Sliders-Season 1 & 2 (1995)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Pilot - Co-Creators Tracy Tormé And Robert K. Weiss
|Year Of Production||1995|
|Running Time||936:47 (Case: 886)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (6)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
Denis M. Hannigan
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In 1995, creators Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss conceived of a science fiction show based on the notion of parallel dimensions. The idea was to create a series where a group of people would become lost travelling between parallel Earths, but in doing so would embark upon the greatest adventure of their lives.
And so the pair came up with the character of a boy genius, Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell), whose expertise with physics is unsurpassed, even by his physics lecturer Professor Maximilian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies). Quinn builds a device he calls a ‘sliding device’ that enables him to travel between parallel universes. After a successful test run, he invites his best friend Wade Wells (Sabrina Lloyd) and the Professor along to experience what sliding is like. In order to get them all through the gateway, Quinn has to increase the power, which causes an overload, unexpectedly picking up a washed-up singer trying to remake his career, Rembrandt ‘Crying Man’ Brown (Cleavant Derricks). The group are thrust into an Earth which is frozen under layers of snow and ice. In order to stay alive, Quinn must speed up the slide. Thinking themselves returned home, they soon learn instead that they are in an America ruled by the Soviets. Will they ever be able to get back to their own Earth?
The first two seasons of Sliders firmly entrenched the show as a favourite amongst science fiction aficionados. The show would eventually run for five seasons, amongst a lot of fighting with the studio to keep it on the air. Although the last season would see the departure of its main character, Quinn, the demand for the show to keep running was still high, and there were plenty more stories to tell. However, in this reviewer's opinion, the first three seasons were by far the best.
All 23 episodes of the first two seasons (Season 1 ran for only 10 episodes, Season 2 ran for 13 episodes) are presented here in one set across six discs in their original broadcast order (not their intended order):
1. & 2 Pilot: Part I & II (84:13)
When Quinn Mallory designs a machine for sliding between parallel Earths, he brings two of his friends along to experience a slide. But when things go wrong, they wind up lost with an unexpected hitchhiker.
3. Fever (41:35)
On a world ridden with disease, Quinn is public enemy number one.
4. Last Days (42:03)
The group slide into a world where Earth is going to be hit by a huge meteor. Unable to slide out before the world is destroyed, the group prepares for their final moments. All except the Professor, who believes the atomic bomb may hold the key to their survival.
5. The Prince Of Wails (41:31)
In an America ruled by the British, the Professor’s double is an evil scheming sheriff out to overthrow the crown.
6. Summer Of Love (41:26)
The sliders find themselves on an Earth on which the peace movement of the 60s is still underway over a war in Australia.
7. Eggheads (43:01)
On an Earth where intellectual achievement is considered as fashionable as sports prowess in our world, Quinn is the star of a game that tests physical endurance and mental integrity. But the sliders soon learn that intellectual achievement is nothing without moral integrity.
8. The Weaker Sex (42:44)
The sliders find themselves on a world where women are the dominant sex. Disgruntled by the discrimination, the Professor joins a political movement to lead a sexual revolution.
9. The King Is Back (43:07)
On an Earth where Rembrandt was as popular as Elvis, but also tragically died young, Rembrandt himself decides to carry on where his double left off.
10. Luck Of The Draw (42:42)
In a world that seemingly has no problems due to its low population, the gang enter a lottery for cash only to learn that the winners are later killed as a means of population control.
11. Into The Mystic (42:27)
On a world that respects sorcerers and shamans, the group seek medical help from a dodgy sorcerer only to run out on the bill. When the sorcerer puts a price on Quinn’s head, he is told by a mystic that he must find an even more powerful sorcerer to save himself.
12. Love Gods (42:43)
The sliders find themselves on a world where there are no men, and those that are left are imprisoned in breeding camps to keep the population of America alive.
13. Gillian Of The Spirits (42:43)
After an accident during a slide, the group emerge to find Quinn missing and the timer broken in a society where technology is banned. However, he is on another dimensional plane within that Earth, and can only be seen by one girl who is believed to be crazy.
14. The Good, The Bad, And The Wealthy (42:48)
The sliders find themselves on a world where lawyers conduct business as they did in the old west – down the barrel of a gun. When Quinn intervenes in a fight, he finds himself unexpectedly killing a man, and in turn being hired by one of the biggest firms in San Francisco.
15. El Sid (41:58)
The sliders find themselves in a world where San Francisco is a giant prison, and a massive earthquake is set to destroy the whole city.
16. Time Again And World (42:48)
After witnessing a murder on one world, the sliders find themselves in a substantially similar world where the subtle differences are enough to make the right decisions on the old world the wrong decisions in the new world.
17. In Dino Veritas (42:49)
The group find themselves on a world where dinosaurs are not extinct, and San Francisco is a nature park dedicated to their ongoing survival.
18. Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome (42:46)
When the sliders enter a world that is identical to their own, Quinn cannot accept that they are home.
19. Obsession (42:37)
The sliders find themselves on a world where most of the population have psychic abilities, including a man that Wade is immediately taken with.
20. Greatfellas (42:13)
The sliders enter a world of mobsters where Prohibition was never repealed, and Rembrandt’s double is a new age Eliot Ness.
