…sizzler… –err, I mean …sliders…

28 12 2008

So. I’ve been too weak to really do much of anything; even a short task force in COH knocked me flat on Saturday. (I hate, hate, HATE being sick.) To fill the hours I’ve been using Netflix+XB360 to catch up on a show I enjoyed back in the 90s but never really saw many episodes of: Sliders.

The basic premise is Gilligan and company are shuffling from parallel world to parallel world in search of a way back home. And of course, this being TV, they will never actually get there and we’ll get a number of stupid teases along the way. But man, the show is even MORE formulaic than that. Let’s break it down:

2F’S SUMMARY OF EVERY SLIDERS EPISODE EVER MADE (in seasons 1-2)

*Setting: Some crazy Planet of Hats earth where a tyrannical, drunk with power government is doing bad things to the population in the name of something or another. Vortex opens, our crew comedically pratfalls through.*

Arturo: I am unhappy about the painful and undigified way we pratfall through vortexes all the time.

Rembrant: Damn!

Quinn: Oh no, within 2 minutes of arriving we’ve inadvertantly broken a social taboo we really should have seen coming if we’d browsed tvtropes.org for more than three minutes, or our very existence is illegal in some way! Whose turn is it to be arrested this week? I forgot.

*1-2 of the crew are arrested / taken into custody / vanish / whatever.*

Wade: I will pine after Quinn and act jealous when someone flirts with him and vice versa but will do absolutely nothing to settle this romantic tension once and for all.

Rembrant: I’ll get into a wacky B-story based on my greed and lust for fame which goes very badly for me in a funny way.

Arturo: I’ll grumble a lot and do some science or something.

Quinn: I’ll get righteously indignant about whatever the local tyrannically oppressive government is doing and make speeches and help La Revolution.

*The crew helps La Revolution and busts their missing members out of jail.*

Quinn: Run! We’ve miraculously gotten all together again at the very last moment and we’ve only got X minutes to make the slide, even though our long, teary goodbyes to our new allies will last twice as long as that!

*Teary goodbyes are exchanged, crew slides out, lather, rinse, repeat.*

2F’S SUMMARY OF EVERY SLIDERS EPISODE EVER MADE (in season 3)

*Shit blows up and then blows up again and craziness happens and then we leave.*

2F’S SUMMARY OF EVERY SLIDERS EPISODE EVER MADE (in seasons 4-5)

*We endure a really horrible myth arc and lose most of the likeable members of the cast.*

There. Now you don’t need to watch the show.

Well, no. It’s horribly formulaic and the people sliding around show a remarkable lack of self-preservation instinct and complete failure to grasp even the simplest of story tropes, but the concepts presented in the first two seasons and the generally likeable and sympathetic guys will keep you coming back until you’re done. It’s entertaining enough despite its shortcomings.

But do yourself a favor and stop after S2, I know I am. I’m not suffering through 10+ episodes of Rupert Murdoch’s executive meddling to remove the show’s leftist leanings and then 20+ episodes of the Sci-fi channel rotating the cast and running it into the dirt.

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9 responses

29 12 2008
aj_hyena

They made it back. Once. But they had to jump again for some reason, corrupting the data and being unable to return except if they hit it randomly again.

29 12 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yep. They kept doing typical teases like that; in one episode they made it back but had less than a minute to decide to stay, and Quinn left because his house gate didn’t squeak. Turns out it was oiled and his mother missed him terribly. That’s a real stab to the nuts, that is.
Gilligan plots are really difficult to do. If you drag it out for season after season and play the tease card too many times, your audience gets REALLY tired of it. At least in the original Gilligan’s Island we knew they were never gonna get home because it’s a funnytime show — but shows like Sliders and Voyager, the constant carrot and stick antics by the writers outstay their welcome fast.

29 12 2008
vulpisfoxfire

And there’s the *awful* Quantum Leap ending…

29 12 2008
cmdr_zoom

So true. And I say that as someone who was a fan up until they killed off (one) Arturo and replaced him with $babe.

29 12 2008
matrix_dragon

Bah, that was a Slider team from an alternate universe. I hold to the theory that they slid home, then started properly exploring the multiverse… our televisions timer just got locked onto the wrong group. :P

29 12 2008
jengagne

I liked your summary of one of the episodes from the other day, after noting their total lack of clue and/or self-preservation:
“For instance, when you arrive on a utopian world with an unusually small population of very happy smiley people, DO NOT enter anything called ‘The Lottery’.”

29 12 2008
meagenimage

Having Genre Savvy characters didn’t really come into vogue until the late 90s, did it?

29 12 2008
lirazel

*starts to chortle as she realizes that she really doesn’t need to watch this*
Yeah, I caught a couple of glimpses, but it seemed like rehashes of Star Trek Original Flayvuh.

29 12 2008
allahm0de

i gotta agree with you on this one. i used to like the show sliders, for about half of season 1. that’s that it started to get old for me. it’s exactly like you were saying. after a while, i was able to predict with about 90% accuracy not only what was going to happen next, but WHEN it was going to happen, since it seemed to happen in EVERY EPISODE.
actually, in a way, if you think about it, you should actually expect this. i mean, think about it. if these places the team are going are all parallel universes, then besides obvious differences, the stories should basically be the same, just with different players each time. Still, it does get boring when you knew the plot and how it ends right from the first five minutes of the show. Quantum Leap got like that for me too.
Hope you had a good Christmas. And if I haven’t already said it before, thank you for a bunch of really cool NWN modules. I’m still sad that hex coda will never be finished, but i think i’ll get over it soon. i think.

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