The First and Second Series

Region 2 Edition - Reviewed by Mike Hadfield

Directors:  Andy Tennant, Mario Azzopardi, Les Landau, Adam Nimoy and others

Featuring:  Jerry O’Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Sabrina Lloyd, Cleavant Derricks

“What if you could travel to parallel worlds.

The same year, the same Earth, only different dimensions”


In the mid-nineties, America was producing some of the best science fiction television around. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The X Files, Babylon 5 and Space : Above and Beyond, which is still sorely missed. But where does Sliders fit into this golden era? Sliders was either complete drivel or a great science fiction series depending on who you ask. However, my own opinion is that it falls between these two schools of thought. It didn’t have the most original concept, yet it was still an engaging series - especially in these early seasons. Our heroes are desperately seeking a way home from a series of bizarre parallel Earths. This idea has shades of Quantum Leap, yet both series proved to be engaging and distinctive.

A major part of Sliders’ success is due to the off-screen talent. Co-created by Tracy Tormé, an award-winning writer of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is rumoured that Tormé read a biography of George Washington and thought to himself “what if one British soldier had been able to shoot better?” Without Washington would there have been a United States? Along with co-creator Robert K. Weiss (The Naked Gun), he went on to develop a series that explored parallel dimensions. What If…antibiotics had never been discovered and the world was suffering from an incurable plague?  What If…dinosaurs had not died out?  What If…Elvis had NEVER left the building? The great John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) also came on board as executive producer.

Sliders’ assured start can also be explained by the superb on-screen talent. The actors bring warmth and depth to their characters from the very first episode. Spearheading the cast is Jerry O’Connell as Quinn Mallory. Quinn is the young physics student who creates a dimension-hopping wormhole in his basement (as you do!) His sense of wonder and amazement is evident whenever arriving in a new dimension and this draws you into these alternative realities.

Three people become his companions on these adventures with differing degrees of enthusiasm. Quinn’s Physics teacher, Professor Maximillian Arturo is brilliantly portrayed by John-Rhys Davies (now far better known as Gimli the Dwarf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Initially, he does not believe Quinn has made such a fantastic breakthrough but soon becomes an avid explorer. Wade Wells (Sabrina Lloyd) is Quinn’s unrequited love interest. She veers between love and hate of sliding but wants to remain close to Quinn. Finally Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks) is the most reluctant slider. He’s a once famous singer known as ‘The Crying Man’ who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He provides much of the comic relief - especially when he sings!

This set collects together the twenty-two episodes that made up the first two seasons. The first nine episodes form season one and work remarkably well. They lay down the series’ blueprint while fleshing out the characters.

Each episode is absorbing but plots tend to become repetitive. A typical plot is: the group falls into trouble, gets chased around and then finally escapes into another wormhole at the last possible minute. It all starts to become too familiar! This can be attributed to both lazy writing and budget restrictions. Yet Sliders still maintains your interest and develops some intriguing situations despite these problems. Often it is only the strong and evolving relationships between the characters that carry the series. On the whole Sliders is an engaging a well produced example of the genre that deserves more acclaim than it gets. It may not be a classic but it’s a damn good series!



While not stunning, the quality of the image on display here is perfectly acceptable. Some aftifacting is visible in darker scenes but it never becomes obtrusive. Occasional edge enhancement is also noticeable. Colours are very muted and the image can sometimes appear quite smeary. Still, the image is nice and stable and is better than the TV transmissions. Given the low price for this set, it’s no surprise that there has been little attempt at restoration. The bit-rate is around 5.85Mb/sec, and all six discs are dual-layered single sided (DVD-9s).



The audio is actually Dolby Surround despite the packaging saying it is plain Dolby Stereo. The mix doesn’t take full advantage of this, but the rear speakers do burst into life occasionally. This gives added impact at key moments such as when sliding through a wormhole. Dialogue from the centre speaker is clear and precise. The soundtrack does not exhibit distortion or interference at any time. Audio is encoded at 192kbps.  The disc also has English Hard of Hearing subtitles. A perfectly acceptable presentation overall.



The extras for this package are worthwhile but not extensive.

Audio commentary on the Pilot episode by Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss

This is certainly one of the most informative and entertaining commentaries I have heard. Tracy and Robert reveal plenty of information about bit-part actors, and about scenes that were dropped, as well as in-jokes and lots more. If only all commentaries could be this fascinating and absorbing!

The Making of Sliders

This fifteen-minute featurette is brief but welcome. The creators are represented along with Jerry O’Connell and Cleavant Derricks (the other two cast members are conspicuous by their absence). They give fascinating insights into the making of the series, especially the problems of keeping the show on air. The casting process is also discussed and Jerry O’Connell has some very funny comments regarding fans.

Photo Gallery

This is an animated gallery with the pictures floating in and out over the sliding wormhole tunnel while the theme tune plays in the background. Annoyingly the pictures are only on screen for a few seconds each. You’ll need to keep you finger hovering over the pause button if you want to study them in any detail.



Sliders is a fun and diverting show that manages to keep you amused and interested throughout. The performances are good and the concepts intriguing. If you like Quantum Leap then you’ll like this. While the extras are not spectacular they are worthwhile and informative. The silver packaging also looks quite classy and distinctive even if it does show fingerprints easily! Overall, this would be a welcome addition to any science fiction fans’ collection.












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