It almost isn’t fair to group these three seasons of the science fiction show “Sliders” together. Season 1 is amazing. Season 2 is a bit lacking but somehow you watch it, remember how great season 1 was. Season 3 sucks. These 3 seasons are all currently available on Hulu and were originally aired on fox but there were 5 seasons created in total (the last two were broadcast on Sci-Fi). I can’t imagine watching 4 and 5.
The premise of the show is fantastic: what if you created a way to travel in between parallel universes? The catch is that you would still be the same person and it would still be the same year and location on another world, but something about the world’s history would be different than your own. This difference could mean slight changes or a completely different set of people, laws, and manners.
Season 1 is brilliant. The scene is set- Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) creates a device capable of opening a wormhole to jump in between these worlds. His best friend and sometimes love interest, Wade, and his professor, Maximillian Arturo join him on his adventures, though due to a malfunction, a singer named Rembrandt Brown gets sucked into the slides as well. The sliders must only jump when the timer allows them (jumping too early is what causes them to lose the coordinates of their home world) and missing the slide means 29 years stuck on that world (I never understood why).
Each episode has the sliders confused on how to act on the new worlds, getting into trouble, and barely making the slide. The differences are interesting and exciting; the first two seasons explore what would have happened, (as wikipedia puts it) if America had been conquered by the Soviet Union, if Britain had won the American War of Independence, if penicillin had not been invented, or if men were subservient to women.
Quinn and Wade were clearly in love the first two seasons (though who knows why… I can’t seem to like Wade and I find her unappealing the entire first season) but in season 3 they suddenly have no chemical spark and fall in love-at-first sight with people from the alternate worlds.
Also, this third season suddenly becomes action packed but strange; the storyline isn’t as interesting and the sliders spend 4 episodes chasing a scientist without much gain. One slider is killed (very sad) but another is added. This addition (and slider) is incredibly obnoxious. In addition, it suddenly appears that someone on each world has created a sliding remote, making things extremely convenient when necessary.
Some of the episodes were also aired out of order, leading to a bit of confusion. More interesting than the seasons following season 1 are the problems that occurred with the series!
I give season one 8 stars, season two 7 stars, and season three 3 stars.