital countdown) mounted in a clear case on a big gold chain hanging around a famous rapper’s neck.  The beam emitter?  Pointed up at the rapper’s head because he nor anyone around him understand what that thing can do.  The rapper is just using it as bling.

In any case, I think this type of story could be a good examination of why we place value on things.  By extension, it would also look at the fallacy of placing value on people based on the things they hold.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Found this interesting:

https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3xw3x/ … lapse-soon

The graphs especially piqued my interest.  They’re a road map for the elements of society that lead to what kind of world we’ll get; and as such show us the factors that could be examined in an alternate history to take us down a certain path.  There’s nothing novel about it; but it gives a focus I hadn’t seen before.

73 (edited by ireactions 2021-07-18 18:56:07)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

[Removed]

[I was concurring with TF's post, but it seemed to me that I shouldn't put my politics in his thread. I'll find somewhere else.]

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Building on the Narcotica comments a few responses up, here is an interesting look at the history of food that offers several points in history which could lead to a change in tastes and status:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/2021 … e-luxuries

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I like how you all have different ideas and a vision of what Sliding is, what Stories and Situations should be central.....

It's beautiful.

Infinite Possibilities in Infinite Combinations means that all of you are right.

Sliders offers a Medium to tell every kind of story. From personal stories, to situational stories and even more broadly impactful scenarios of a regional/national, philosophical, political or technological focus.

Different Figures in positions of influence and or power that shape a society in the past or present.

Biological varience in Flora & Fauna that can effect everything or nothing, from food and diet, to ecosystem collapse or sustainability, all the way up to atmospheric composition and oceanic PH levels.

Social Norms that run counter to the expected, or that have subtleties that can be easily missed to great cost.

Fashion that can mislead as to the Era or even shape what proffession you can or can not have, where you are allowed to visit or not and who you are allowed or not to talk to.

In Medieval Times perception of colour itself was different to now. One of the earliest still intact Chapels has paintings of the battle of Lucifer and Michael. Lucifer and Michael are depicted as Good vs Evil based upon the Colour of Clothing and Halo.... in the Modern Era Lucifer is associated with Red. Back then though, it was Lucifer clad in Blue and Michael clad in Red. Red back then was more associated with Vitality and Warmth. With Blue being associated with Death and the Cold.

Things changed in our Reality, but in AU timelines? Colour could mean the difference between many things from the unimportant, to the seriously dangerous or vital.

"It's only a matter of time. Were I in your shoes, I would spend my last earthly hours enjoying the world. Of course, if you wish, you can spend them fighting for a lost cause.... But you know that you've lost." -Kane-

Re: Sliders: Declassified

How would Temporal Flux write a SLIDERS story satirizing NFTs?

I don't know how; I just know that it would be awesome. :-)

Re: Sliders: Declassified

ireactions wrote:

How would Temporal Flux write a SLIDERS story satirizing NFTs?

I don't know how; I just know that it would be awesome. :-)

I started thinking about it, and it led me to an idea adjacent.

https://cdn-1.motorsport.com/static/img/amp/4900000/4980000/4981000/4981700/4981724/s6_1007922/1007922.jpg

Sports like NASCAR are the more professional example, but many every day people place value in branding themselves with corporate logos.  Air Jordans.  Shirts with soft drink logos.  Underwear with super heroes.  But what if reverse psychology gave this desire a deeper meaning?

What if corporate sponsorship was used to sell a social credit system to Americans?  You want to wear Air Jordans like your favorite basketball star?  You can’t just buy it.  Improve your image.  Eat right.  Be kind to people.  Don’t lie.  Don’t cheat.  Live up to the brand.  It could create a way to differentiate people at a glance without it being forced.  What were they proudly wearing of their own decision?

I’m reluctant to do “the Sliders got arrested” stories, but this could be about survival.  The Sliders would have to explore their flaws (finding some they didn’t even realize they had); and unless they can improve themselves, they won’t get access to the resources they need to survive until the timer activates.  Some Sliders are better at this than others.  The best of them might barely scrape by or even fail at changing themselves.  The worst of them may meet the criteria by accident much to the chagrin of the group

You would have multiple opportunities for character journeys that end in change, and you could have some “helping people” scenarios that would fit more naturally into a Sliders story.  Of course, the comedy would come with the people not wanting the Sliders’ help, or the difference in culture leading the Sliders to hinder people instead of helping.

But the true beauty of this idea is from a production stand point.  If you played your cards right (pitching companies on the image they’ll get in the episode), the episode could probably pay for itself in product placement.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

On some world, it happened.

https://mobile.twitter.com/HorrorHammer … 3148395521

Re: Sliders: Declassified

My co-worker passed along another one of these:

https://rumble.com/v10mnew-live-world-p … water.html

The short of it - COVID-19 is not a virus and instead cobra venom dumped into the water supply.  As most conspiracy theories do, they make some compelling arguments, but they overlook one thing.  Even in targeted areas, I can scarcely imagine the scope and scale of the operation needed to dump sufficient amounts of venom to effect this.  The entire public would have to be “in on it” and making it happen.

And that’s when it hit me, and this is the reason I look at these things.  This could be a good Sliders story.

Years ago on Turner Classic Movies, I watched a 1936 film on the life of Louis Pasteur:

https://youtu.be/zeO8ZOYTa3k

The film depicts how Pasteur was treated as a mad man for pointing out the simple reality that germs exist.  Before and after the movie, they also had commentary and shorts discussing Pasteur’s theories about intentionally poisoning the body in measured amounts to kill the illness without killing the host.  These ideas would later develop into our medical treatments today (most well known as chemotherapy for cancer).