21. The Young And The Relentless (42:45)
On a world where age discrimination is in reverse, and the old are kept out of bars and are not allowed to hold jobs, the Professor and Rembrandt find themselves on the outer, while Wade and Quinn find that their doubles are rich, married and in Quinn’s case also dead.
22. Invasion (42:45)
The sliders find themselves in the middle of an invasion by a group that can slide at well between parallel universes and are bent on conquering all other parallel dimensions.
23. As Time Goes By (42:53)
On a world where America is ruled by the Spanish, Quinn find his former flame, Daelin (Brooke Langton), as an abused housewife. But when they slide, they find themselves in the past, accused of Daelin’s murder.
Sliders is a lot of fun. While not exactly unique, it does a lot of unique things within its own paradigm, and for that reason it stands out as a classic. Certainly, this is somewhat of a cross between Quantum Leap, Stargate and Star Trek, so it is no surprise that many of the fans of those shows were or are fans of Sliders. But despite its mildly derivative nature, its use of similar environments cast in different contexts is actually quite ingenious from a production point of view, and also from a storytelling point of view. It’s very hard to dismiss this show as merely a rip-off of other shows, and it becomes quite addictive over time, with inventive scenarios and enjoyable characters.
Of course, I am somewhat biased, having been a fan of this show when it was first on. My one real complaint is that, after broadcasting the episodes chronically out of order, this ordering fault was not corrected for the DVD release, thereby preserving some form of continuity. It’s really quite obvious which episodes are meant to follow on from the other, and the disruption of this flow is really quite annoying.
That aside, this is a fantastically watchable and rewatchable show, and any fan will have to have themselves a copy. If you never saw Sliders when it was on, and are a fan of science fiction, I also highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this. While it can be a little hit and miss at times during its first season, this is to be expected, and overall it is an excellent series.
Transferred here in its original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1, Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced, this transfer does leave a bit to be desired. Although the image is for the most part reasonably sharp and clear, it belies its NTSC transfer origins all too readily, with transfer artefacts, colour issues and shadow detail problems.
For an example of where everything has gone wrong, check out the episode Fever. Although very early on in the series, the transfer quality does not drastically improve from this point, though the colour saturation in the second season is much improved.
Colour is definitely washed out. While still retaining some saturation that is better than VHS, it lacks the real stand-out glow of more transfers of other shows from the same era, such as the first seasons of Star Trek: Voyager.
Shadow detail is also a major problem, with dark areas turning an inky blue instead of black, and a similar effect occurring in low light scenes, which makes it hard sometimes to look at the picture and work out exactly what is going on. The hotel scenes in Fever are a prime example of this. These scenes are also excessively grainy, which is a shame given that daylight scenes are remarkably clear in this respect.
While there are no MPEG artefacts, film-to-video transfer artefacts are all too readily present, with a lot of aliasing on metal edges and straight lines, and far too much in the way of moire effect. These are definitely NTSC to PAL transfer faults. Thankfully there is little in the way of noticeable edge enhancement.
There is a bit of dirt on the print, as you would expect from a TV series of this era, but nothing overly distracting.
Subtitles are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and follow the dialogue closely enough to get an understanding of the show.
The dual-layer pauses are between the episodes, with two episodes per layer.
Thankfully we have been given the original English 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround track, although no 5.1 Dolby Digital remaster. That said, however, this 2.0 Surround track is rather thin by comparison to similar tracks on show such as the later series of Buffy: The Vampire Slater and the outstanding The Shield.
Dialogue is clear and usually easy enough to understand. There are some points where dialogue was a tad muffled, although this was generally a result of poor source material rather than any transfer issue. I noticed a couple of minor audio sync issues, but again, nothing that wasn’t easily distinguishable as a fault in the source.
The range is acceptable, although lacking the real surround presence of more recent 2.0 Dolby Surround mixes. Of course, in those days, not a lot of effort went into sound mastering as broadcast capabilities were significantly less advanced.
The surrounds generally only come into play with the music, although sometimes they are used to generate crowd noise. They are not overly active, however.
Unless your system is calibrated to push the lower end bass to the subwoofer, it will remain dormant.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced. There is a short introduction to the main menu, and the main menu has clips from the episode, and a 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio. Most of the other menus are static and silent.
Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary is by co-creators Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss. These guys mainly talk about the production side of the show as that is what they were involved in. It is a mostly interesting track, but not the finest I have heard.
Presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, this is a great retrospective making of, including interviews with many of the cast and crew. One of the better ‘making of’ featurettes I’ve seen lately.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a series of promotional and production stills shown like a slide show with music from the series in the background.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I do not have a R1 copy for an exact comparison, but from what I can tell the R4 release is a PAL transfer of the R1 release, and they are identical in every other respect. Whether the R1 is any better for film-to-video transfer artefacts, I seriously doubt. But if someone could enlighten me, I would be grateful.
Sliders is a highly underrated science fiction series. While not exhibiting an entirely original premise, it does a lot of original work with that premise. A giant ‘what if?’ series, it is highly addictive.
Video is okay, and improves as the series goes on, but is still far from perfect.
At least we have the original 2.0 Dolby Surround track, but a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix would have been nice.
The extras are light but relevant and thankfully not weighed down with promotional junk.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-676A, SACD & DVD-A, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||Digital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer|