In Honor of “Sliders”

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In honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary (3/22/15) of the scifi TV series classic “Sliders”, a boarding pass for “Quinn Mallory” has been submitted to NASA’s Orion Flight Test via slidecage.com.

NASA has invited the public to add their names to a dime-sized microchip which will be placed in the Orion spacecraft. The name “Quinn Mallory” along with over a million others will launch under the power of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket scheduled for departure December 4th 2014 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (note: has been rescheduled for December 5th 2014). The flight is scheduled to make three orbits around earth with one as high as 3,600 miles. Subsequent missions will take Quinn Mallory along on future exploration missions including expeditions to Mars. The spacecraft is expected to be ready in the 2020s for manned missions to Mars, the moon and even asteroids.

Similar to the “Sliders” episode “The Return of Maggie Beckett”, NASA would like to send man to Mars. In the episode, the astronauts died from severe radiation poisoning while in space. For NASA, radiation shielding is a particular focus of the Orion project. You can learn more about Orion and the planned space flights at: mars.nasa.gov: NASA | Orion.

Boarding Pass: Orion’s Flight Test
Mission: Exploration Flight Test 1
Name: Quinn Mallory
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral SLC-378, Florida United States
Arrival Site: Pacific Ocean Transfer: California United States
Scheduled Departure: Dec 04 2014
Rescheduled Departure: Dec 05 2014
Rocket: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy
Boarding Pass #: J2M1000001089966

“Ladies and gentlemen, you disappoint me. This intellectual torpor may be sufficient to earn you a job in some disaster-prone part of the world like Chernobyl or NASA, but it won’t cut the mustard with me.” – Professor Arturo, “Pilot”

“To those who dared to reach for the stars. In memory of the Intrepid Five of mankind’s First mission to Mars. Lost to the Cosmos, their fates known only to God.” – Interpid Mars Mission Monument, “The Return of Maggie Beckett”

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Complete Series: Coming to DVD 12/2/14

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For the first time ever “Sliders” The Complete Series is coming to DVD on December 2, 2014. As announced by the website: TVShowsOnDVD the DVDs contain the “exact same on-disc content of the previous releases.” It is likely then that the episodes will be out of order yet again on the DVDs which reflected heavily in the disappointment for fans of the first two seasons DVD set. The few pros to this set are a new box artwork, slim cases for each season, and possibly single sided discs for the entire third season. It should be noted the 2005 release of the third season contained double sided DVDs. However it seems very likely the third season will be single sided this time around. Considering the new Complete Series Set will contain (22 discs) vs the original releases (19 discs) or the the re-released packaging of the first two seasons and following seasons (20 discs).

In 2012 Universal Studios released the fifth season, the only season of “Sliders” packaged in a slim case at the time. Later during 2012, seasons one and two were re-released and re-packaged in slim cases as well, a leap above the 2004 release which was packaged in a foam like case: Season 1 DVD (2004). The lack of additional extras and likely incorrect episode order on this Complete Series Set will be a disappointment. If you don’t have every season of “Sliders” on DVD or are looking to get yourself a set this appears to be the best one yet. Lets hope this set sells well. Never say never, a Blu-Ray set with loaded extras could be in our future. You can suggest that and more at the NBC Store Product Development page.

This will be a Region 1 DVD release containing 22 discs released on 12/2/14.

Here are the details:
– 22 Disc Set
– 87 Episodes (Complete Series)
– Single Sided DVDs
– Runtime 3954 minutes
– English Dolby Digital 2.0
– English Subtitles
– Full Frame 1.33:1
– SRP $179.98
– Pre-Order @ NBC Store.

“Journey to parallel Earths with the iconic sci-fi adventure series that have thrilled fans for five gripping seasons. Jerry O’Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Sabrina Lloyd, Cleavant Derricks are “Sliders” – an unlikely group of travelers who encounter alternate versions of everything and everyone they once knew and loved as they attempt to make the one slide that will take them home. Packed with every incredible episode, this complete series is sure to take viewers on the ultimate trip beyond the boundaries of imagination.”

Location, Location, Location

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The location of where any tv series is filmed gives the series a particular aesthetic. In essence, locations are characters all themselves. This in particular is yet another reason why Sliders is so unique. It even changed the story of Sliders itself.

crush_wrap1Keep in mind San Francisco is the main setting yet things must vary since sliding to alternate worlds is like rolling the dice. The Pilot episode did see some shots throughout San Francisco particularly with Rembrandt. Sliders though, chose Vancouver, BC Canada as it’s main filming areas throughout seasons one and two. It gave a darker more serious undertone to each episode. For example, how could the majority of “Into the Mystic” hold up in a studio versus the great outdoors. It couldn’t compare.

The main drawback is the weather in Vancouver which is often much more cold and rainy compared to San Francisco. It even played a factor in the story of “As Time Goes By”. Professor Arturo explains, “Mark Twain once remarked the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Even one the main characters of the episode gets in on the fun, “kind of nippy out here, eh? Reminds me of Vancouver.” If you look hard enough you can even see it snowing in that episode. Remember the story’s location is San Francisco, but with the wonders of alternate worlds one can suspend belief.

desert_wrap2With season three moving it’s filming crew to places like Los Angeles and Pasadena California the series needed a cover story and “Double Cross” delivered. In the episode, nemesis Logan St. Claire switched the timer’s geographic spectrum stabalizer to a 400 mile radius, as Quinn explains it they could “land in L.A., San Francisco or anywhere in between.” The onset of Los Angeles brought in a new life to the series. The surroundings were brighter, refreshing and more upbeat. Beach, mountains, and desert gave it a new tone versus the darker more serious setting of Vancouver. One of the casualties of moving to L.A. were the reoccurring actors from Vancouver, like Pavel and Hurley. Although the Universal backlot was beginning to be used in season three it wasn’t as evident as it was in the following seasons.

As production costs were cut the atmosphere was steadily declining as the seasons went by. Seasons four and five saw the Universal Studios backlot as it’s main medium for each episode’s environment. It gave those seasons a campy aesthetic apart from the open landscapes we previously saw. It does, however have it’s advantages. It can be positive to reuse a set primarily for alternate worlds by changing it up and linking it to each story. Yet it is degrading all in the same instance by it being recycled multiple times. After all who can forget the cave set used time after time in season three. The failure to alter that set in any way was quite a loss, it was just a plain same old cave.

backlot_wrap3If Sliders was to return to TV or as a movie, what location should it be shot? LA? Vancouver? Pasadena? Perhaps Seattle? Or why not the real San Francisco? What usually stands in the way for any location is as always, time and money. The varying locations in which Sliders was shot did aid to the alternate world theory. However having multiple episodes grouped together rather than random locations throughout the seasons made it apparent expenses were being cut. It almost feels like Sliders has three to four series wrapped all into one. The first two seasons of Vancouver, season three’s LA, and the backlots of seasons four and five. It’s interesting how the closer the series got to the “home” of the entertainment industry it’s filming expanse steadily declined.

No matter what the show, the location creates a unique atmosphere in the minds of all who watch them. After all what would the original Batman or Star Trek be without their campiness or the X-Files’ mysterious atmosphere from Vancouver. Sliders took a different approach with varying locations, which in some aspects led to its decline particularly with the Universal backlot.

Nevertheless, it’s variety that can make or break a scifi show. Beach sounds nice. Sun, surf, margaritas! See you at the beach …it means good luck.

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