Our medical history and advancement accepts that poison can cure.  If civilization had accepted this concept sooner and on a broader scale, how could it have been applied?  Might we have developed some form of snake venom to dump in the water supply to act as a prophylactic against certain diseases?

Our Sliders land on this world and start to get sick one after another.  They begin to be seen as patients zero of some unknown illness that can’t be explained; but the truth is that their bodies aren’t conditioned to the venom in the water.  The cure for them is to stop using the water and get away from that world; but can they do it in a world growing increasingly afraid of the “disease” they carry?

As for why civilization would have taken this path accepting snake venom?  It’s an interesting thing also mentioned in my co-worker’s video.  Many see snakes as evil, and that’s rooted in religion (The Garden of Eden).  What if there is a world where people didn’t blame the snake?  In Demonic possession stories, we see the person as the victim. Why isn’t the snake a victim?

Re: Sliders: Declassified

The idea of the snake having a different iconographic implication reminds me of "World Killer" where one of the nuns wore stones instead of a cross to indicate that Jesus was executed by being beaten to death with rocks rather than crucifixion. I can see the idea of immunizing people through feeding them small amounts of toxic materials could also lead to interesting social commentary on how our civilization often encourages denying the existence of illness, pain, infirmity or disability as part of a culture of toxic masculinity. I also like how you've presented this story in sociological terms that are more like Seasons 1 - 2 of SLIDERS rather than the sci-fi technology bent that Zicree and others would take.

I'm relieved that you note that the conspiracy is indeed nonsense as COVID is an airborne virus, but even then, the World Health Organization nonsensically took two years to acknowledge that transmission was not merely droplet based but aerosol driven as well, and in the absence of authoritative acceptance of obvious fact, people will fill in those gaps with randomness.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

I was recently having a discussion with a gentleman who runs the front desk of a hotel. His name is Charlie. I asked Charlie: how would the sliders go about getting hotel rooms when they have no ID and no credit cards that would function on a parallel Earth? Charlie replied that his hotel and most would likely not allow the sliders to rent a room without ID and credit or debit. Hotels require a form of payment that can be charge for "incidentals" in the event that the guest smashes up the room or steals all the furniture and has to be charged for repairs and replacements, and that no prepaid card or card without matching ID would be accepted nor would cash be suitable (because a few hundred dollars in cash might not cover the cost of potential repairs for reckless or destructive guests).

I protested: what if Charlie were hired by the writers of SLIDERS to find a loophole to get the sliders a room? Charlie replied that there is no loophole.

I asked: could Charlie be bribed with cash? Charlie replied that no amount of cash the sliders might carry on their person would induce him to risk his own job or to shoulder the cost of the potential incidentals.

I told Charlie that he was a lousy friend because if the positions were reversed, the sliders would find some way to get Charlie a room in order to progress the plot and then I wondered if there might be a DECLASSIFIED-brand solution.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Maybe that's why they always stayed at the same hotel.  It was the only one they could get into without ID or credit/debit.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

ireactions wrote:

I was recently having a discussion with a gentleman who runs the front desk of a hotel. His name is Charlie. I asked Charlie: how would the sliders go about getting hotel rooms when they have no ID and no credit cards that would function on a parallel Earth? Charlie replied that his hotel and most would likely not allow the sliders to rent a room without ID and credit or debit. Hotels require a form of payment that can be charge for "incidentals" in the event that the guest smashes up the room or steals all the furniture and has to be charged for repairs and replacements, and that no prepaid card or card without matching ID would be accepted nor would cash be suitable (because a few hundred dollars in cash might not cover the cost of potential repairs for reckless or destructive guests).

I protested: what if Charlie were hired by the writers of SLIDERS to find a loophole to get the sliders a room? Charlie replied that there is no loophole.

I asked: could Charlie be bribed with cash? Charlie replied that no amount of cash the sliders might carry on their person would induce him to risk his own job or to shoulder the cost of the potential incidentals.

I told Charlie that he was a lousy friend because if the positions were reversed, the sliders would find some way to get Charlie a room in order to progress the plot and then I wondered if there might be a DECLASSIFIED-brand solution.

I absolutely love this. LOL

Re: Sliders: Declassified

In our reality, scientists were inspired by Star Trek to make fiction into reality through innovations in technology and aeronautics.

In another reality, scientists were inspired by Looney Tunes.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/23 … nto-space/

We can accomplish most anything with inspirations to drive us.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Had never heard of this, but it’s a perfect background drop in a Sliders episode.  Nothing else needed but to show the DuMont logo flash on a tv as station identification:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuMont_ … on_Network

DuMont is the forgotten fourth network partnered with Paramount Pictures.  They filmed some 20,000 episodes of television between 1942 and 1952.  That library included the first ever tv sitcom, first TV game show and the first minority focused programming (including black and Asian hosts of programs).  DuMont was also where Jackie Gleason’s Honeymooners was born (though the actual series was later greenlit by CBS).

All of the DuMont Network film library was dumped in the East River of New York City - considered garbage.  It’s still there, and a small portion has been excavated by divers.

Re: Sliders: Declassified

Here’s a good aside for the idea of a vortex being used as a garbage can (making the trash someone else’s problem).   Now that’s a 20k garbage can that might be understandable

https://apnews.com/article/california-s … 41c6582773

Might be